Why cybersecurity is essential for the hospitality industry.
In recent history Marriott International and British Airways were two major victims of cyber attacks. These two serve as an example that the safety of customers’ data should always come first and should not be compromised. With companies fighting unceasingly to survive during difficult pandemic times, the businesses from all industries are exposed to cyber attacks, which means that security of sensitive information should be dealt with accordingly.
In this light CEOs should find time and resources to consider how to couple existing infrastructure with effective cyber security strategies. Amid the global pandemic we face today, industry-wide initiative is an absolute necessity for businesses of all sizes in order to stand the best chance to succeed in their cybersecurity endeavours.
Even though the most immediate victims of cybercrimes are financial services, the hospitality industry is also at gunpoint due to the volumes of sensitive information in the databases. These databases are worth millions of dollars which makes cybercriminals attracted to such lucrative opportunities. These opportunities make up sumptuous resorts and hotels along with many high net worth individuals that become prey for hackers.
Customer data has no limit, therefore it offers a growing number of access points for cybercriminals to abuse. Multiple technologies used on various operation lines are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Daily hotels collect thousands of data points of their clients who use gadgets within the hotel area.
Smartphones, tablets and laptops are connected to local networks and that becomes an inviting opportunity for hackers to gain access to banking details of the hotel’s clients.
Hotel industry is a big player in customer excellence, hotels strive to provide the quality stay in addition to improving their digital offerings. They procure a high speed Wi-Fi, while running numerous remote connections and end points, with all electronic features this internet connection requires. Unfortunately, it provides loopholes for cybercriminals to conduct an attack and get access to information.
These days, the systems in the hotel back and front operations are managed by people who are not professional enough to handle, detect and prevent cyber-attacks until these interventions are irreversible.
The reason for this cyber crisis lies in isolated legacy systems and outdated software, so the breaches become imminent mainly within POS systems and other external resources. In addition to that, hotels often outsource their IT connectivity and don’t keep an eye on the provider’s security measures.
These issues become even more acute when you take into account the digital environment the hotels operate within. As a rule separate hotels operate within an organization’s network, which implies that a breach in one hotel will affect the rest within the same company. As data is stored for many years, there are massive databases with passport and credit card information that can be attractive to cybercriminals.
There are only a few organizations who can review their risks and the types of threats their facilities are prone to. Of course, no one would use bad security infrastructure, but several years of decisions based on shortcuts have created a serious level of weaknesses at the heart of hospitality.