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Article by Graeme
Posted on 31 December 2018
The most recent statistics from the ONS show that 3.2 million overseas tourist visited Scotland in 2017. Overall business travellers from the EU also increased. Research from Visit Scotland shows that the Millennial market generated 18 million nights in 2015.
Whichever way you look at it this suggests a huge number of people staying in hotels, B&Bs etc. almost all of whom are carrying at least one device (and probably more) that they will want to connect to the internet.
The problem this highlights is that hotel industry is one of the top sectors to suffer data breaches. For cyber criminals are a target as huge amounts of information can be held by hotels about their guests: name, address, passport details, car registration plates and credit card details to name but a few.
Once they have checked in, guests then connect to the WiFi network and are required to enter personal details. Where does this data get collected? Most Guest WiFi access has software that sits behind the access points and stores all this information. The repercussions, if a cybercriminal gains access to the backend, can be potentially catastrophic to an individual – and to the hotel.
With GDPR in force now, the hospitality sector must be sure to have this at the forefront of their minds. A boutique hotel potentially would not survive a fine should a breach occur.
So, what can hotels, big and small, do to protect their guests and themselves from the unpleasant attentions of hackers and cybercriminals?
The responsibilities for hotels have increased significantly with the introduction of GDPR. Not only is there an ethical and social responsibility for you to protect data, there are also legal requirements. Of course, if done properly, the marketing benefits for the hotel are significant; guests who are confident that you are looking after their data, and providing a secure network experience with robust WiFi access, will return regularly.
Follow the suggestions above and hotels in Scotland can demonstrate they are looking after their guests in every way. It may mean future figures for tourist and business visitors bookings are even higher in years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk
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