The hospitality industry has an enormous amount of customer data being transferred around. Starting with the name and phone number used to confirm your reservation, to the credit card given at the end of your meal, your personal information has the potential to be compromised unless proper security practices are followed. Therefore, the need to lock down this information for the sake of your customers should be in the forefront of all security measures. As someone who handles any type of personal information, it must in ingrained from the start to keep this data secure. Having the appropriate tools in place to mitigate major risk factors is a start but the culture of security needs to begin with every employee from day one. Especially in those industries that tend to have high employee turnover rates, security practices must be instilled as soon as those employees step through the door.
We spoke with people in the hospitality industry about their security practices and found some troubling examples of lax security. Credit card information, in particular, was not properly secured. We heard of customers emailing credit card numbers and of sales staff writing credit card numbers on pieces of paper – hardly best practices in securing this information. The most troubling find, however, was that many in the hospitality industry have lax security simply because they believe they are not targets of hackers. Unfortunately, this is not correct. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “In 2015, nearly half of cyberattacks worldwide were against small businesses with fewer than 250 workers.” When you think of all the times you hand off your credit card or give out your email address at the register, you should be concerned that you are placing a giant target on your back that makes it easier for cybercriminals to access your data.