The Current and Future State of Payment Security - Are You Protected?

Oct 04, 2017

Whether booking online, ordering poolside, table-side or at the tee, newer technology enables guests to buy things from virtually anywhere. This increasing flexibility intensifies the risks associated with data breaches, fraudulent transactions, and brings new rules for merchant liabilities.

How do we continue to provide such flexible guest service without putting hospitality operations at risk?

It’s no secret the payments ecosystem is vulnerable. In the wake of numerous significant data breaches and other exploits the ecosystem’s vulnerabilities, the industry is keenly focused on implementing more safeguards.

Software-based encryption is nice to have, but it won’t provide enough security to keep hackers at bay. Only PCI-validated point-to-point encrypted (P2PE) technology protects card data at the point of transaction, before it enters the merchant’s network. This adds significantly more security during the most critical leg of the transaction life-cycle. Encryption technology and tokenization are projected to expand, to help keep credit card data secure from hackers. The combination of strong end-to-end encryption hardware and tokenization, which replaces the cards’ 16-digit account numbers with token values, provides operators optimal protection. This removes the data that hackers are after, and essentially removes your operation from breach vulnerabilities.

An important component of payment security, EMV technology is expected to increase in demand as more U.S. operators are incorporating EMV-capable solutions for their businesses. Many merchants had the mindset that EMV would protect them from fraud at the payment terminal, but this is a big misconception. While EMV authenticates the card and cardholders, the card data remains unencrypted. Even with EMV in place, hackers can still access a point of sale system, install malware, and steal card data. To prevent this, operators can ensure they have a good malware and antivirus protection software that’s updated regularly and runs regular scans. Equally important, operators should keep their operating systems and all business software as current as possible.

As more flexible, mobile payment offerings continue to expand, enabling operators to provide guest service virtually anywhere on property, security solutions will also progress and become smarter and more robust through 2018. Operators should focus on taking the necessary steps to protect their businesses.

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