The Hotel Industry and Its Current Challenges

Hotel, Cybersecurity, Secure Stay

Lourdes Borjas

When talking about cybersecurity in the hotel industry, we should start from the following premise: “Total security does not exist”. You’ve probably heard about it before. Nonetheless, it is important to keep this in mind at all times.

There has been a constant trickle of news lately in which large IT multinationals, governments, large hotel chains, and even security agencies have seen their information systems breached despite having highly qualified teams with the best training and all the technical resources and security protocols one can imagine.

Although it may seem that the target of these cyberattacks has its focus on large entities, the truth is that according to a recent report, 53% of SMEs have suffered a cyberattack in the last year with at least mild consequences, becoming the most appetizing target for criminals. Undoubtedly, this data is surprising and implies the level of vulnerability this profile of companies faces.

Hotels, Cybersecurity

Risk Factors

Notably, independent hotels or small hotel chains, unlike other sectors, see how the risk of an attack multiplies due to two key factors:

  • Around 90% of reservations come from online and through multiple channels, either direct or intermediated sales.
  • The large volume of personal records that are processed and stored in its systems and those of its suppliers throughout the year. These records contain vital information such as credit cards, account numbers, home addresses, travel regimes, etc.

Main Risks

But, what are the main risks that a hotel is exposed to due to its activity? Well, among the most common strategies that hackers might use, the people working for the hospitality industry should be aware of the next:

  • Email Phishing

It is a technique by which personal and corporate data are captured illegally or fraudulently by redirecting the user to a fake web domain to steal their personal and financial information, quickly allowing access to the hotel systems.

  • Systems lockdown, file encryption, and network overload

Through ransomware attacks and DDoS attacks, respectively, the hackers can paralyze the hotel’s commercial activity and request a ransom in exchange for returning the action to normal.

  • Theft of customer personal data

This malicious action may entail derivative civil liability, especially when handling bank details and other sensitive information.

Hotel cybersecurity, Secure Stay

About the Loss of information

In most cases, it can be unrecoverable, and once we know the risks, it is essential to identify the weak points and reinforce them to avoid a vulnerability becoming a liability to the system.

Basic Prevention Actions

From extensive experience, when it comes to hotels, Secure Stay considers four basic prevention actions that any hotel can implement and that, although they do not guarantee absolute security, significantly reduce the risk of suffering an attack, minimizing its impact:

1. Raising awareness and training employees

Companies must invest in processes and people and ensure that their employees are the first effective defense against these attacks.

2. Authentication

Limit attempts to access an account; consider implementing two-factor authentication on all remote accounts. Give administrators, remote users, and mobile devices additional protection. That way you will ensure that administrators use different passwords for their administrator and non-administrator user accounts.

3. Apply rules for backing up

Make three copies of data on two different media and host the third copy in a different physical location. It’ll minimize the risk of losing information.

4. Keep the software always up to date

But what happens when an attack occurs? What tools should be used? What is the first line of defense? The action protocol and resources necessary to minimize the attack’s damage are very different; Secure Stay makes sure your hotel is covered with the right tools and training.

Secure Stay, Security

Conclusion

An average individual hotel may think that it is not an attractive target for cybercriminals. Nothing could be more further away from the truth. This type of hotel has precious data and numerous gateways to sensitive information provided by the hotel’s WIFI, by the APIs that make up its systems, or through specific actions carried out by employees and guests.

To summarize, hoteliers have always lived for service, and it is their responsibility to do everything in their power to create and maintain a solid protection system for their business, their customers, and their data. Secure Stay considers that cybersecurity is a fundamental tool that allows the hotel to ensure its survival against a cyber attack with the least possible impact on its income, statement, and reputation.

We’ll teach you how to repel cyberattacks.

We’ll teach you how to repel cyber attacks.