Cyber Security in Hotels

 

Internet Security System

The world is becoming more digitized in every aspect which can be a good and bad thing. A digital world has helped people connect and communicate but it has also put a threat on people’s personal security.

The internet has allowed you to input your personal information on many different platforms which is then stored and saved. This can pose a threat to a person’s security because their personal information is being stored somewhere among the internet. Carrying a mobile device also posses a threat to a person’s personal security because they can be tracked and monitored by a variety of people as well as the fear of having your mobile device hacked into.

Though the digital world and the internet has aided many industries, including the hospitality industry, it also poses several threats.

The hospitality industry has stayed up to date with the ever changing digital world. Hotels have come to the point of relying on computers for many things including information retrieval and storage, financial transactions, electronic communication/messaging of guests and more.  All guests’ information is stored on the property’s computer system which makes it very important for the systems to be secure. The main concern for a hotel’s cyber security would be the guests’ credit card information, though it is not the only concern. A credit card is required at most hotels for every reservation and if the system happened to get hacked then many people’s personal security would be threatened. The International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Management explained that many hoteliers are interested in increasing intrusion detection as their way of coping with cyber security threats at their properties. Intrusion detection will aid in preventing a hacking before it can become a threat to the hotel and their guests. It is important for hotel companies to understand that nobody is immune to security hacks on their system but there are ways to help protect yourself.

hotel cyber security

Though the internet is a portal of information, there are preventative ways for hotels to remain secure. It is vital that hotel properties understand what is at risk. This will allow them to fully secure the higher risk information. Cyber security is also affected by human factors. Properly training all employees to reduce the risk of incidents will create a more secure environment at your property. Because guests are the most important aspect of any hotel, it is important that they feel as though their information is just as safe as they are. Braun explains the importance of a sense of a secure culture at a hotel property. “Hotels are obligated to maintain the physical security of guests; if a guest does not feel safe in their room, they will not patronize the hotel or the hotel brand. This need for physical security applies to data security as well; hotels must make guests feel that the hotel they visit is as concerned about their personal and financial data as they are about their physical security. Moreover, hotels hold and must protect great amounts of data that is key to their competitive survival.” (Braun, 2017) 

The risks of a cyber security breach do not only include the guests’ personal information, but also the confidence, trust, and brand recognition of the hotel. Many hotel breaches have occurred that have created a bad look on that brand. As stated before, most cyber security attacks can be traced back to human error. As mentioned in a recent article on EHotelier, 95% of all data breaches can be traced to human causes. Front line staff is often poorly trained against cyber attacks due to a lack of global risk management from the management. Many large hotels have created  mobile applications that allow the guests to check-in right from their phone and even use their devices as a key to their room. This is a great example of risk reduction. This completely eliminates the guest’s interaction with the front desk where their security could be threatened. The guest is required to input all of their own information including their credit card right on the mobile application so that no information is physically passed to the front desk, reducing the risk for human error. The use of mobile devices in hotels is very innovative, but cannot be expected to be used by everybody because there is still a range of people including non-adapters who do not use mobile devices for this use. Overall, the most effective form of cyber security in the hospitality industry is knowledge and prevention.

Braun, B. (2017). 5 key issues in hotel cybersecurity – eHotelier. eHotelier. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from http://ehotelier.com/insights/2016/05/19/5-key-issues-in-hotel-cybersecurity/

Bachelor, E. (2017). Cyber-security: are hotels serious about it?. Blog.ehl.edu. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from http://blog.ehl.edu/cyber-security-are-hotels-serious-about-it

Cobanoglu, C., & DeMicco, F. J. (2007). To Be Secure or Not to Be: Isn’t This the Question? A Critical Look at Hotel’s Network Security. International Journal Of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 8(1), 43-59.

Definition of CYBERSECURITY. (2017). Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cybersecurity

Kim, J. S., Farrish, J., & Schrier, T. (2013). Hotel Information Technology Security: Do Hoteliers Understand the Risks?. International Journal Of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 14(3), 282-304. doi:10.1080/15256480.2013.809992

Risk and cyber security in the hotel industry. (2017). PwC. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from http://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/hospitality-leisure/insights/risk-and-cyber-security-in-the-hotel-industry.html

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