Protecting guest’s information and combating against an online security breach can be achieved by selecting a secure platform
For any IT director, a data breach is a worst-nightmare scenario. And hotels are no stranger to these types of security breaches. IHG Hotels has been the subject of hackers on multiple occasions, most recently in September 2022, and they aren’t alone. Hilton and Marriott have both experienced an online security breach in recent years. But, it’s not just the large industry players that are at risk. Even small brands and boutique hotels can have their systems hacked and customer data stolen. As a hotelier, making a point to protect guest data and keep a guest’s information secure is key.
So, what proactive steps can you take to make sure you protect against an online data breach? Selecting a secure platform service provider is step No. 1. When looking for a provider, here are a few key attributes you must consider.
When selecting a platform service provider, look for those who use a secure, cloud-based system. Cloud-based systems store information in various data centers with redundancy implemented throughout the system, so if one goes down, your property’s data will fail over to another automatically. Another benefit to cloud-based systems? Encryption. While it’s difficult to implement across the entire environment, cloud providers, such as Microsoft and Amazon, offer encryption right off the bat — helping to prevent data exposure thanks to the military-grade AES 256 encryption used by cloud providers.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is widely recognized by the hospitality industry, and PCI compliance is the first step for hotels to protect guest data. When selecting a platform service provider, make sure your provider integrates with a PMS provider that is also PCI DSS compliant. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Using a secure platform service provider that offers data tokenization is also critical. Many platform service providers don’t store any PCI information, but instead tokenize a guest’s sensitive information and send it directly to the property’s payment gateway — ensuring that anything that’s compliant is stored in the hotel’s PMS.
Believe it or not, a large majority of online data breaches are a result, not from direct hacker attacks, but from human error. If one of your employees downloads an attachment from an unknown sender, a guest’s information can easily be at risk. Protect guest data by educating employees on how to spot a phishy email. Other important steps to take? Make sure passwords are changed and updated frequently, and impart on your staff the importance of logging out of a system when finished with a task. Also, be sure to enact modern security practices and regularly update your company’s security standards.
Looking for more information on choosing a secure platform service provider to keep your guests’ information safe and secure? Request a demo today!