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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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What Is the Secret to Secret Passwords?

06/11/2014
by Ryan Ward
Sadly, according to last year’s Data Breach Investigation Report, the hospitality industry grabbed the top spot for the most data breaches in both 2011 and 2012. Released in April, the results for 2013 show the same ranking. The industry snapshots, aimed at helping organizations understand the anatomy of a data breach and how to best provide protection, offered an in-depth view of the financial services, health care, retail and hospitality sectors. Ranking behind the retail industry is, in my opinion, embarrassing.
   It was interesting that 76 percent of all industry breaches were based on weak or stolen password credentials. That’s why in the Summer 2014 issue of Hospitality Upgrade ("Tips for Password Security That Actually Work") you’ll learn some valuable tips on how to establish a corporate password management program that really works.
 
   The article covers the problems and solutions around the use and misuse of multiple passwords; how to compose hard-to-guess passwords; the importance of non-Latin passwords; changing and reusing passwords; the art and science of keeping passwords secret; intruder detection and lockout; synchronizing passwords and the latest in single sign-on; user authentication; and IT support for forgotten and locked out passwords.
 
   A strong password management program also should include the ability to shut down passwords when people leave. Over half of the insiders committing sabotage (think Edward Snowden in a waiter’s outfit) were former employees taking advantage of old accounts that were never closed.
 
One portion of the upcoming article on “Tips for Password Security That Actually Work” provides insight into the 25 worst passwords of 2013 courtesy of Splashdata, who measures them. Last year, “123456” dethroned “password” as the No. 1 password in use. My personal favorites were “iloveyou” (ranked 9th); “letmein” (very clever and ranked No. 14); “photoshop” (ranked No. 15, thank you Adobe); “monkey” (which dropped dramatically from No. 6 to No. 17—but is so random I question why it made the list in the first place); and my personal favorite “princess” (coming in at No. 22. That one might have ranked higher but I made my daughter stop using it…).
 
Read the article, “Tips for Password Security That Actually Work,” in the upcoming Summer issue of Hospitality Upgrade, due out June 18.
 

Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report 2013

  • 76% of network intrusions exploited weak or stolen credentials
  • Over 50% of the insiders committing sabotage were former employees taking advantage of old accounts.
  • Unapproved hardware (such as handheld card skimmers and personal storage devices) accounts for 41% of the cases of misuse in the report.
  • It wasn’t IT-savvy developers and administrators that were responsible for
    most data breaches, but customer service staff (like cashiers and call center
    employees) and end users. 
  • Administrators came third, but in 60% of the cases, their involvement was accidental. 47% came from customer service (call centers and cashiers)
 Hospitality and Foodservices
  • This industry has been particularly vulnerable to data breaches, and for the past two years has had more breaches than any other industry. This remains true for 2013.
  • The POS systems, which are needed to process payment transactions, have proven to be easy targets for organized criminal groups.
  • This industry, more so than any other, should emphasize preventive actions.
 
 
About The Author
Ryan Ward
Chief Security Officer
Avatier Corporation


 
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