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Tackling Cybersecurity and Mitigating Risk for Franchises

Tackling Cybersecurity and Mitigating Risk for Franchises

Cybersecurity is top of mind for all businesses with a digital presence. Whether it’s phishing emails, malware, viruses, deepfakes, or poor password management, there are numerous methods in which bad actors attempt to gain access and wreak havoc to internal business systems.

Hacker activities can run the gamut of annoying pranks to more serious attacks, including ransomware, data breaches, customer losses, financial penalties, and overall brand damage. When dealing with a franchise business model, the stakes get significantly higher because corporate cybersecurity efforts can become diluted and splintered across multiple franchise locations—and the threat landscape can be significantly larger and difficult to protect for all connected systems. As soon as a bad actor gains access to one franchisee, the entire franchise system is potentially put at risk.

Add to that the number of digital systems often used at a QSR, fast casual restaurant, or convenience store, and the potential attack surface grows exponentially. Hackers could penetrate point of sale (POS) systems, back-office systems, or equipment monitors, and from there gain access to critical internal systems that may store personally identifiable information (PII) for both employees and customers. Access to those and other critical systems, plus PII data, puts the business at significant risk. A breach can be irreversibly damaging to the brand name and reputation. What follows could be a loss of customer trust—and customers—in the brand and for all franchise owners.

Those are just some of the reasons why it is critical for franchisors and franchisees alike to align cybersecurity efforts to ensure the proper protections and safeguards are in place for the entire franchise system. This is especially important in a system that is geographically dispersed.

How Managed Cybersecurity Services Help Franchises

The franchise business model depends on a consistent customer experience across locations and the brand—which includes a level of trust customers must have to share personal data with a business. Franchisors and franchisees should deliver similar experiences with the same protections across myriad locations supporting multiple network devices and franchise technologies. As with all franchise items, the entire franchise system is responsible for providing a consistent, reliable, and secure network at every franchise site.

Franchisors and franchisees must be in lockstep with cybersecurity processes and protections, which, depending on the number of stores or restaurants, could seem overwhelming. Exposure to cybersecurity risk multiplies with the increasing number of devices in a store, location, or network. These devices include traditional POS systems, back-office systems, and, with the addition of IoT devices, security cameras, refrigeration monitors and thermometers, kiosks, and many other store systems and devices that connect to the internet. For franchisors, the threat is huge, and a successful attack could cause irreparable damage to the business and the brand. Cost is also becoming a consideration for many franchisees who are trying to protect, maintain, and remain successful within tight budgets.

That’s why franchise businesses can benefit from secure managed broadband and cybersecurity services to protect against fraud and invasive intruders. Managed services offer all the connectivity, cybersecurity features, and functionality needed to power the business and to prevent bad actors from breaching the environment—without the installation, management, and maintenance headaches of deploying the systems and tools on premises. Managed services also bring provider cybersecurity expertise to any business, ensuring that the business remains compliant with regulatory requirements, and that security best practices are applied across disparate systems.

Hughes Managed Cybersecurity Services

Hughes helps franchisors in more than a few ways. One is with core internet connectivity capabilities (primary and backup), which can make or break POS systems, store applications, back-office applications (such as real-time inventory), Wi-Fi service, and network and data security. Because Hughes leverages a variety of national and local internet providers for its connectivity services (such as cable, fiber, and DSL) we can ensure one provider, Hughes, for all locations. This ensures a consistent network infrastructure site-by-site—enabling the same superior customer experience across locations.

Couple Hughes connectivity offerings with our capabilities as a managed security services provider (MSSP) and franchisees can reap the rewards of enterprise-grade cybersecurity. Hughes services range from network detection and response (NDR) and managed endpoint protection (EPP) to managed secure access service edge (SASE) and managed detection and response (MDR).

Hughes Managed Cybersecurity Services plug the gaps traditional cybersecurity vendors don’t, defending every transport type, primary and backup, including 4G/5G—all the connections on which highly-distributed enterprises depend. We embed security across the entire infrastructure of the business to provide internal protections, as well as perimeter defenses.

With our managed services offerings, Hughes helps businesses of all sizes gain access to enterprise-grade security solutions. Hughes enables every size franchise system to achieve the highest level of security and protection and comply with regulations, such as payment card industry (PCI) standards. Hughes also offers managed security and managed backup connectivity services for greater internet connection and availability through our Secure Connectivity Services (SCS), which provides reliable access to cloud-based applications while guarding against cyber threats.

Learn more about how Hughes powers franchises with its broadband and other managed services, and see all Hughes has to offer to protect sophisticated environments with our Managed Cybersecurity Services.