We are coming to the end of the year, when everyone takes a look back and reflects on the past 12 months and tries to determine the trends that will impact the coming year. Many industries are facing a sobering outlook for 2012 and looking to do more with less.

The hospitality sector in particular has struggled with the economic downturn the past few years. Steve Short, president of NetLink Resource Group, says that it is still possible for hospitality executives to achieve their goals by investing in smart IT projects to drive business growth.

By smart, I assume he means that these IT projects should help the company meet business objectives while simultaneously saving the company money. My guess is that many will look to implement cloud solutions that require less management and maintenance.

But specifically, the hospitality sector should focus on investment in projects that secure their sensitive customer data and by extension, their brand reputation. The potential return on investment includes simplified PCI compliance. Technology solutions such as point-to-point encryption and tokenization have been reviewed by the PCI Council, resulting in documents that guide executives on how to properly implement these solutions.

As budgets decrease and focus on ROI increases. making sense of the dollars and cents is more challenging ever. But given the cost of compliance, and the cost of a potential data breach, the hospitality sector should seriously consider and measure the ROI of protecting their data.

To read more from Steve Short and his predictions, check out his blog on HTFP Connect.

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