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How to Protect Your Restaurant From Cyber Threats

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 09, 2022

Protect your restaurant from cyber threats and reduce restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown and throughout PA.

Restaurant Insurance –specifically Cyber Liability Insurance – is a great way to protect your restaurant from risks, such as data breaches. However, avoiding any risk is always preferable, as data breaches can have a negative impact on your restaurant – lost production, damage to reputation, and of course, higher insurance costs.

Unfortunately, many small business owners – including restaurant owners – have misconceptions regarding cybersecurity and cyber liability insurance. For example, many assume that firewalls are enough protection, that third-party vendors are fully responsible for data breaches, that general liability insurance will protect them in the event of a data breach, or that cyber liability insurance is unaffordable.

According to Cybersecurity Magazine:

  • 43% of all data breaches involve small and medium-sized businesses.
  • 61% of all SMBs have reported at least one cyberattack during the previous year.
  • 40% of the small businesses that faced a severe cyberattack experienced at least eight hours of downtime.
  • 43% SMBs do not have any cybersecurity plan in place.
  • 83% of small and medium-sized businesses are not financially prepared to recover from a cyberattack.
  • 91% of small businesses have NOT purchased cyber liability insurance.

Cyber liability losses can happen any time anywhere and cost your restaurant big time. However, Cyber Liability Insurance can help.

Top Cybersecurity Threats

These are the top five cybersecurity threats that restaurant owners and managers need to know.

  1. Hackers – Hackers frequently target restaurants because they often have poorly secured systems. Often, hackers target POS systems, which typically do not have the same security measures as desktop computers.

  2. POS Malware – Malware – short for malicious software – is an intrusive software designed to damage and destroy computers. Examples include viruses, worms, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Many POS devices run on Windows, which malware can run on.

  3. RansomwareMacAfee defines ransomware as “malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access.”

  4. Insider Threats – A common misconception is that all cyber threats come from external sources; however, many threats come from “insider threats” – current or former employees either intentionally or accidentally. According to Forbes, “In 2020, 36 percent of data breaches reported were caused by internal malicious actors.”

  5. Wi-Fi Security – Many customers today expect free wi-fi at restaurants and bars. Still, it’s crucial that you secure your Wi-Fi with firewalls to protect your customers and your restaurant’s security. It’s also important to have separate Wi-Fi access points for customers rather than the POS or business network.

Cybersecurity Tips for Restaurants

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to minimize cybersecurity risks.

  1. Pay Attention to Devices Connected to Wireless Network – Use the latest operating system because older systems often have security loopholes, install antivirus protection and malware detection software, and limit access to your devices with a PIN or passcode.

  2. Train Employees – Train your staff only to use your devices for business and educate them on phishing so they don’t click on suspicious emails or attachments.

  3. Analyze Third-Party Vendors – If a third-party vendor has access to your customers’ payment information, ensure that they are PCI compliant and take adequate security measures. If a vendor has access to your employee’s information, confirm how they protect and store that information.

  4. Store Passwords Properly – Experts recommend that you use an online password manager, such as Dashlane or LastPass, to store your passwords securely.

  5. Background Check Employees – In U.S. restaurants, employees often take credit cards from customers to process their payments. Unfortunately, dishonest employees can use that credit card information to make unauthorized charges; therefore, it’s essential that you do your best to hire the most honest employees, and a background check can help.

  6. Give Each Server a Unique Identifier – Provide a unique identifier to each employee to log into your POS system, so you can track patterns and identify potential issues.

  7. Use a Firewall to Separate Devices -Configure your firewall correctly to help keep malware-infected devices from infecting other devices.

The Right Cyber Insurance Helps When All Else Fails!

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a data breach occurs, and that’s where Cyber Liability Insurance can help. It helps cover financial losses caused by data breaches and other cyber events.

As Restaurant Insurance experts, American Insuring Group can help ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost. Start protecting your business today by calling our independent insurance pros at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance

6 Questions to Ask to Acquire the Right Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 04, 2021

Questions to ask to get the right restaurant insuranceThe right Restaurant Insurance coverage is an investment in your business or a safety net when (not if, but when) things go wrong – accidents, vandalism, fires, etc. But the wrong Restaurant Insurance can be an unnecessary expense.

Here's what we mean…

Let's say you serve alcohol to someone at your restaurant. They get into a car accident on the way home, and your business gets sued for bodily injury or property damage caused by that person. The Liquor Liability Insurance you purchased helps cover legal costs, settlements or judgments, costs to repair damages, and medical bills. That's an investment.

Now, let's say you run a small diner. To determine your Workers' Compensation and General Liability Insurance premiums, your restaurant is classified as 0899 (Bar, Nightclub) instead of 0975 (Restaurant) as it should be. You're going to end up paying for potential risks that don't apply to your business. That is an unnecessary expense.

Here are some questions you can ask to ensure you get the "Right" Restaurant Insurance.

Is My Restaurant Correctly Classified?

As stated above, if your diner is incorrectly classified as a bar, you could be paying more in insurance premiums than you need to. On the other hand, if your bar is misclassified as a restaurant, you could find a gap in your coverage.

Do I Need Workers' Compensation?

The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "If you employ workers in Pennsylvania, you must have workers' compensation insurance -- it's the law." Failing to carry appropriate workers' compensation insurance carries a potential $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail. Additionally, if the court determines the failure to comply is intentional, you could face a $15,000 fine and up to seven years in prison.

Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

If your restaurant has a vehicle that you or an employee uses for business, you need Commercial Auto Insurance. Most personal auto insurance policies will exclude business use, so if you're in an accident while conducting business for your restaurant and only have personal auto insurance, your claim will probably be denied. If an employee uses their own car for restaurant business, such as delivering food or going to the bank, you need Hired or Non-Owned Auto coverage.

Do I Need Cyber Liability Insurance?

If you gather any type of personal information – which most restaurants do – you should have Data Breach and Cyber Liability Insurance. Don't think that just because you are a small business that you aren't susceptible to data breaches. Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that "Almost a third or 28% of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses." One data breach can cost your business thousands of dollars.

Are There Any Gaps in My Insurance?

Think about your assets – property, employees, equipment, vehicles, etc. – and your potential risks – fire, injury, etc. to determine if there are any gaps in your insurance. An insurance agent specializing in Restaurant Insurance understands the unique challenges and risks inherent in the restaurant industry and knows the right questions to ask to ensure that you don't have any coverage gaps.

How Can I Lower My Restaurant Insurance?

The right Restaurant Insurance coverage helps protect you, your restaurant, employees, and customers, but that doesn't mean you should pay more than you need to for that coverage. Here are a few tips to lower your Restaurant Insurance costs:

    • Focus on Safety
    • Improve Security
    • Hire Wisely
    • Pay Upfront
    • Increase Your Deductible
    • Carry the Right Coverage
    • Bundle
    • Review Your Policies Annually
    • Work With an Independent Agent

We Specialize in Restaurant Insurance!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance. As independent agents, we will compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to get you the lowest price possible. So, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp, commercial vehicle insuarance, Cyber Liability Insurance

Contractors Can Protect Their Business With Cyber Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 20, 2021

Contractors in Philadelphia, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, PA and Beyond Can Protect Their Business With Cyber InsuranceConstruction worksites are filled with potential hazards that Contractors Insurance helps cover, but there’s one threat that many contractors overlook – cybersecurity. Many think, “What information could I have that would be of value to them? I’m just a small company; they aren’t going to target my business.” 

The fact is that if you use a computer for anything – financial transactions, emails, invoicing, etc. – your company has data cybercriminals can go after. Most construction companies have limited IT experience, which makes them attractive to hackers. As with most criminals, hackers tend to take the path of least resistance.  

A 2018 survey of 1,045 small and medium-sized U.S. businesses found that more than half – 67% - suffered a cyberattack in 2018. In fact, did you know the Target data breach in 2013 started with hackers using the stolen credentials of an HVAC vendor doing business with Target? That attack allowed hackers to steal the data of 70 million customers and 40 million credit cards and debit cards. 

Don’t think your business is immune to cyberattacks. It is not, and the results of a breach can be devastating. CNBC reported that cyberattacks cost businesses $200,000 on average, and 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. These attacks are putting many companies out of business. 

The Impact of a Cyber-attack on your business

A cyber-attack can impact your entire organization on many different levels. Some of those impacts could be minor inconveniences, but some could force you to shut down your business for good. 

Potential Impact of a Cyber-Attack:

  1. Financial Losses
      • Cost of response and recovery
      • Cost of the investigation
      • Lost revenue
      • Legal and PR costs
      • A decrease in the value of your company 
  1. Lost Productivity
  2. Damage to your Business’s Reputation
  3. Legal Liability
  4. A Halt on Business Activities 

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Hackers have discovered many ways to access your data and continue to find new ways. Here area few more common techniques.

  • Malware: Short for malicious software, malware threats include viruses, worms, trojans, and other computer programs that allow hackers to gain access to sensitive information.
  • Ransomware: A form of malware, ransomware allows hackers to encrypt your files, which they will then demand a ransom to restore your access to those files.
  • Social Engineering: With social engineering, hackers manipulate you or your employees into giving up confidential information, such as usernames and passwords, that they use to access data.
  • Phishing: Phishing is a type of social engineering in which a hacker tricks someone into opening an email, instant message, or text message and then clicking on a malicious link. 


As with any risk, your first step should be prevention. Here are ten security tips from the FCC for small businesses:

  1. Train Employees in Security Principles
  2. Protect Information, Computers, and Networks from Cyber Attacks
  3. Provide Firewall Security for Your Internet Connection
  4. Create a Mobile Device Action Plan
  5. Make Backup Copies of Important Business Data and Information
  6. Control Physical Access to your Computers and Create User Accounts for Each Employee
  7. Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks
  8. Employ Best Practices on Payment Cards
  9. Limit Employee Access to Data and Information, Limit Authority to Install Software
  10. Passwords and Authentication 

When Prevention Isn’t Enough, Add Cyber Insurance!

Prevention should ALWAYS be your first line of attack. Unfortunately, hackers are continually finding new ways to access your data, so keeping up with changing cyber-security threats can be difficult, which is why Cyber Insurance is so crucial. 

Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. As independent agents, we will research insurance costs and coverages among many companies to ensure you get the lowest price on all your insurance needs! 

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance

Social Media Risks for Restaurants and How to Mitigate Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 07, 2020

Reduce Social Media Risks and Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, PA and elsewhereSavvy restaurant owners understand the importance of Restaurant Insurance to protect them from risks, such as lawsuits and property damage. However, many forget to protect their businesses from the risks associated with social media.

Social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. offer many benefits – building brand awareness, engaging customers, soliciting feedback, keeping customers informed, etc. – but they also come with risks.

Here are some of the risks every restaurant owner or manager should consider and some tips to mitigate those risks.

Social Media Risks

Here are a few of the more common social media risks; however, it is by no means all-encompassing. You should assess the potential risks to your restaurant and take action to avoid them.

Data Breaches

Norton defines a data breach as “a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization.” In 2019, there were 2,013 confirmed data breaches, and it cost businesses over $2 trillion, according to Varonis. Experts predict that number will increase to $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Facebook is currently the most popular social media platform, with more than two billion users. In 2019, Facebook admitted that it had not properly secured the passwords of as many as 600 million users since 2012. In 2019, Facebook had 540 million user records exposed on the Amazon cloud server, and over 267 million Facebook usernames, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers were exposed in 2019.

Cybercriminals will try to access information on your computer any way they can, including weaknesses on social media platforms.

Loss of Reputation

Information – both accurate and false – can spread like wildfire on social media platforms, and a restaurant’s reputation can be damaged or destroyed just as quickly. The damage can be intentional or accidental, and it can come from a customer, an employee, or even the restaurant itself.

A customer can post a negative review. An employee can post something inappropriate about your restaurant on their profile. You can inadvertently post something that damages your restaurant’s reputation.

Brand Hijacking

Brand hijacking (or brandjacking) occurs when a third-party acquires or assumes your online identity in an attempt to ruin your reputation or to steal customers or potential customers. While the primary objective of brand hijacking may not be financial, it will most likely result in some kind of financial loss to your restaurant.

Liability Issues

Sometimes social media mistakes – Aka “advertising injuries” - can lead to lawsuits. For example, you could be sued for posting copyrighted content without permission, posting content that defames someone or something, posting someone else’s words or likeness without their permission, or copying someone else’s advertising.

How to Mitigate Risk

You can’t eliminate risks associated with social media platforms, but you can minimize them with these tips.

Create a Social Media Policy

Create a policy that clearly defines what employees can and cannot do on every social media platform. Share guidelines, best practices, and posting procedures. Include information about creating a secure password, avoiding spam and phishing attacks, acceptable types of content, etc.

Limit Social Media Access

Don’t grant every employee in your restaurant access to your restaurant’s page. You’ll probably have more posts, but you also open yourself up to more risks. Put one person in charge of social media posts who has been trained and educated on social media best practices. Consider how much access you allow other employees and track who has access to what.

Train Your employees

Ensure anyone who has access to posting on your restaurant’s page has proper training, including what they can and can’t share, how to utilize tools to ensure security, how to recognize unsafe links, etc. 

Talk to Your Employees

You can’t always control what your employees say on their personal social media platforms, but talk to them about the risks social media can pose to your restaurant and how to avoid those risks. And ensure they understand your restaurant’s social media policy.

Secure Your Technology

Ensure that any computer used by employees to post on social media is armed with adequate security software that continually checks for malware, viruses, and other cyber risks.

Restaurant Insurance Can be Your Safety Net!

When all else fails, the right insurance will act as a safety net to protect your restaurant. The independent agents at the American Insuring Group can help you get the right insurance for your restaurant at the best price by comparing the costs of your insurance among many insurance companies. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Data and Identity Protection and The Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 04, 2017

Cyber-Insurance-for-Your-Home.jpgOur homes are becoming “smarter”! That's a good thing, right? Yes, you proably have homeowner's insurance but have you considered non-traditional threats to your privacy and data in the home?

PCMagazine poses the intriguing question, “What if all the devices in your life could connect to the Internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, doors, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it.

And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It's not science fiction; it's the Internet of Things (IoT), and it's a key component of home automation and smart homes.” 

This is awesome, right? Well… yes and no. Consider the following:

New Risks: Your Smart Home and the Internet of Things

As consumers add more and more IoT devices to their homes (a 2015 Gartner study estimates that approximately 5.5 million IoT devices are added to homes around the world every day), experts anticipate the number of attacks also to increase. In fact, in October 2016, hackers took over 100,000 IoT devices and used them to block traffic to well-known websites, including Twitter and Netflix.

This doesn’t mean that you need to forego the latest IoT device that becomes available; it means that you need to be smarter than ever about protecting yourself from Cyber Risk in the home.

To be precise, the actual IoT devices themselves do not contain your personal identity information - so they are not the security risk directly. The risk is that once they are working, they are often “forgotten” and rarely updated or monitored, if at all. If a hacker should find a way to compromise them, they could be used as a pathway to infiltrate your home. Once inside, a hacker could eavesdrop on your network for any unprotected information passing within it or possibly gain access to other devices that do contain your personal information such as computers, smart phones, and tablet devices.

Here are 5 steps to help you protect your home from a cyber attack

  1. Use proper software
    At the very least, you should have antivirus and malware software on your computers, smartphones, and tablets. You should also turn off unwanted or unused features and stay on top of firmware. And finally, when using a public Wi-Fi (like in an airport or coffee shop), use a virtual private network (VPN).

  2. Protect your privacy with a good password
    Regularly changing your password and using different sophisticated passwords is one of the quickest and easiest ways to protect yourself from cyber-attacks. If your device has a two-factor authentication - such as a fingerprint and a password - turn it on.

  3. Consider privacy concerns vs. benefits before purchasing a smart device
    Before purchasing a smart device, ask yourself if it will really enhance or simplify your life or if you just want it because it’s a snazzy new device that no one else has yet. Then, decide if it’s worth potentially giving up some of your privacy.

  4. Be selective when purchasing smart home devices
    When deciding which smart home devices to purchase, chose from well-known brands whenever possible and find out what security measures they are taking to protect your data. This is still a relatively new issue, so do some research. Find out which manufacturers are talking about security and being proactive in communicating how they’re delivering that security to you.

  5. Install a firewall
    This may seem obvious, but do you have a quality, up-to-date firewall in your home? If you are not sure then consult a local provider and installer of routers and request an in-home review.

2 steps to blunt the impact of a cyber attack

Even if you take all the responsible preventative meaures, cyber attacks can sometimes occur. Here are two things you can do to lessen the impact:

  1. Sign Up for Identity Protection
    Do you have an identify protection policy? There are various plans available with varying levels of monitoring and assistance should your identity be stolen. 
  2. Freeze your credit
    If you won’t be using your credit anytime soon, contact each of the credit bureaus individually, and ask them to temporarily freeze your credit. There is a form on each credit bureau’s site to do that. If you find you need to procure a loan, it takes about ten days to unfreeze your credit, and it’s a fairly easy process.

Home cyber threats are real

The fact is that there are cyber criminals out there ready to steal your information and wreak havoc. Although nothing is guaranteed to protect you from these criminals, following these measures will make it harder for those criminals to hack into your IoT devices.

For related information on cyber insurance for your business read our blog post: Combat Data Breaches with Cyber Liability Insurance.


Contact Us for All Your Insurance Needs

Are you sure your homeowner's policy offers the right amount of protection at a good price? Do you need cyber insurance for your business? 

Contact American Insuring Group online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for a free and thorough homeowner's insurance review. You'll be glad you did!

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance, IoT, Internet of Things