Is your customer data at risk? The hospitality industry has been a target for cybersecurity threats, but could stay protected with these best security practices.
The hospitality industry hosts a massive amount of customer data every year—even every day. It should come as no surprise, then, that hospitality businesses are prime targets for cybersecurity breaches and attacks.
In 2018 alone, hotel chains such as Marriott International, Radisson Hotel Group, and Huazhu Hotels Group all experienced data breaches of varying degrees. The combined impact put the data of over 630 million customers at risk.
Large hotel chains and brands aren’t the only ones at risk. Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important issue for hotels, bed and breakfasts, and hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes. The best way to protect your business and customer data is to develop a strategy for security measures. We suggest starting with these 5 top cybersecurity practices.
One of the biggest threats to the hospitality industry is a lack of awareness of recent cyberattacks and practices. Not all cyberattacks are alike. While one hotel chain may be hit with ransomware or malware through a phishing email, another could experience an entirely different type of breach. One hotel chain discovered a breach in their security audit logs, containing 85.4 GB of data, including employee names and usernames, firewall information, and API key and password. In this case, the breach was discovered by a security research team and fixed immediately. Whether any data was used by a third party is unclear.
Establishing a plan for both prevention and recovery is an important part of protecting your business against cyber threats. If you don’t currently have a security team in place, we recommend have an IT consultant walk you through the necessary steps to build a solid plan that includes software and hardware protection, as well as best practices for your employees. For disaster recovery, working with a managed service provider allows ensures your systems and servers are properly backed up and that there is a team available to make data recovery swift and effective.
This is a big part of your security plan and should include implementing best practices such as firewalls and antivirus software, limiting or controlling network access, and using a virtual private network (VPN). These simple steps can go a long way in protecting your data, and that of your guests.
You may be familiar with hacking schemes such as malware and ransomware. Hackers use phishing emails and social engineering to convince users to click on a link and expose their network to vicious software. Within the corporate world, BEC scams and spear-phishing emails are another major threat. Hackers pose as employees within the corporation in order to gain access to login or account details.
Email security comes in different forms, including monitoring for fake emails that look all too similar to the real one. This includes scanning for misspelled words, the use of random punctuation in an email address, or a “reply” email that is different from the “from” email.
Even the best-laid security plans can go awry if your team is not aware of how to recognize a security threat. Educating your staff on ransomware and malware attacks, BEC scams, and how to identify a strange request for information goes a long way in protecting your data. Work with your team to create a plan for two-step authentication when personal or customer data is involved, reducing the risk of giving the right information to the wrong person.
Want to learn more about establishing a top-notch cybersecurity plan for your hospitality business? At NexusIT, our team of experts helps businesses across Utah set systems in place to prevent, monitor, and resolve cybersecurity risks before they happen.