Data Privacy & How it Affects Your Business
June 2017’s global cyber attack which mostly affected large scale organisations in Europe, is one of the largest ever ransomware infections to endanger the personal and financial details of millions of people. As these security breaches continue to increase both in severity and frequency they will undoubtedly impact on consumer confidence as concerns arise as to just how safe customer information actually is.
One of the principal concerns in the hospitality industry is data protection both for customers and hoteliers due to the handling of sensitive information such as guest addresses, phone numbers, emails and credit card information. A study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) last year stated that 89% of those surveyed, avoid companies they feel won’t protect their privacy.
Why is Data Protection so Important?
The obvious reason is because consumers have rights to privacy and there are laws that must be adhered to in different countries that govern the way personal data is handled, transferred and stored. Data privacy is basically all about how that information is protected so that individuals are unable to access a guests personal details or steal their identity.
As we already mentioned, the majority of consumers today have a growing awareness of the sensitivity of their information and are proactively taking a stand to protect it. Hotels which don’t maintain strict standards risk taking a hit to the reputation of their business. The Washington Post recently related a story in which one of Las Vegas’s most well known hotels, The Bellagio, suffered a lapse in their security which resulted in two of their guests having their card numbers stolen. The fact that this story made a headline in The Washington Post rather proves this point. It is also important to remember that nothing is as important as keeping guests happy and one way to increase customer satisfaction is to make sure you keep their personal details as safe as you possibly can.
The Role Hoteliers play in Protecting Customer Data
The hotel industry is particularly vulnerable to breaches in data security. In fact Trustwave’s 2016 Global Security Report stated that the hospitality industry is responsible for the second largest number of security breaches incidents. This is due to a number of factors including the distraction of travellers, the huge amount of traveller data collected by hotels, the amount of credit cards used and the higher than average staff turnover.
Hoteliers can protect themselves and their guests in a few key areas:
- Know and protect the information that is stored. It is vital to know what information is being kept, where it stored, who has access to it and obviously make sure it is being kept in a safe place. Some information should never be kept as a hard copy and if records are being saved for the purposes of maintaining a paper trail, more sensitive details like card numbers should be systematically deleted.
- Keep a training manual specifically aimed at data security and make sure new staff are trained in these procedures to ensure your whole team remain compliant.
- Back up data to hard storage, the cloud or save information to USBs or a local server.
- Use firewalls and spam filters.
How Sirvoy Helps Hoteliers to Keep Data Secure
Sirvoy is one of the few Property Management Systems on the market today that are PCI DSS compliant and strives to maintain only the strictest of security standards. Information is simultaneously located on twin servers to guarantee that data is protected at all times and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) safeguards all communication to provide hoteliers with peace of mind and one less thing to worry about!