When Safety is Key
Robert Mitera, cyber security advisor and infrastructure program manager for Reinhart Foodservice, offers invaluable tips on how operators can keep their customers and employees safe.
Twenty-five years in information technology—including 10 years specializing in information security—certainly qualifies Robert Mitera as an expert in his field. Before he came to Reinhart Foodservice, he worked for a major U.S.-based airline with 6,000 flights a day in 96 countries. While he really enjoys making people feel safe, he takes his job very serious.
It’s important that he stays on top of current events and how they affect foodservice. Most recently, that’s ranged from disruption in the food supply with the Romaine lettuce recall to cyberattacks at major restaurant chains to mass shootings at dining establishments. Here, he offers vital advice operators will find useful.
Follow “good hygiene” for computer safety.
“Create a solid password, and [never] reuse a password. Be wise in clicking links [on the Internet]. Also, make sure you’re not providing too much information on the Internet, such as on social media where someone can either social engineer or guess your password. Make sure you aren’t using dictionary words in your password. Follow ‘good hygiene’ as far as computer infrastructure. Honestly, if you do that, you’re going to be a lot better off than many companies.”
Protect yourself when using third-party services for delivery, etc.
“When using these types of services, what I would suggest is that you make sure that if they’re accessing your network that you segment it off, so that the only things they can see are things appropriate for that third party that you’re working with. For example, if I’m dealing with a meat vendor or a produce vendor, the only thing they can see is what they’re delivering to me and my restaurant. They can see the orders, but they cannot see financials or they cannot see when they got paid. They cannot reach other systems, so it’s segmented off so they can only see what’s appropriate for them. That’s critical. There should be some sort of multi-factor authentication involved as well. The likelihood of a hacker getting through to you is least likely when you have multi-factor authentication with your computers.”
Precautions operators can take to prevent violence at their establishments.
“I’m a really big fan of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website because they have a lot of great educational templates you can apply to your business. It would be as simple as you training all your employees and making sure that if something happens, this is what you’re going to do. Step one, step two, step three. At a former company where I worked, we used to start meetings with an emergency procedure. At the beginning of the meeting, you’d set up who’s going to take care of different roles. If there’s an active shooter, it’s run, hide and fight. First thing: You’re going to run to the nearest exit to try to get out of there. Second: You’re going to hide if you can. If you can’t run or hide, and the shooter is there, you’re going to fight. That’s last. What’s interesting is that by talking through that, people will know what to do. It will make the process smoother and less chaotic. You want to have an organized staff at any point and time. The reality of today is that we need to be prepared for some of these incidents.”