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With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.

A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.



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Windows XP Users Update or You Could Fail Your Next PCI Assessment

02/14/2014
by J. David Oder

Typically my messages and insights shared in Hospitality Upgrade revolve around security and ways to simplify PCI compliance. After all, I consider myself first and foremost a merchant advocate. This message is a little different; it’s more of a heads-up on a little-known PCI regulation that could cause you major problems in the near future.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft’s extended support for Windows XP will cease. This could be a problem for many hoteliers because requirement 6.2 of the PCI Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) tells us to “ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches.” Once Microsoft ends their extended support, they’ll stop supplying security patches, which means properties still running Windows XP will be immediately out of compliance with PCI.

How Your OS Affects Compliance
The PCI Security Standards Council’s position on this subject is that if a vendor, in this case Microsoft, no longer supports a system component by issuing security patches, merchants running that component in their card data environment cannot check “In Place” on their next Self-Assessment Questionnaire. In case you weren’t aware, in order to be PCI-DSS compliant, all in-scope requirements must be checked “In Place.”

If you are running an unsupported OS, and it is accessible from the Internet, you will receive an automatic PCI failure on your next authorized scanning vendor (ASV) vulnerability scan and will immediately be deemed non-compliant with the PCI-DSS. The ASVs are required to automatically fail a scan upon detecting an unsupported OS.

What Should You Do?
If you will be affected by the Microsoft sunset event for Windows XP, then you should immediately consult with your merchant services provider (MSP) or merchant bank and your ISA or QSA so they are aware and can provide guidance. If you already have a plan to upgrade, then congrats – you’re ahead of the game. 

If you don’t have a plan or a budget allocation to upgrade to a supported OS, you have one other option – use Compensating Controls (see PCI-DSS Appendices B & C). This method is neither simple nor inexpensive, so I would certainly not recommend it, but for some it may be a necessity. Your particular situation should be discussed with your MSP/merchant bank and your ISA or QSA to determine your best course of action.

Update From IE8, While You’re at It
While we’re on the subject of updates, you should also make a point to move away from Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). Many websites have already begun to cease support for their sites on this outdated version. If you’re currently using IE8, you might have already received an annoying pop-up screen informing you of this when trying to access certain sites. Microsoft’s support of IE8 is scheduled to end when they terminate mainstream support for Windows 7 (Service Pack 1) on January 13, 2015. While extended support for IE8 will be offered, the cost for this support will be considerable and you will be missing out on new functionality, as well as the latest security enhancements.

Internet Explorer versions 9, 10, and 11 will continue to be supported by Microsoft after this date, so they are all valid alternatives (as are current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and a host of others), so  reach out to your IT department/contact for advice before updating your browser.

PCI can be a pain in the neck; we all know that. I would hate to see any of my friends in the industry lose their hard-earned (and expensive) stamp of compliance over a simple browser update. So get on it and may your updating process be a smooth and successful one.

About The Author
J. David Oder
President and CEO
Shift4 Corporation


J. David (Dave) Oder is the President/CEO of Shift4 Corporation. Dave is a hands-on manager who enjoys jumping into projects alongside his technical staff. An accomplished businessman, Dave has more than 35 years' experience in software development and accounting, spent mainly on overseeing software companies. Prior to founding Shift4, he was CEO of the Aerus Corporation, a pioneer of business accounting software, and owner of a successful consulting firm. Dave earned his Bachelor's degree in Business/Accounting and Master's degree in Computer Science as well as an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles.

 
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