International Franchise Association IFA 2016 Annual Convention

IFA 2016

What: International Franchise Association; IFA 2016 Annual Convention
Where: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, Booth #678
When: February 20-23, 2016

Did we miss you at the 2016 IFA Convention?

IFA’s Annual Convention was specifically designed for franchisees, franchisors and supplier partners that support the franchise industry. This year, Cyber-security and Brand Protection was a hot topic with speakers who shared their best practices as the industry continues to work its way through increasingly clever hackers and public data theft.

I spoke with Lee Plave of PlaveKoch PLC during one of the round tables regarding the importance of Cyber-security in the Franchise world. The numbers are staggering, Retail intrusions alone in the United States in the last 2 years averaged 35%. Small Businesses like most Franchises are easy targets to cyber-crimes because of ineffective practices and outdated technology. This is an expensive mistake. Cyber-crime and cyber-spying cost the US economy $100bn a year and the global economy about $300bn annually, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

For today’s businesses, when it comes to cyber-attacks and data security breaches, it is no longer a matter of “if” but “when” an attack will occur. The situation is not irreparable, however, it is worth asking what can be done?

Investment in Better technology and stronger defenses will reduce the loss from cyber-crime. Franchisors need to apply stronger cyber-security standards and managed monitoring protocols to reduce the cost of cyber-crime.

You have to be vigilant. Protecting your franchise business from cyber criminals is a 24/7 job, everyone from the founder to the front line must be cautious. Fortunately, there are many companies like mine that can off load this responsibility from franchises for a nominal daily fee.

What should steps should businesses do to protect themselves?

  • Keep your Technology updated. Always keep your systems up-to-date with the latest version of any program you have on it. Patches continually assist in closing the gaps that criminals can use against you.
  • Backup your data. This needs need to happen without fail, and that they are stored in a secured location preferably offsite.
  • Implement and Enforce strict web/social media/email policies. Training your employees to follow these policies can help dramatically secure your network.
  • Enlist in a managed service provider such as CSP Networks to create an environment that is safe for your data and information. A managed service provider will manage all of these things for you so you can deal with your daily business.