HOW SECURE IS YOUR HOTEL WEBSITE?

You are a high-profile executive living out of your suitcase. Meetings take you across the globe, making you stay at hotels almost half the month. You have used your social security number to check in to the hotel and have provided your demographic details at the reception. You use one of the many online transaction options to pay your hotel bills. Little do you know about the risks associated. Did you ask the reception how secure your data is? The data you have provided is at risk of being hacked by some unscrupulous cyber criminals.

Cyber Incidents Happened in the Past:

Hoteliers have been at the receiving end of some severe cyber-attacks in recent time.

Marriott-owned Starwood Hotels has confirmed its hotel guest database of about 500 million customers has been stolen in a data breach. According to them, the attacks may date back as far as 2014.                                                                                                   — Source: Marriott Hotel

In 2017, it was reported by Reuters that Hyatt unearthed a data breach into guest payment card information at 41 corporate-managed properties located across 11 countries. The breach exposed the properties between 18 March and 2 July.

— Source Reuters.com

So, how will you protect your hotel from potential risks of data breaches? Let us now delve into some of the best practices to thwart such cyber-attacks.

Prevent Attacks by Malware and Viruses

Very often, your servers may receive pop-ups and emails through which malware and viruses may affect your IT systems. You need to undertake training for your employees to ensure they are aware of such attacks that may occur. One-time training is not enough. You need to schedule periodic training for your employees. Moreover, your IT team should have a robust security framework in place against external malware and viruses. The best option is to go for antivirus and anti-spyware software.

Imbibe Robust IT policies

Your IT team should come up with a robust IT policy. Password policy for all employees should be in place, and only authorized personnel should have access to the database, and all accesses should be appropriately logged. The IT team should ensure that all systems and devices are up to date. Being without updates and software patches makes the systems more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Your servers store critical information; viz. personal information, customer data, financial records, etc. Data backup should always be an integral part of your IT policy. It would be best if you had a data backup plan that details the frequency of the data backups.

PCI-DSS Compliance

The Security Standards Council provides Self-Assessment Questionnaires to allow hotels to determine their PCI DSS compliance. They also offer professional training for businesses.

Use HTTPS

Secure websites are essential to ensure a continuous flow of visitors to your website. Moreover, web browsers like Google Chrome inform visitors when a website is safe or not. It requires you to move your website to “HTTPS” platform. We are all familiar with this term, right. Seeing HTTPS on the address bar is a sign that the website is safe, and you can undertake financial transactions on that website.

So, what do you need to do? You need to buy SSL Certificate from SSL2BUY. Now let us know a bit about what SSL Certificates are. They are small data files that bind a cryptographic key to the data residing within the organization.  You are now able to secure all financial transactions, transfer of information between two systems, etc.

There are other reasons to use a secure website. It ensures you are on the safe side of the PCI DSS requirements. It helps to improve customer trust on your hotel website.

Though there are different types of SSL Certificates available, you should ideally opt for the Extended Valuation Certificate (EV SSL Certificate). You are required to adhere to stringent standards and is the highest level of SSL. The authority verifies the business identity, third party database source to validate the request of EV SSL certificate. Once the authority confirms, EV SSL can be issued. As the owner of the website, you are required to go through strict verification processes to confirm that you are the owner and has exclusive rights to that domain.

Regular Back-up:

Regular back-up of your data saves you from accident data breach. Your data should include business strategy, customer data, financial data and it seems very cost effective. You can keep backup at hard drive or cloud storage. You can schedule your backup like weekly, quarterly, or yearly.

Priority Password Security:

You should frequently update your password and do not use the same password. If the account is breached in past then, changing password habit is the only solution to save from future loss. Do not ever use weak password as it can be easily identified so you could use password manager that will create a password. Password manager can store all your login passwords with security of minimum 128-bit encryption strength.

Conclusion

The GDPR formulated by the European Union requires you to follow stringent compliances to stay clear of hefty fines. You can ill afford to take chances when it comes to data security. Stay Secure!