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5 Ways You Can Arm Yourself Against Data Breaches

How can you protect your data and safeguard your hotel against breaches? 

Data breaches are becoming a normal occurrence these days, and no matter what industry you work in, everyone is vulnerable to attacks. However, the savvy hackers prey on companies that aren’t taking precautionary measures to protect their data as well as the data of their customers. Hackers and criminals are becoming more advanced and have tricks to obtain sensitive information. These techniques may be difficult to spot unless you know what to look for – check out our blog detailing the 12 methods criminals use to steal data.

One sector that is particularly susceptible to attacks is hospitality, specifically hotels. Year after year, the hotel industry generates billions in gross bookings—and all those bookings equate to large quantities of personal information and credit card data being processed and transmitted across systems. This is very alluring to hackers interested in stealing cardholder data. 

Protecting your guests’ information is more important than ever before. Here are five ways you can do so:

1. Hire an Outside Consultant:

If you don’t have an in-house dedicated team to manage and maintain the PCI process, consider hiring an outside expert. Unfortunately, an annual audit isn’t enough to actively protect your hotel and guest data from criminals. This is a continuous project that will aid you in keeping data safe. 

2. Document, Document, Document:

Having written documentation that details procedures is another way to effectively implement a company-wide security and compliancy policy. Staying up to date on the latest security practices and drafting a policy centered around these will help you and your hotel team to stay educated and aware. This policy should be reviewed frequently, updated immediately and communicated across the company so that everyone is notified. Instilling a security-first mindset takes time, but it’s possible when companies are proactive in their communication. 

3. Conduct Routine Trainings:

Anyone at your hotel that handles credit card or personally identifiable information (PII) should be well-informed about the risk of data breaches. Having an in-depth training once or twice a year reinforces a “security-first” mindset and educates everyone on your procedures and policies.  

4. Technology Vendor Compliancy:

Ideally, any third-party vendor that handles guest information should be compliant and meet your security expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors what measures they are taking to protect sensitive information. Also require that vendors notify you immediately when a data breach occurs that will impact your hotel and your guests. Ultimately, it’s up to you to exercise due diligence prior to working with technology vendors. 

5. Protect Your Hotel Against Both External and Internal Threats:

Although it may be unpleasant to consider, sometimes the enemy is within your hotel. It’s imperative that you vet any new employees who join your company, particularly those who will be handling credit card information. By taking some precautionary steps, you reduce the temptation of someone on your staff potentially stealing cardholder information.  

When it comes to data security, it always pays to be proactive. Don’t wait until a breach happens to make changes to your security plan and implement measures to keep your guests’ information safe. Creating a comprehensive security plan and performing regular penetration tests and vulnerability scans will go a long way in protecting your hotel from breaches. Additionally, arming yourself with research to share with your company executives opens the door for both conversation and the creation of an actionable plan.

Up Next: Read the 12 Ways Criminals Obtain Sensitive Information