Tourism drives profits for the hospitality industry. At the same time, the industry also benefits from the increasing availability of various food choices and sleeping options. With that much money coming in, it is not a wonder then why the industry should be targets of cyber-criminals.
While larger brands are the usual victims of cyber threats, those with malicious intent aren’t sparing small businesses – including those with less than 250 workers – from harm either. In fact, small businesses were the victims of half of the cyberattacks launched in 2015.
The cost of cyber-crime is also increasing. A study by the Ponemon Institute found that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.8 billion, an increase of double digits compared to recent years. That figure is almost doubled in the US where a computer breach could cost $6.5 million.
Given the hospitality industry relies on personal information to offer services, a hotel consultant should make it a point to bring up cybersecurity concerns during discussions.
The Human Factor
Human error accounts for many data breaches. It’s human to commit mistakes, but certain standards need to be set given the sensitive nature of information being handled in hotels and restaurants.
Yes, the hospitality industry can benefit from the most sophisticated technology, but all that can be undone if human lapses cannot be addressed. Minimizing security incidents from happening stresses the importance of training personnel at all levels. Doing this ensures the creation of a secure environment, which protects not just the clients but the business as a whole.
Compliance Is Not Security
A lot of the payment card data breaches that became top stories could have been prevented. Yes, the companies used compliant technology but that alone doesn’t guarantee security.
Investing in the most sophisticated technology will not protect a business if proper maintenance is not observed. Verizon stated that known vulnerabilities with available patches caused 99% of the breaches in 2014.
A Culture Of Security
A hotel consultant will be able to advise clients on the importance of security in all levels of operation, not just for certain platforms. A culture of security must be ingrained within the organization to avoid or at least reduce the incidences of breaches.
Using sophisticated security technologies should be a priority, but other measures should also be in place to create a more secure environment, one that not only protects the privacy of guests but also the longevity of the business.
The last thing anyone in the hospitality industry wants is to lose the trust of clients after security breaches. This leads to a drop in profits and a tough road to take to get back to regain trust and profitability.
Hotels, restaurants, and others in the hospitality industry should be invested in cybersecurity. Staff training should not only include service to clients but also extend to the threats posed by cybercriminals.
The most sophisticated technology can only do so much. A business should make security a 24/7 priority, with staff from all levels equally invested in creating a safe environment. For more information contact a hotel consultant from Perry Group International. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, our consultants can advise or refer you to best in the cybersecurity industry.
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