Managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) who provide solutions and services to the restaurant industry have witnessed a dramatic shift. Restaurants have evolved and adapted their operations to accommodate online ordering, curbside service, online or digital menus, and contactless payment options—and expanded their IT footprints to make it happen. In many cases, those changes occurred quickly, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may have deployed solutions for the first time. However, the elephant in the room is whether those newly expanded IT environments are as up-to-date, secure, and compliant as they need to be. An assessment of the restaurant network will provide those answers
The Restaurant Network Assessment
Network assessment tools enable you to discover security risks and noncompliance and provide the information you need to remediate them. To use those tools to conduct a comprehensive assessment, you first need to develop a full picture of the systems that are connected to the network, such as kitchen printers, a kitchen display system, digital signage, or ordering and payment kiosks.
Also, as the pandemic continues—and maybe even in the long-term—some members of the restaurant staff may be working from home part-time. For example, a manager may use a company-owned device to review inventory reports, order, or schedule employees while working remotely. Taking an agent-based approach, you can include remote managers’ IT environments in the assessment without requiring them to devote their home network bandwidth to performing the assessment via VPN.
Although network assessment tools will give you visibility into the restaurant’s network and how it operates, another essential part of a thorough assessment is tailoring the assessment to your client’s business. Don’t assume that every restaurant operates in the same way—learn more by asking questions such as:
- Does the restaurant accept online orders directly or from third parties? What do those systems look like?
- How does the business back up its system and ensure it can recover data if needed?
- Does the business have internal IT staff, and what is the extent of their expertise?
You should also ask how things are working, such as how mobile solutions perform, any delays users experience when accessing the information, and whether technology supports —not detracts from—excellent customer service.
Based on your findings, you’ll be able to report critical issues that must be addressed. You’ll find whether security patches are up to date if there are open ports that attackers could exploit to gain access to the system if the business is using inadequate user authentication and access control and more.
With the right assessment tool, you’ll also be able to specifically pinpoint any systems or practices that don’t comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and help your client see the value in ensuring they meet those standards year-round to protect payment data.
Data from the network assessment will also allow you to advise your client on how they could operate more cost-effectively or make changes that will improve technology ROI.
Use Network Assessments to Grow Your Business
Although you can bundle periodic network assessments with the services you provide to your current clients, you can also use them to demonstrate the value your team can offer a prospect. Network assessment tools generate reports that show security risks, noncompliance, and vulnerabilities—which you can use as compelling proof that the restaurant would benefit from the managed services you offer.
It may also be a good time to investigate whether anyone in your market provides restaurant network assessments specifically. You may uncover an opportunity to build an offering that meets the unique needs of this industry, helping restaurants to advance their digital transformation securely, compliantly and most cost-effectively.
Restaurants that quickly built an online ordering business shifted to curbside ordering or self-service may have made their businesses vulnerable in the process. Give them the visibility they need to correct those issues—with your assistance.