The hospitality industry is one of the largest industries that cater specifically to humans. Hotels, restaurants, and resorts house large databases that contain data regarding business operations as well as consumer information that visit the restaurant or resort.
The personal information collected can range from generic data like names and phone numbers to sensitive data like bank account details.
In addition to this, databases in the hospitality industry also happen to be the most vulnerable to data breaches. It has been seen that the most number of breaches in security has resulted in identity theft and leaks of credit card information.
Data Security Concerns for The Hospitality Business
The frequency of cyberattacks against business databases can be attributed to the fact that the hospitality industry largely depends on credit cards as a medium of payment. This may increase the chances of a hacker receiving access to sensitive information. Larger businesses contain multiple databases protected by thinly veiled encryption.
The vulnerabilities in the data security in hospitality are also witnessed in the following aspect:
- Sovereignty over data: The data collected and the people who can access it differ from country to country. In communist countries like China and Russia, governments have access to every industry’s database. However, democratic governments, as seen in the European and North American countries, offer more data privacy in the hospitality industry.
- Financial restrictions: This is mostly seen in smaller businesses that are just starting or businesses that have seen a dip in visitors. The low funds will not allow an owner to invest in a capable cybersecurity provider.
- Divided ownership: High-profile businesses in this industry can have several owners or franchisors. Each of these individuals will have access to the databases on multiple devices. Therefore, a hacker can easily force their way into the mainframe.
- Electronic payment methods: The aforementioned reliance on payment cards can greatly increase the chances of information leaking. However, other virtual methods of payment like online payment and more can create the potential for cyber attacks.
- Disposal methods: Most businesses lack the ability to dispose of information that is no longer required properly. This leads to the accumulation of information like credit card data of past consumers and more.
- Lack of training: Staff training is restricted to the service aspect of the business. However, training employees to carry out processes in maintaining data security in hospitality like data collection and storage in the right manner is overlooked.
- Coercion: There is a chance that the hackers directly approach the employees of the business to release information and thus infiltrate the data security in hospitality. They can manipulate them to give up their loyalty towards the business.
- Adherence to law: Given the rise in data breaches, the security measures put in place by lawmakers are especially strict during this time. Therefore, failure to adhere to these laws leads to one paying large fines for putting consumer data at risk.
- Insider attacks: A scorned employee can be a potential offender towards the systems that possess data collected as they have a motive to sell sensitive information to competitors or hackers. However, the chance of this occurring is slim.
Best Practices for Data Security in the Hospitality Industry
As per the multiple threats that have been uncovered above, it is essential to understand how to ensure hotel data security. Therefore, the businesses in the hospitality industry employ the use of the following measures:
- Encrypting payment card data: This process can involve the addition of two-factor authentication that will protect the data from being accessible to non-employees. This encryption can prevent identity theft.
- Training and educating: Employees will require thorough vetting regarding the importance of proper data storage. This training can also work towards reducing the chances of insider attacks as only a few employees will have access to the databases.
- Cyber-security measures: This includes the addition of firewalls, traffic filters, and network monitors to guard against malware present online.
- Testing computer systems: The testing process applies to the cyber-security provider. That is to say, businesses are required to carry out several tests to determine if the provider can detect the threat or malware.
- Track data: Databases that are stored on various systems require a tracker. Through this tracker, one is capable of determining where the data is present or moving towards.
How Can LoginRadius Mitigate Data Security Concerns for the Hospitality Industry
LoginRadius offers a variety of security measures to protect the hospitality industry. In fact, the importance of LoginRadius attachments to data security has revolutionized how hospitality organizations are dealing with data protection and cybersecurity. They can do so due to the following features:
- Compliance with legal issues regarding the collection and storage of information.
- Multiple authentication implementations.
- Safe cloud integrations for businesses that function using multiple systems.
- Encryption for cards and other information.
- Encryption of data at the field (onsite business systems) levels to ensure data security in hospitality.
- Management of consent of consumers.
According to the AARP, around 1.4 million cases of Identity theft were reported in 2020. Therefore, it has become one of the most common methods of fraud.
To mitigate this, governments across the world have implemented the privacy act. This privacy act hopes to decrease the number of identity theft cases by regulating the information that is collected by businesses. Therefore, investing in proper data security in hospitality can work to protect not only the consumer but also the business from losing large sums of profit.