Cyber Security: Are You Putting Your Guests at Risk?
Reports show that cyber attacks on the hospitality industry are growing. Today, hospitality is the third most likely sector to experience such an event, with the rise driven by a variety of factors.
Hospitality businesses are facing a whole host of new challenges as they strive to succeed in today’s landscape. And it’s clear that one of the biggest challenges is cybersecurity. Hospitality businesses – including hotels, restaurants, and leisure facilities – are attractive targets for sophisticated hackers.
Recent reports show that cyber attacks on the hospitality industry are growing. Today, hospitality is the third most likely sector to experience such an event, with the rise driven by a variety of factors.
Find out more about what makes hospitality a high risk industry here.
For most organisations, the big question to come out of all this is, ‘are our processes leaving our business at risk?’. And it’s an important consideration. However, there’s also another question business leaders should be asking: ‘could our processes be putting our guests at risk, too?’.
In many cases, the answer is ‘yes’.
Here are just a few ways weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your operation could impact your guests:
1. You could be exposing sensitive guest data
Every hospitality business will hold sensitive information about their guests, from names and contact details to personal preferences and payment data. And right now, more information is being collected, analysed, utilised, and stored than ever before. Any vulnerabilities in your network – or your processes – can allow for criminals to gain access to this data. This could result in your guests’ personal information being sold, along with identity theft and potentially significant financial losses.
2. You could be instilling a false sense of security in your guests
If you offer WiFi, your guests may choose to connect to it using their laptops, mobile phones, tablets, or other connected devices. And if you’re a respected brand, they probably don’t give a second thought to doing so. But what happens if hackers are able to gain access to your WiFi network? Cyber criminals may monitor and track user browsing behaviours across your network, redirecting guests to fake login pages. These can trick them into sharing information such as passwords and credit card details.
3. You could be putting the guest experience at risk
While a poor guest experience isn’t quite as catastrophic – from the guest perspective – as stolen credit card data, it can still have a huge impact. So, consider all the ways that you rely on your network for guest satisfaction. Maybe you store information regarding room or dining preferences. Perhaps you’re beginning to use IoT to create ‘smart stays’. How would the guest experience be affected if your data was stolen, or if your IoT appliances suddenly couldn’t talk to each other?
Of course, staying safe when travelling or dining out isn’t exclusively the role of the business. Guests should always strive to protect themselves, ensuring they’re careful about what information they share and who they share it with, and understanding the early signs of a compromised device.
However, as we all know, in hospitality settings much of the digital infrastructure is not visible to the average guest. They can’t see how your network is set up. They can’t see whether you’re using best practices. So there’s only so much that they can do to reduce their risk. The rest is up to businesses themselves. And at Reliable Networks, we’re here to help you protect your guests. Always.