Accessing hotel data is a boon for cyberattackers. Once they’re in, they have access to credit card numbers, passport information, flight details, and even some of the hotel’s physical controls. Cybersecurity is an issue hotel executives can no longer ignore. Today’s hotels will need to take a guest’s data security as seriously as they take a guest’s physical security. Doing so requires the implementation of specific hotel data protection strategies.
Implement Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Human error and phishing scams are among the leading causes of cyberbreaches. The chances of an employee accidentally giving a hacker access to your network and hotel data is minimized with proper training.
Draft a document outlining your hotel’s policies on responsible usage. Restrict employees from downloading or installing software on company computers. Limit the amount of web surfing that’s allowed on computers holding company data. Train employees to recognize, delete, and report suspicious emails or links, and teach them to create strong passwords.
Most importantly, create a culture of accountability, so employees know they are responsible for protecting hotel data as well.
Conduct a Risk Assessment of Your Existing Network
There are several systems tied to the hotel’s network. These can include third-party booking sites, airlines, point-of-sale (POS) systems, electronic key card programmers, and more. There’s also the many devices that connect to the hotel wifi.
To properly assess risk and come up with a cybersecurity plan that doesn’t hinder the hotel from operating smoothly, hotel executives need to conduct a proper risk assessment. This means understanding where specific data is held, who has (or needs) access to it, and the implications of it being compromised.
Additionally, this risk assessment should include an examination of third party vendors to ensure their cyber protection is adequate. Weaknesses in a vendor’s cybersecurity could jeopardize your hotel data as well.
Hire An Executive Who Is Directly Responsible for Information Security
It isn’t enough to include cybersecurity in an already overloaded exec’s portfolio. To properly protect hotel data, someone at the executive level should be directly responsible, whether that’s a Chief Information Officer or a Chief Security Officer. The job requires someone with a technical background who can liaise with different departments, keep updated on changes in the cybersecurity world, and set company-wide standards from the top down.
Look Out for Insider Threats To Your Hotel Data
Employees with access to hotel data can sell it to third parties. These sorts of breaches are harder to catch, since the person who steals it has authorized access. You can prevent this by limiting the temptation through accountability. Define roles in terms of how much data it requires and limit access to vital hotel data to a select number of employees. Assign unique log-in credentials to each employee, mandate regular password changes, and quickly deactivate credentials when employees leave.
Purchase Cybersecurity Insurance
It’s a misconception that customer data can’t be protected after an attack. Protecting hotel data before an attack is ideal, but if the unfortunate does occur cybersecurity insurance can help your hotel pay for important steps like customer notifications and credit monitoring.
Not all breaches need to be publicized. But those that involve sensitive data like credit card and social security numbers require customer notifications. Moreover, hotels need to provide ongoing credit monitoring for affected guests as well.
Today’s hotels must protect both the physical safety and hotel data of their guests. Using these strategies to take a proactive approach to cyberthreats is the first step towards operating a responsible hotel business.
How do you protect your hotel data and your customers’ information against cyberattacks? Sound off in the comments or on Twitter.
The Social Tables team has eight years of experience covering event news. The award-winning software platform has been used to source, plan, and execute nearly 5 million events since 2011. The company has 5,000 customers. Social Tables has won numerous recognitions, including Best Industry Innovation from the International Live Events Association and one of the most innovative companies in live events by Fast Company.