Data – it is the currency of modern times. The truth is that information is much more valuable than cash. Therefore, a growing number of criminals are much less interested in penetrating a company’s bank accounts than in stealing the information on the hard drives.
This information can be invaluable to hackers for several reasons. It can give them access to proprietary information, which they can then sell on the black market, for example. It can also give them access to consumers’ personal and financial information, allowing them to steal identities and destroy lives.
There is an idea that only large companies are at risk of data breaches, but the truth is that hackers do not discriminate. Even small hotels can have their systems hacked and their data stolen. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve data security in hotels. In this post, we’ll discuss essential steps to improve cybersecurity in the hotel industry and what you and your team need to know.
Train your staff
One of the first considerations when it comes to data security in hospitality businesses is making sure your staff is trained. Most data breaches today are not the result of direct attacks, but of human error. It’s all too easy for employees to make a mistake that leaves your data open to hackers who are only too happy to take advantage of it.
Some of the most common employee mistakes that can lead to data breaches include the following:
- Falling victim to phishing emails or phone calls
- Don’t change passwords at all or often enough
- Using easy-to-guess passwords
- Writing down passwords and storing them on a computer
- Don’t log out of systems when you’re done with a task
It is important that you train your staff to avoid these mistakes and to know the signs of a phishing email or phone call. Note that phishing is growing rapidly and has even been adapted to target CEOs and business owners (called whaling in this case).
Cyber Security Tools
In addition to staff training, hotel network security also depends on having the right cybersecurity tools. These should be permanent parts of your digital network and should already be there. If not, it’s critical to install them immediately. Some of the most common types of tools/equipment you should have installed include the following:
- Firewalls, both digital and physical
- Network monitoring equipment to detect intrusions and track access attempts
- Traffic filters to block known and suspected malicious IP addresses
- Antimalware software to prevent and remove malicious software installed intentionally or unintentionally
- Antivirus software to remove viruses and other threats (often bundled with antimalware software)
However, it is not enough to install these tools. You should also run probing tests to determine if they are properly configured to defend your hotel from attack. If you don’t have your own IT team in-house, you should outsource this task to a specialist.
PCI DSS compliance
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, more commonly known as PCI DSS, encompasses a set of standard practices and procedures designed to protect credit card information. If you accept and process credit cards, you are required by law to comply with PCI DSS standards. The goal here is to ensure that everyone from the cardholder to the merchant processing the credit card to the payment gateway developer is doing everything possible to prevent attacks and prevent breaches.
Perhaps the most important part of these hotel standards is encryption. All credit card transactions must be encrypted at the time of transaction and then decrypted on the receiving end. So be very careful when choosing a payment gateway as this is the point of encryption.
You should also watch your PMS. It should be PCI DSS compliant, but not all platforms are. Lack of compliance puts your guests’ financial information at risk, but can also land you in hot legal water if you don’t meet PCI DSS standards.
Updates on your devices
We understand it. Updating all your workstations and other devices is a pain. It can mean long downtimes if patches and upgrades are applied. This can disrupt the workflow and in some cases even hinder your employees or guests.
Either way, it is imperative that you update your devices when needed. Schedule updates when they’re least disruptive, but don’t skip them. They contain important security updates for hotel networks and patches for known exploits. Failure to update devices is another major cause of data breaches in businesses.
Back up your data
Data backups are vital for all businesses, including hotels. You should back up your data regularly – daily is preferable. Without regular backups, a breach may not allow you to proceed. This also comes in handy in the event of calamities and other calamities that can damage your network.
Step into the cloud
Finally, it is important to terminate on-premises systems. That doesn’t mean you should completely phase out computer workstations, but you should start transitioning to a cloud-based PMS that is PCI DSS compliant and built to handle today’s security realities in hotels.
Secure cloud-based systems can be more challenging for attackers because they are less centralized than on-premises systems. In addition, when designed with modern digital security in mind, they provide robust defenses against malware, viruses, and other types of threats.
When all is said and done, data security in hotels is a critical topic. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to train your workforce, invest in the right tools and equipment, ensure you are PCI DSS compliant, focus on updates and backups, and move to the cloud to manage your company’s information and its financial and financial records. protect your guests. personal data. That said, cybersecurity is possible! It simply requires the right tools and knowledge combined with a proactive attitude towards defeating cyber-attacks.
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