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WHAT'S THE BUZZ IN HOSPITALITY?

A Proactive Approach to PMS Cybersecurity

Feb 04,2019

Cybersecurity practices are generally a blend of two approaches: a reactive approach and a proactive approach. A reactive approach involves responding to threats as they occur. Those who believe that trying to anticipate attacks will be too expensive and unnecessarily time-consuming may prefer a ‘wait-and-see’ strategy. A more proactive approach attempts to prevent malicious threats from happening in the first place. Those who choose a proactive approach are attempting to anticipate the potential weaknesses within their systems before they can be exploited, thus reducing potential risk and liability.

Hospitality operators rely on their Property Management Systems (PMS) to facilitate the property’s reservations management, guest-related workflows, administrative tasks and record keeping. As the operational core at most locations, the PMS interfaces with other components such as an online booking, channel manager, Wi-Fi networks and various guest service applications. Proactively securing PMS and integrated technologies, including the proprietary information of the business and personal information of guests, can help reduce risk without extensive costs. This involves creating and maintaining a comprehensive, clear protocol with consistent controls and a logical system of access to sensitive business data. Tasks like firewall maintenance or frequent vulnerability scanning do not take significant investment but can considerably increase overall security. Likewise, regular employee training on topics such as phishing and other common scams may help minimize business risk. Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity should also include departmental accountability given that these threats are pervasive.

The Threat is Real

The Identity Theft Resource Center reported that in 2017 there was a record of 1579 breaches which exposed over 150 million sensitive records. Ransomware, phishing, and other cyber-attacks continue to increase year over year. Investing in cybersecurity is not just a smart move, it is a necessary strategy to help protect the business’s livelihood and reputation.

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