Data Security in a Global Pandemic Creates New Challenges thumbnail picture
By: Gjermund Damgaard Gjermund Damgaard
  15 Sep 2020
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Data Security in a Global Pandemic Creates New Challenges


The COVID-19 global pandemic has created new attack opportunities and data breach risks that hospitality businesses must now adapt to. With most businesses veering toward safer forms of payment like credit cards and mobile apps, data is flying around faster than ever. This is happening simultaneously with a huge rise in fear from society in general.

Hospitality data breaches in a pandemic create new risks and threats to citizens on a global basis. Hospitality cloud platforms face a potential worst-case scenario in the current climate. One common ploy hackers are using is warning unprepared hotel staff about potential exposure risks that have been reported during their stays, using the pandemic as an excuse to elicit information. Hackers use emotional responses in these situations to take advantage of staff working with unfamiliar tasks and responsibilities.

Hospitality industries, especially bars and restaurants, have had to become data security experts overnight. With little data management training and more technology needed to adapt to new social distance regulations, companies are at risk of incurring legal action if they’re not careful. Many small hospitality businesses around the country don’t normally operate with advanced technology as the bigger chains do. Now, due to COVID, they have no choice but to make safer payment and booking options available to guests and patrons. This poses a problem if they don’t have data security in place. New apps are appearing all the time and businesses need to be able to work with them to keep the limited business available to them coming in.

Having hotel or property management software in place helps these businesses seamlessly adjust to new technology as it is introduced. That means integrating new payment methods with ease. And getting the data security that inevitably comes along with software as well. For businesses inexperienced with technology, such a bold step at this time probably seems daunting. But when you consider how much data security comes with it, you’d have to say it's kind of a no-brainer.

Data security has become a primary consideration across the hospitality industry. A big reason for that is the fact that there are no guaranteed methods for stopping data breaches. A company can only do their research, educate their staff, and implement the security systems that they deem best suited to them. Customizing your implementation of security decreases the chances of compromised data and reduces the amount of data loss in the event of a security breach.

Cybercriminals, hackers, scammers, or any name you’d like to call them, target the hospitality industry more frequently than others. From their perspectives, hospitality is the perfect target. Multiple databases and many devices containing personal information and credit card details make it a treasure trove of opportunity for their survival and financial gain.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a rise in this type of criminal activity. With millions out of work, new culprits with different skill sets are taking to the business of cyber-crime as a means of survival. And despite a huge drop in business during this time, security systems in the hospitality industry are at their most vulnerable.