7 reasons why retailers & restaurants are moving to managed service providers for POS and network connectivity and security.
“Restaurants have become common targets via their point-of-sale systems as well as through online and mobile delivery services, with fraudsters aiming to harvest customer credit card information.” – Fast Casual.
New digital technologies present enormous opportunities for restaurants looking to elevate their brand and grow their businesses.
But these opportunities also come with new challenges as you add more web applications and devices to enhance the customer experience and drive revenue. Network complexity increases security and PCI compliance requirements; speed and reliability need to be monitored in real-time.
Where do you want your team to spend their time? Focusing on technologies that drive growth and delight your customers or monitoring and troubleshooting your store networks and devices?
The challenges can place added burdens on your IT team whose time can be better spent growing your business.
Here we list 7 reasons why many in-house IT departments for multi-unit restaurants are now turning to a managed service provider (MSP) or managed security service provider (MSSP) to take on the complexity of network monitoring and security and help simplify PCI DSS requirements:
RESOURCE: Buyer’s Guide to Managed Services for restaurant owners and IT departments
ONE POS Security & PCI Compliance
POS systems play a critical role in the success of your business. Beyond improving the customer experience, they can capture and report business data for employee management, inventory, and sales data.
Managing and securing your POS, cardholder data environment (CDE), and your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) according to the PCI DSS security framework involve time-consuming and complex tasks.
Card issuers and PCI requirements recommend that your CDE be secured and segmented away from the rest of the network and mandate that all PII is encrypted at rest and in transit during payment processing.
Additionally, securing the POS systems from increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats is an ongoing network challenge for every multi-unit restaurant IT team — especially as you connect more and more digital devices to your network at each location.
An experienced MSP will have PCI and security tools to support and automate many of your compliance requirements.
They can support segmentation of your CDE and the rest of your connected network. If they’re managing your payment processor connection, they can also handle data encryption for the POS data that leaves the point of sale and decrypting it only when it reaches the payment processor.
To emphasize the point, when evaluating a potential MSP, make sure they have experience securing POS systems.
TWO Long-term cost savings
All too often, many businesses make hiring decisions based on addressing immediate needs rather than a strategic plan.
For example, as your business grows, each new location requires resources, site configuration, broadband provisioning, and onsite set-up activities to get a new POS connected, secured, and the entire network infrastructure ready for launch. It can be a time-consuming process that can stretch internal resources.
With an MSP, a team of experts with proven retail connectivity and security experience, deliver significant value and cost savings. They can maximize resources and apply their best practices for your retail or restaurant business. The metrics below tell the cost and time savings story:
THREE Focus on your customers
Today’s customers are very demanding. 82% of people are less likely to be repeat customers if they experience long wait times. They expect new services. The latest digital technologies can help with loyalty programs, digital signage, self-service kiosks, smart devices, and robotics as well as inventory applications and customer analytics.
Network management and PCI compliance are not why you’re in the restaurant business. Yet just “keeping the lights on” activities can take up 65% of your operational resources.
Owners and in-house IT experts are often so focused on troubleshooting and supporting devices across all their locations that there’s little or no time to build a thoughtful technology strategy.
As a result, such key activities as setting requirements and conducting product research, product demos, and trials may not get the attention they deserve when planning and implementing a successful technology roll-out.
This is where an MSP with expertise in restaurant networks and POS connectivity and security can help – overseeing your day-to-day IT responsibilities while you can focus your time and energy on innovation and growth.
FOUR Multi-location point-of-sale system complexity
The complexity of choosing and deploying a POS system is one reason why 64% of single-store retailers choose other options to handle payments and other transactions. Conversely, multi-unit retail and restaurant businesses have a larger set of business, inventory, and staff management requirements that today’s POS systems support. An MSP will work your IT department to create secure and reliable VPN connections between your corporate HQ and dispersed locations for access to critical business information.
Even the best POS system is only as robust as the network that supports it. Staying on top of a sophisticated point-of-sale network and security infrastructure can tax your resources that can be better spent on strategic initiatives and your core competencies.
An MSP that focuses on retail networks knows how to design secure, segmented infrastructure. They understand the connectivity and uptime requirements of retailers and restaurants, and their services should include back-up and monitoring capabilities to help ensure that your POS remains online and your CDE and payment architecture is secure and compliant. A flexible and scalable cloud-managed platform with an advanced or UTM firewall delivers perimeter security that is deployed quickly for one of many layers of defense, and also meets the PCI DSS firewall requirement (PCI DSS r.1).
FIVE MSPs with multi-site retail and restaurant experience augments your in-house IT staff.
It’s tough on in-house IT teams to troubleshoot network issues after regular business hours or when staff members are on vacation or taking PTO.
Your MSP’s support hours should align with your business hours, and be available 24x7x365 for network monitoring and troubleshooting.
The right MSP platform should be built on the SD-WAN principles of security, simplicity, and cloud management. To truly take advantage of SD WAN’s simplicity, a comprehensive and centralized network visibility dashboard is essential.
SIX Network & POS uptime is crucial
Your business loses revenue each time it can’t process payments; customers are less likely to return if they are inconvenienced by problems paying their check or accessing the internet.
Reliable internet connectivity is the backbone of every restaurant network. No Internet service provider can guarantee their network will be up 100% of the time, but MSPs can support you by providing WAN failover to automatically switch to a secondary or backup Internet provider’s connection, should your primary connection fail.
MSP’s with a culture of support will proactively monitor your network using remote network visibility – usually through a dashboard.
SEVEN MSP’s complement rather than replace your IT Team
MSPs help reduce your TCO while improving availability and access to expertise and tools to make your job easier.
Much like owning a multi-million dollar staffed garage for routine car maintenance; businesses don’t need to invest in expensive specialized software licenses or subscriptions to secure, monitor, and manage their IT infrastructure. It’s no different when you work with an MSP that knows your industry. Additionally, if their platform is cloud-managed and right for retail and restaurant networks, they can cost-effectively support your network.
Consider a subscription model. Managed services providers who offer a standard set of managed services will directly impact their pricing models to be more cost-effective to the client. This approach is predictable and affordable to restaurant businesses of all sizes.
Source: TSIA’s “State of Managed Services: 2018”
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