Data breaches are a significant concern for hoteliers in today’s digital world. With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated and the cost of stolen data rising, it is more important than ever for independent hoteliers to take steps to protect their customers’ personal information.
According to IBM, the global average cost of a data breach in 2022 was around $4.35 million – an amount no business can afford to ignore.
Unfortunately, small and mid-sized hotels often lack the resources to combat these cyber threats effectively. This article will discuss ways independent hoteliers can combat hotel data breaches to provide their guests with a secure experience while avoiding bankruptcy.
Implement strong authentication systems
Implementing secure authentication systems is essential for independent hoteliers looking to keep their guests and property safe. Strong authentication techniques like biometrics, passwords, pins, and tokens allow you to understand better who is entering your property at any given time.
Depending on your system, these authentication measures may also enable you to completely automate keyless entry systems for a seamless experience for your guests. Doing so can also increase guest comfort and satisfaction levels as they don’t need to wait in line or bother having physical keys that could be lost or stolen.
Utilize advanced encryption technologies
Independent hoteliers can use advanced encryption technologies to protect their customers from data breaches. Encryption is a way to keep information safe and secure by turning it into codes that only certain people can read. This means that even if someone tries to access the information, they won’t be able to make sense of it unless they have the right key or code.
Invest in robust firewalls and a comprehensive security system
Independent hoteliers need to invest in strong firewalls and a complete security system. Firewalls are like walls that protect the hotel’s information online. They make it harder for hackers to get into the system and take data. The security system includes:
- Two-step authentication.
- Other safety measures.
This way, independent hoteliers can be sure that their guests’ personal information is safe from data breaches.
According to Mark Pierce, CEO of Colorado LLC Attorney, “Data security is an ever-evolving challenge, and the steps you take to protect yourself will change as technology advances.”
Educate employees on data security best practices
Teaching hoteliers about the importance of data security best practices can be tricky. Still, fortunately, there are several options available to help make things a bit easier for busy independent hoteliers.
Creating an informative and engaging tutorial presentation on data security basics is a straightforward way to educate your staff and provide links today’s employees are used to short bursts of information.
Additionally, consider opening a forum that allows staff members to ask questions and get answers from other employees who might have more experience in certain areas. Providing incentives for learning these data security guidelines is also necessary; some employers have successfully offered monthly mini-contests or awards when specific targets are met you can set these up with various automation tools so staff members would receive them periodically.
“Data security is a continuous process, and hoteliers need to be aware that it’s not just a one-time fix but an ongoing effort,” says Ben Michael, Practicing Lawyer and Founder of Michael & Associates.
Monitor and update software regularly
For independent hoteliers, the importance of regularly monitoring and updating the software that runs your business can’t be overstated. We know it can be time-consuming and tedious, but even a single lapse in care could see you stuck with out-of-date tech costing you big time in wasted resources, customer dissatisfaction, and lost sales.
That’s why it’s so important to have a system in place to track which software versions are running on various devices and ensure they’re all up to date. One way to do this is by setting up automatic updates so that new versions are installed as soon as they become available.
Running periodic checks for security threats is also a good idea – after all, what good are upgraded systems if they’re not adequately protected? Finally, creating a maintenance schedule for your software can help ensure that critical updates aren’t overlooked – from coffee machines and point of sale systems to the guest management system and website – and help make sure your business always runs smoothly.
Implement identity access management strategies
Identity access management is an essential part of technology for independent hoteliers. It not only ensures the control and organization of data, but it can also help improve the security of hotel networks. Implementing identity access management strategies can be complex and challenging, but the benefits far outweigh any inconvenience.
Besides improved security, setting up and utilizing identity access management strategies can provide ease of use, traceability, scalability, and trustworthiness, thus enhancing efficiency across an independent hotel’s infrastructure.
Setting up such systems typically requires setup and implementation from specialized personnel who have experience developing identity access management strategies for businesses like independent hotels. This will allow a hotel to control its data systems by managing user privileges, monitoring who has access to what parts of the system, and limiting other activities that could threaten security or data integrity.
Use secure payment processing solutions for online transactions
Being an independent hotelier can be daunting, especially when navigating safe payment procedures. But with secure payment processing solutions designed specifically for online transactions, independent hoteliers can rest assured that their customers’ information is safely and securely stored.
These solutions are designed to make the booking process smoother and more efficient by preserving the confidentiality of customer data and encrypting confidential credit card information. Not only will guests benefit from safe online transactions, but independent hoteliers will have added peace of mind knowing their payments are safely processed.
Require updated personal information before processing payments
As an independent hotelier, it’s essential to make sure you have the latest and most secure customer information. That includes updated personal data such as their address and payment details. Suppose you don’t require customers to update their personal information every time they pay, so that they can have a great customer experience.
In that case, you risk outdated or inaccurate information being used, leading to processing delays or declined payments. By requiring customers to provide up-to-date personal information for every price processed, you’re ensuring your hotel stays safe, secure, and on the right side of regulations.
According to Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert, “It’s essential for independent hoteliers to take the necessary precautions to protect their data and ensure smooth operations. By following these tips and taking a proactive approach to security, hoteliers can rest assured their business is secure and protected from data breaches.”
Data breaches are becoming an increasingly common problem for independent hoteliers. Still, with the right tools and strategies, it’s possible to protect your business from hackers and other malicious actors.
Implementing identity access management strategies, using secure payment processing solutions for online transactions, and requiring updated personal information all help ensure your data is safe and secure. By following these best practices, independent hoteliers can rest easy knowing their data and customers are well-protected.