4 Basic Actions to Protect Hospitality IT

May 02, 2019

A new study from Verizon shows cell phones could leave individuals and businesses vulnerable to hackers. The latest study focuses on the security risks posed by mobile devices to businesses and their degree of preparedness in case of an attack. The study, which surveyed businesses and obtained information about the online threats they experienced, found that in 69% of workplaces the threat to mobile devices increased in the last year.

When asked the question, "Has your organization ever sacrificed the security of mobile devices to complete job tasks?" Almost half (48%) said yes. Fortunately, many businesses are tackling the problem head on. Progress is being made as other respondents stated they are taking actions to protect their businesses. These organizations practice four basic protections, which are:

  1. Encrypting Payment and Other Data
  2. Regular Testing of Security Protocols
  3. Restricting Access to “Need to Know”
  4. Changing Passwords Frequently

One of the biggest threats to mobile device security is malware, and some of the key issues identified by the Verizon report focused on the differences in which users interact with mobile phones when compared to desktops. For instance, on mobile there is no mouse-over functionality to control a URL before clicking, and due the screens being small, it becomes harder to assess the legitimacy of a website. Also, on mobile, as the user scrolls through, the address bar hides to make way for more content. For these reasons, it’s important to conduct routine checks to ensure the apps downloaded by employees on all devices are not compromised.

Other ways businesses can avoid becoming a target include continuously updating mobile operating systems. According to the survey, 57% of Android phones have an operating system with at least two full versions behind the current release. Updated devices are generally better at mitigating malicious acts since platform owners develop extra protections to correct any detected vulnerabilities.

Employee education is also important, especially when it comes to knowing how to identify and avoid untrustworthy apps. Limit employee application downloads from unknown sources. Encourage them to stick to official app stores and read reviews before downloading. Ask employees to check with IT when in doubt. Businesses can also require their employees to use passwords with complex combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.

Implementing these and other lines of defense is often the best practice. Protecting any hospitality business from a potential security breach is an essential part of safeguarding personal guest data and protecting the business’s reputation.

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