Until recently, many brands have seen PCI compliance as just a buzzword. However, with the influx of security breaches within the restaurant and hospitality industries, hesitation among corporate brands has been replaced with a sense of urgency to protect franchisees and their customers. "PCI compliance has really come to the forefront," says Kerry Newell, senior manager of POS at McAlister's Corporation.
Originally using BHI SecureConnect for firewall and Wi-Fi Hotspot services only, McAlister's has reevaluated its needs and is implementing a customized PCI compliance solution from BHI SecureConnect in both its corporate and franchise restaurants. "In the past, we set up our own Wi-Fi and firewall in the restaurants but it has become too much to manage," says Newell. By setting an example and getting corporate stores compliant first, the brand feels they will be better prepared to point franchisees in the right direction. "SecureConnect has been great for us. Going forward, we expect it will be just as good for our PCI compliance needs as well," Newell adds.
Despite the usually negative connotation surrounding PCI compliance, franchise owners have been very positive about actions to improve security across the brand. "As a franchisor, we thought we needed to help educate franchisees as much as possible," says Newell. Having kicked off efforts in April with a PCI Awareness Month, McAlister's Deli hopes to continue momentum through the summer to educate and inform franchisees about PCI compliance. Recent communications include an email campaign highlighting PCI information and promoting a PCI webinar hosted by BHI SecureConnect. Newell is pleased with the feedback he has received from franchisees. "I've gotten a lot of very positive feedback over the phone. The webinar was very informative and kept people's attention," says Newell.
Despite these strides, misinformation surrounding the PCI Data Security Standard will be one of the biggest struggles for the brand. "Some franchisees truly believe that if their POS software is updated to the current version they are compliant" says Newell. The PCI DSS is much more involved, however, and includes 216 requirements that must be achieved by owners. Although daunting by number, franchisees can take advantage of the McAlister's Deli National Account with BHI SecureConnect, and achieve compliance at an affordable monthly price.
As the foundation of their PCI compliance and security solution, the SecureConnect managed firewall provides multi-layered security for network protection. Now, with a customized easyPCI package for the McAlister's franchise system, owner/operators are able to address the comprehensive PCI requirements. With the help of BHI SecureConnect, Newell hopes efforts throughout the year will raise awareness among franchisees about the importance of information security and motivate them to take action.