Hoteliers need to make sure their IT staff is well-educated to maintain the infrastructure security and are able to detect attacks, said Agnes DeFranco, professor at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College. “Educate the other employees on how to maintain the integrity of the networks,” she said.
Hoteliers should work with a vendor who can provide equipment and offer client isolation, peer-to-peer blocking and firewall protection throughout the network, DeFranco continued. Hoteliers should also comply with all the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard recommendations and create policies that regulate the connectivity of devices to networks.
Hoteliers need to recognize hackers' preferred ways to access systems, said Greg Grant, senior director for Phoenix Managed Networks. Properties need to understand what people are using the Wi-Fi for—it’s just a good security practice. “All payment information needs to be separate from the general internet traffic,” he said. “Keeping sensitive Wi-Fi traffic from all other traffic is very important.”
All access points should be locked down. Using a security firm service can help with that. Being vigilant about turning over passwords or resetting them is important.
Tips for guests
Hotels can also educate guests and provide them with tips to be safe internet users, said Cristian Morosan, assistant professor at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College, such as:
Avoid risky behaviors online. Be suspicious of any IT-related activity that is unusual, such as requests for personal and payment information.
Use a virtual private network to avoid attacks because a VPN allows one to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet.
Make sure the firewall is on and file sharing is off.
Use a strong password.
When conducting e-commerce transactions, make sure this is done via a secure connection. Avoid using debit cards. Credit cards are less risky.