By Beth McGarrity

For those of us who work in the transaction security business, we know all too well that the hospitality sector is a key target for thieves looking to steal vital customer data.   We write about it on a regular basis on this blog and certainly make note when the hospitality  trade press covers payment security, PCI compliance and the like.

Though every so often, the topic of data security and the hospitality sector bubbles up into the mainstream media, which is good because it raises the issue to a higher level and shines a brighter light on the challenges that faces hoteliers.

The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article about the data security challenges that plague the hospitality sector. In it, they cited a recent study from British insurance firm Willis Group Holdings found data theft insurance claims jumped 58 percent last year.  And, the largest share of attacks – 38 percent – was aimed at hotels, motels, resorts and tour companies.

Laurie Fraser, global markets leisure practice leader for Willis, pointed out in the article that large hotel chains are most vulnerable because hotel management companies fall short in monitoring how data is collected and stored at dozens or even hundreds of properties throughout the world.  She also stated that independent contractors who work for individual hotels could also be the weak link when it comes to exposing hotels to hackers and viruses.

The report from Willis clearly underscores the value of implementing transaction security solutions like encryption and tokenization that fully remove all customer credit card data from a hotel’s IT systems.

Though we may sound like a broken record on this one, these solutions allow hospitality providers to get out of the credit card processing and protection businesses and focus on their core businesses.   In addition, if this Washington Post article is correct about the future economic outlook for the hospitality sector, then hoteliers really need to be focusing on maintaining guest bookings and room rates, as opposed to transaction security.

Comments

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  1. Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA on August 27, 2011 10:59 am

    Interesting – Thanks!

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
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