The pandemic hypercharged cyberattacks – especially in the hospitality industry – and ultimately made business-protecting technology solutions even more of an operational necessity
During a recent virtual forum hosted by the Hotel Council of San Francisco and sponsored by Comcast Business and Expedia Group, panel guests – including Romy Ricafort, Senior Director of Sales Engineering, Comcast Business; John Bell, Founder and Principal Consultant, Ajontech LLC; and Serge Ulyanov, President and Chief Technology Officer, Tech Hospitality Inc., – discussed how cybersecurity in hospitality environments has evolved as a result of the pandemic and how businesses in the industry can prepare for the tech-enabled experiences of the future.
Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:
The hospitality industry is a major target for cyberattacks
Throughout the pandemic, a number of industries have been victims of cyberattacks, and the hospitality industry is no different.
The hospitality industry brings a treasure trove of data, from payment information to open WiFi networks, and 13% of all cyberattacks target the hospitality industry, according to Ricafort.
As bad actors continue to capitalize on the hospitality industry, it is becoming increasingly more complicated to protect business operations. Nevertheless, comprehensive cybersecurity solutions are critical for ensuring customers’ information is handled securely, as well as a positive customer experience.
Companies need to protect where they are most vulnerable
When measuring where a company – large or small – is most vulnerable, leaders must assess where the company stands to lose the most financially. According to Bell, network management is typically the biggest pitfall for hospitality organizations.
When it comes to combating potential cyber risks, hospitality businesses need to protect their day-to-day programs like point-of-sale systems or cloud applications, explained Ulyanov.
Ricafort added that there are multiple, lesser-known business extensions that aren’t often thought about but are still critical to protect as well. These can include anything from shadow IT applications to Internet of Things devices, or even smart lights or sensors.
To help protect sensitive data, the hospitality industry should seek internal and external support
According to Stanford Research, 88% of all cyberattacks are caused by human error. All panelists agreed that the hospitality industry needs to better protect itself on this front – even small measures, such as employee training and multi-authentication passwords, can be crucial to better managing network security.
Beyond training, companies need to change their mindsets from “if it happens” to “when it happens” and have a proactive cybersecurity plan in place. Companies can also look into a managed service provider that helps quickly respond to security threats.
To read the complete panel discussion, visit this link.