Cyber Attack on Tim Hortons

A recent malware attack that affected nearly 100 Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada provides a perfect example of the benefits of using a managed service provider (MSP).Because of outdated security measures, the virus disabled computers and point of sale terminals and even forced the closure of some restaurants. While Tim Hortons was careful to mention that no customer data or credit card information was stolen in the attack, neglecting such a crucial function of their IT makes Tim Hortons look bad at best, and technology-ignorant at worst.

How would Tim Hortons have benefitted from the services of an MSP?

Tim Hortons’ parent company, Restaurant Brands International, is in charge of updating the software on the Tim Hortons computers. Unfortunately, this was not done, which led to outdated protection and the spread of the malware. With an MSP, all of this headache could have been avoided. An outsourced IT team would have had all of the updates done, and the disruption of business have been avoided.

In a malware attack, the virus is only part of the victim’s worries.

Frozen computers mean that no work can be done, and employees are essentially sitting around, being paid for not working. Reliance on computers for business means keeping the computers up-to-date and ahead of the hackers. In the case of the Tim Hortons malware attack, downtime and forced closures of some Tim Hortons locations resulted in significant lost revenue for the chain, and specifically, for franchise owners.

On top of that, there was a large amount of food spoilage, meaning the owners had to essentially throw money into the trash. Franchise owners are now reported to be considering a lawsuit against Restaurant Brands International for lost revenue. And all of this because a virus targeted the cash registers at Tim Hortons’ restaurants. Yet another example of an instance where a reliable MSP could have had the company’s back.

None of this news plays in Tim Horton's favor.

The parent company would be well advised to get their IT affairs in order so that another hacking incident does not happen. With the continual monitoring and protection that a reputable MSP can offer, a lot of trouble could have been prevented. After all, taking responsibility for ensuring that virus protection is current is what a good MSP does. 

Restaurant Brands International has admitted that it is in talks with an external vendor to address the malware incident. There has been no word yet on compensation for the franchise owners, however assuring customers that they are addressing their IT problems is a great start.

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