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Cybersecurity Best Practices for Hotels
Learn about why cyber security is important for hotels and what you can do to protect your guests and property.
What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important?
Cyber attacks on hotels and hospitality businesses are on the rise. The hospitality industry is now the third most targeted by hackers of all industries, overtaking the healthcare sector and is only on the tail of retail and financial services. Hotels make up one-tenth of hackers’ hit list, according to Trustwaves’ 2020 Global Security report. The increase of data from digitised operations and heightened personalisation services have become a lucrative target for their rich database. As such, it is no surprise that there are many cyber attacks targeting luxury hotels.
So in simple technical speak – what is cyber security, and why is this important for the servicing industry in hospitality? Cyber security is the practice of protecting critical systems and networks, as well as sensitive information and data from hackers attempting to forcibly breach the systems.
The hospitality industry is a natural target for malicious attacks because of the high volume of sensitive data that it collects, such as credit card information and guest records. Given the hospitality industry is one of the most targeted industries by hackers, cybersecurity has become a hot topic within the hospitality industry and requires non-technical departments such as marketing to also be alert. It is important for managers to understand in order to protect their guests’ information and to also ensure that their business remains secure.
What are the Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks on Hotels?
While the hotel industry is a growing target for cybercriminals, hotels continue to be vulnerable owing to the proliferation of the contactless era and staffing shortages. This has resulted in increased use of technology in the replacement of face-to-face services. Hackers can easily infiltrate the hotels’ networks and steal data from guests who are staying in the hotel.
From meeting room rentals to “workcations”, hotels are also increasingly housing short-term visitors that are logged onto public WiFi networks. Within luxury hotels, high-level guests are targeted and most prone to cyber-attacks – most commonly, ransomware, phishing scams and intrusions. Now, copious amounts of data and high-value assets can be stolen with less risk of detection compared to other industries.
Now with the rise of online bookings, hotels need to stay up-to-date and compete with their security measures amongst their industry peers. Hotels are to emphasise investment into data security and improved technology in order to protect their guests from these attacks by implementing various cybersecurity protocols such as firewalls, antivirus, and software updates.
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks?
Cyber attacks are a serious threat that needs to be addressed. In order to prevent these attacks, hotels should take a number of precautions, including:
- Encrypt sensitive data
In the past, hotels have been hit with cyberattacks that have resulted in data leaks and other sensitive information being stolen from the company. Encrypting data is the most basic thing a company can do to protect its customers from cyber attacks. This includes securing computers, databases and other systems that store sensitive data. It is also a great way for companies to protect their intellectual property as well. This helps protect valuable trade secrets that executives may share with hotel suppliers and vendors during negotiations for services or products. Hackers can also maliciously target payment terminals and swipe machines that are used by guests to use their credit cards or make purchases on-site.
- Educate employees
Hoteliers should make sure that their employees know how to spot phishing emails and actions to take after being exposed. These emails tend to mimic messages and email domains from a trusted source, but in reality, they have malicious links or attachments. Hotels should also make sure that employees have 2-step verification (2FA) enabled on all of their accounts in the case of intrusion, it can act as a barrier to accessing sensitive information of hotel guests and more.
- Hire a cybersecurity expert
If you don't have the expertise in-house to strengthen your company's cyber defences, hire a qualified company. A cybersecurity expert should have experience in designing systems that can help fend off cyberattacks, with further expertise in web security, network security, system design, and data security – while also being mindful of sophisticated innovations such as AI, machine learning and other emerging technology. You can hire either consultancies, managed service providers (MSPs), managed security services providers (MSSPs) or on-premise service providers. Also, one of the most important things that hotels can do is to make sure they have a backup plan in case their systems are compromised. Compliance reduces the risk of sensitive personal information falling into the wrong hands.
How Techsembly Protects Our Clients
Valuing the importance of data security, we ensure to safeguard your hotel and guests’ data. Techsembly takes security very seriously, which is why we’ve invested in several measures to achieve the highest level of security possible. Here are some credentials Techsembly has attained:
The ISO 27001 standard is a set of international standards for information security management; it is also one that is fully compliant with the evolving needs of the industry. Techsembly has completed all necessary assessments to ensure that our product and services have the know-how to manage sensitive information and reduce security risks. By attaining the ISO certification, we ensure our services provided are in standards with industry’s best practices in the protection of employee details, intellectual property and other information entrusted to Techsembly.
- PDPA & GDPR
The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data privacy and security law in the best interests of individuals in Singapore and the UK respectively. No collection, processing or use of personal data is conducted without explicit consent from individuals, including cookies on websites. We ensure the website we’ve built for your property is committed to adhering to local privacy law and regulations, where data collected are strictly for marketing purposes only when approved. Our website is scanned regularly for security holes and known vulnerabilities to make your visit to your site as safe as possible. We implement a variety of security measures when a user enters personal details or makes purchases to maintain the safety of their data.
- PCI Compliant
The third-party payment processors we use (Stripe, Adyen, Braintree) are PCI compliant – meaning all entities that store, process, or transmit credit card data are secure and compliant with the latest security standards. It is a set of standards developed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, designed to reduce the risk of credit card fraud and identity theft. This is especially important for hotels if you accept credit cards as a form of payment and store customer information or use third-party systems for this purpose.
- Cyber Security Training
We don’t take cyber security lightly at Techsembly, and it is an important concern for the company in respect of the data and intellectual property of our five-star clients. Our employees are entrusted with daily tasks that educate and test cyber security measures such as awareness of scams and phishing emails. Employees are educated and aware of security protocols should any malware attack happen. This is our responsibility to provide the right training to protect the data for our company, and yours.