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Definitely Doug 10/18/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Sustainable Innovation
 
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Definitely Doug 12/6/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Meetings Innovation
 
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money

Tracking the evolution of key performance indicators (KPIs) over time allows hoteliers to identify meaningful trends, create forecasts and budgets and assess the results of different strategies. To perform this kind of analysis, data has to be recorded within consistent time intervals and in chronological order. This is known as a time series.

Definitely Doug 11/15/19
Posted: 11/15/2019

Every time I turn around these days, I see a new vendor or product promising something called a complete Guest Experience Management, Guest Journey Management, or Guest Engagement (or some variation on those words). This week I looked at some of the emerging products claiming to be in this space, both to try to better understand it, and to see what promising ideas it may hold.



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POODLE: A Major Threat or Call to Action?

10/23/2014
by David Durko

In the fast paced world of information security it seems that exploits outpace the fix resulting in the compromise of sensitive data. Security has always been a reactive discipline but maybe that is changing.  

In the case of POODLE, the latest in a list of highly publicized vulnerabilities the exploit appears to have been identified and corrective actions published before any significant damage could be wreaked. 

Identified and reported by Google researchers, POODLE affects the Secure Socket Layer (SSLv3) protocol and if exploited could allow information transmitted between computers and servers to be intercepted in an unencrypted form. Currently it seems that POODLE is not as serious as the Heartbleed bug, since an attacker needs to have a privileged position in the network to exploit POODLE. This type of attack falls into the man-in-the-middle category. Man-in-the-middle means that an individual needs to insert themselves between the computer and server in order to capture data. In other words the intruder would need to compromise your computer network before they could effectively take advantage of POODLE.

So what does this means for the hospitality industry? The challenge is that most brand booking sites are configured to meet the lowest common denominator in terms of security. This is done to accommodate the large permutation of users from around the world who use any number of web browsers with any number of security configurations and helps prevent users from being technically excluded from using the sites. The challenge this presents is that this also creates the greatest number of holes in the architecture and elevates the risk of using brand websites. We work very closely with many of the major brands and have it on good authority that they are already testing an appropriate fix. They assure us that they have the necessary controls in place to mitigate risks to the consumer. So that speaks to the larger global brands but what about the smaller regional chains and independent properties? These properties may lack in-house expertise or guidance to help assess and remediate vulnerabilities. So for these properties the biggest risk is in their inability to identify the technical challenges, lack of security surrounding their wireless infrastructure and the time it takes them to identify and patch key systems. Historically smaller organizations have been slow in identifying vulnerabilities, have no knowledge of how to secure wireless networks and have been even slower in remediating vulnerabilities.

What Businesses Need to Do

In order to mitigate risk of this bug or any vulnerability there are a few courses of action:

  1. Check to see if your web servers are vulnerable – there are a number of free tools available to audit your systems
  2. Use tools that support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV, a mechanism that prevents attackers from forcing Web browsers to use SSL 3.0 – this will require verification of application compatibility
  3. Disable SSL 3.0 altogether, or disable SSL 3.0 CBC-mode ciphers – verification of compatibility
  4. Set your computer browser to only use TLS instead of SSLv3.0
  5. Patch systems when vendor security fixes are released.
  6. Regularly scan your Internet facing and internal systems for vulnerabilities.
  7. Run current anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall software.
  8. Change passwords frequently and do not use shared accounts.
  9. Follow the PCI Security Standards for Security Best Practices.
About The Author
David Durko
CEO
Security Validation, LLC


David Durko is the CEO and chief compliance officer for Security Validation’ Data Security Advisory Practice. Security Validation provides PCI and GDPR Assessment Services along with Virtual Data Privacy Officer services from its offices in the U.S. and U.K.

 
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