Smart Tips – How to Protect Your Restaurant Against Power Surges

Power surges due to local area load shedding or lightning strikes are a reality for most people. The rush of a power surge that takes place when the electricity rushes through the electrical circuit can cause devastating results for businesses and restaurants.

Restaurants rely on electricity constantly as it affects the amount of customers they get. If a restaurant is shut down due to a power surge that electrocuted all the kitchen equipment, it means that income is lost for that period. As a restaurant owner, you need to plan what you would do in such an event and how to prevent it.

The first thing you could do is to install a power surge protector. This power surge protector can minimise the impact of a power surge when lightning strikes. So the electrical catering equipment will not get that quick rush of electricity which can lead to electrical failure. The consequences of a sudden electrical rush can be devastating as the electricity can burn or destroy an electrical appliance’s circuit board.

You could consider using gas powered catering equipment such as a gas stove and oven. For restaurants there are 6 burner stove options available that allow you to cook more food at one time. A gas stove and oven is not connected to an electrical outlet but rather to a gas cylinder. Therefore during a power surge, this commercial catering equipment will be safe.

It is advisable to unplug your catering equipment while it’s not in use during a storm. In this manner you can minimise the devastating effects of a storm. You can still continue with the restaurant duties by using the minimal catering equipment required. Anything that your staff is not using, unplug it while the storm ensues.

Check that your insurance covers the replacement of your kitchen equipment when it is struck by lightning. Most insurance companies do cover this but with others it is an optional cover. In the event that your catering equipment is damaged due to lightning, they should be able to replace it. However, take the precautions anyway, because the time between the insurance pays out and the electrical surge could be days or weeks apart and your restaurant still has to keep on going.

The last thing you want is for all your electrical catering equipment to be damaged due to lightning. Rather take the precautions before it happens and save yourself the burden and cost of having to replace the catering equipment.

You Should Know This – The Risk Management of Wrist Management

One of the huge costs of running a grocery store is healthcare. Workmen’s (workperson’s) compensation is also a challenge due to all the grocery clerks who have wrist problems or Carpal Tunnel. Those repetitive motions of picking up items and moving them across the scanner take their toll on the frail human skeletal bones of the wrist. You can see why large grocery store chains with risk management departments take “wrist management” seriously. Let’s talk, but first let me tell you a little personal story.

The other day, I purchased 8 two-liter bottles, and I noted the cashier line I got into was one with an older lady who normally wears a Carpal Tunnel wrist support brace. I put one bottle up and said; “8 of those” and told her I was saving her from Carpal Tunnel, and she thanked me and said she had forgotten her wrist brace today and was happy not to have to do any heavy lifting. I was then pleased with myself for thinking ahead and on-the-fly and bypassing the heavy bottles to the young bagging gal who asked the same-old same-old; “Paper or Plastic?”

If this older checker is not careful, she’ll be on disability before she knows it, and I bet the risk management department knows that too, even if their in-house specialists and in-house contracted chiropractors are trying to keep her on as long as possible to avoid another Carpal Tunnel union case and addition to their already challenging disability numbers.

In considering all this, it occurred to me that the grocery store risk management department should consider a couple of new strategies:

1.) Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome suffering employees work one-day on the check stand and then the next day monitoring the self-check aisles.
2.) Divide half the checkout stands in the store facing the other way, thus forcing the employees to use their other hand, and rotate the employees every other day to a different facing checkout stand.
3.) Increase the number of self-checkout stands.
4.) Rotate checkers with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to other parts of the store, deli section, produce section, etc.
5.) Invest in R&D to come up with a viable exo-skeleton wearable solution through the grocery store industry association.
6.) Put out a research grant to university bio-mimicry engineering students to solve the problem.

Well, there you have my advice for today, this of course comes from my entrepreneurial brain as a problem solver. The money spent to find a solution or change-up the routines of employees should be welcomed by all; unions, shareholders, employees, and the good old risk management specialists of the largest grocery store chains. Please consider all this and think on it.

The Question – What Is a Cyber Security Risk Assessment and Why Do One?

Modern day companies face serious dangers from the cyber domain. The FBI recently reported that cybercrime increased 24% last year. The time has come for businesses to become proactive and conduct a cyber security risk assessment. It focuses on identifying the threats and vulnerabilities that confront an organization’s information assets.

Threats are forces that can harm organizations and destroy mission critical data. Vulnerabilities are the pathways that threats can follow to damage, steal, destroy or deny the use of information assets. Risks are realized when threats converge with vulnerabilities. Devastating losses can occur in a variety of ways.

A cyber risk assessment produces an understanding of the consequences associated with unauthorized disclosure of an organization’s confidential or mission critical information. A business owner or governing authority, with the results of a cyber risk assessment in hand, can decide to accept the risk, develop and use deploy countermeasures or transfer the risk.

The world is immersed in an enormous asymmetric threat environment that is enabled by an incalculable number of vulnerabilities. Cybercrime is growth industry has a low-risk with a high-pay off. The financial losses, due to data breaches, now exceed the dollar amount of the illegal global drug trade. Law enforcement, sadly, is unable to prevent cyber criminals from attacking your company. Organizations are largely on their own.

One of the few ways that a company can thwart cyber risks is to realistically assess its exposure and to implement controls that lower the chance of risks from being realized. Cyber security must be regarded as a business process that requires precise managerial controls similar to those found in accounting and finance.

How can an organization accomplish the cyber risk assessment?

Information assets must first be identified. Internal and external threats and vulnerabilities need to be realistically and objectively measured. The consequences of failing to offset risk needs to be understood. Existing policies, procedures and controls should be aligned with security
best practices. Risk mitigation strategies, based upon organizational priorities, can be adopted.

Organizations would then be able to focus on increasing their information security efforts.

Failing to take extra information security steps can result in irreparable harm to the organization, violations of regulations, statutes, fines, lawsuits and damage to the value of the company and customer base.

The directors of publicly owned corporations and privately owned companies must comply with multiple laws, regulations and take all prudent steps to prevent information security breaches. Doing otherwise is irresponsible and stands as evidence of a lack of due diligence.

The findings of a cyber risk assessment can point the way for an organization to develop and follow through upon an information security plan that assures mission critical information.

Avoiding the steps to correct any weaknesses that are discovered very well be considered to be a lack of due diligence.

Information – Dot Com Media Warns Local Businesses Against Fake Reviews

Fake reviews are becoming common these days to hurt the reputation of businesses. Many new startup companies who lack a strong customer database or have low customer satisfactions levels are engaging in new levels of treachery to gain undeserved popularity, such as by creating fake positive reviews for themselves. These new acts of deceit help companies lure future customers who fall prey to such reviews. Dot Com Media is a responsible corporate citizen and wants to create awareness among local businesses to be watchful of such cunningness.

Most consumers rely on reviews from customers to judge the performance of an online or local company. Due to lack of personal experience, customers tend to evaluate the services and products sold by the company based on positive and negative testimonials. Incompetent businesses that lack professionalism and ethics, may engage in dishonest practices to enhance their business outlook in front of customers by posting false, negative, reviews on their competitor’s website.

Such reviews are mostly self-made, using false names to trick customers into moving away from the website’s products or services. By posting false reviews incompetent businesses hurt their competitor’s reputation. Dot Com Media urges its customers and local businesses to remain vigilant of such activities, which are nefarious and designed to help incapable business sell their inept products or services without any real value for money.

Here are a few tips to identify fake reviews and websites:

Payment options

Check the payment options listed by the company, there are many merchants offering payback services in case the customer is not satisfied. For example, a great way to make transactions safely online is by paying via PayPal, which is widely accepted across the US and any reliable service provider would have a PayPal payment feature. Companies who offer non-secure payment options like direct debit from your credit card or debit card put the customer at risk.

Business Guarantees

Check the guarantees offered by the business. Most businesses offer some sort of assurance in order to gain a potential customer’s trust. Quite commonly, online businesses will post money-back guarantees in case of dissatisfaction. Any professional business would list its terms and conditions, stating its extra services offered to its customers.

Check the Reviews

Always read the reviews posted on the website and be watchful for positive ones. If a review is highly in favor of the company, stating almost all of its services, it is likely a fake testimonial. Companies can now hire freelancers to write fake reviews for their services, typically resulting in an unusual amount of positive comments.

These are some ways to detect fake reviews on a website and to evade the trap conveniently. Dot Com Media always engages in ethical practices and encourages other businesses to conduct operations with honesty and integrity.

Read This – The Consequences of Inadequate Due Diligence

Operating a global business today requires efficiently managing a network of third-party partners that supply product components, run operations in foreign markets, operate call centers, or act as outside consultants or agents.

The vast array of capabilities and specialized skill sets of a well-maintained third-party network makes operations easier for both the organization and its customers. But many organizations, from small businesses to multi-national corporations, can rarely afford the time and effort required in-house to manage these often complex third-party relationships.

Because of this, the risk of unethical business practices, bribery and other business corruption potentially increases if inadequate due diligence is conducted on third-party partners. The ramifications of a scandal related to a third-party partner can easily take down an organization, resulting in such risks as a damaged reputation and brand devaluation, to regulatory violations, legal proceedings and possible fines and jail terms for directors. The only way to fully protect the corporation’s assets, therefore, is through a strong and viable third-party risk management program.

Building a third-party risk management program is not a passive process. It requires time and effort on a continual basis, as the risks associated with third-party partnerships constantly evolve.

Consider the events of this past summer, during which the legislators of three separate nations signed new compliance regulations and standards into law. Without a doubt, if your organization’s third-party risk management program is unable to quickly adjust to these new regulations (or is not designed to anticipate future legislative movements) your organization is truly at risk.

Cutting corners: not worth the risk

Still, far too many organizations are willing to tempt fate by cutting corners on development and implementation of their third-party risk management program. Certainly, building a strong risk management program requires a significant investment of time and resources (both internally and from the outside), but the consequences of not doing it right could be dramatically severe.

One way organizations attempt to cut corners is by relying on outdated or stagnant tools to monitor, detect and prevent risks. Almost always, hiring outside industry professionals with proven track records of successful due diligence experience is necessary.

Relying too heavily on “desktop” due diligence is another dangerous shortcut. Desktop due diligence is an important initial step of the investigative process, involving background checks, lien searches, regulatory filing investigations and environmental reports. And while it is a vital component of any effective due diligence program, it’s not nearly enough to thoroughly evaluate a third-party.

Truly understanding a potential partner’s business requires a considerable amount of time spent face-to-face with the outside organization’s leadership, operations management and even current customers. This “boots on the ground” process will detect potential risks which are often hidden from a distance, and undetectable via web-based discovery tools.

The “boots on the ground” approach also helps to establish a relational dynamic required for ongoing negotiations and provides clear insight into two of the fastest-growing issues in third-party risk management: bribery and labor management.

Bribery as a compliance issue

Anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance is a fast-moving target. New anti-bribery laws and regulations are being decreed around the world at a relentless pace. Complicating matters further, many countries may have laws in place but lack the ability to adequately enforce them. When this is the case, the responsibility falls to your organization’s due diligence program to ensure detection and protection.

High profile investigations in recent years have contributed to the rapid emergence of bribery and corruption as a societal issue. Never before has such a contrast been drawn so dramatically on a global stage between those that engage in bribery and those that suffer as a result. Any organization that finds itself mixed up in a scandal involving bribery has more than a legal mess to contend with. It has a long battle to win back the trust of its shareholders, employees, customers and the public.

Conducting sufficient due diligence surrounded by such varying factors is work that must be conducted in person. Gaining insight into a potential partner’s company culture requires a level of immersion with the organization’s leadership, management and staff. When it comes to evaluating bribery risk, some warning signs can only be discovered on-site.

Labor matters and compliance

From overtime issues and under-age workers, to unsafe working conditions and improperly documented accidents, labor compliance represents a major component of any strong third-party risk management program.

Once again, inadequate attention to risks related to labor compliance can bring on considerable penalties. Understanding which industries, geographic regions and management structures elevate the organization’s risk is key to efficiently operating an effective due diligence program. This understanding is nearly impossible to guarantee via ‘desktop’ due diligence. Spending the necessary time in person is the only way to be sure a potential supplier is properly compensating and managing employees while providing a safe workplace environment.

Make no mistake, even if your agreement with a third-party partner places the responsibility of payroll issues firmly upon the vendor, your organization — as a joint employer — can still be held accountable in many countries. After all, the labor being conducted at your partner’s facility benefits your organization’s bottom line.

Best practices

The demands of identifying and measuring third-party risk, monitoring those potential risks on an ongoing basis, and making recommendations based on empirical research is best met by a dedicated team of outside professionals. And while no two organizations are alike in terms of risk profiles, several factors have become consistent in building a strong and effective due diligence program:

Planning. Without a well thought out plan outlining ongoing monitoring efforts with assigned roles and responsibilities, efforts to mitigate risk will be haphazard at best, and dormant at worst. With a thoroughly established, management-advocated program that identifies specific risk factors for each affiliation, a process for addressing red flags, and an established mechanism for continual revision, the organization will remain vigilant in its efforts to protect itself from liability.

Documentation. Due diligence efforts are only as good as the information and data gathered and secured. Meticulous documentation and reporting enables the organization to recognize trends, communicate analyses, and sustain efforts during any future personnel changes. Effective risk management programs feature established guidelines for capturing data, contracts and research with uniformity.

Culture. An organization where leadership, management and workforce do not take third-party risk seriously will never be adequately protected from risk. Successful organizations in this respect dedicate themselves to building a culture in which every employee feels personally invested in the risk management of the operation. Employees must feel empowered and encouraged to report red flags. Passive engagement is simply not enough.

Done correctly, third-party risk management can effectively save the organization from risk, liability and other perils often associated with outside entities wanting to engage and transact with your business.