July 15, 2009 - Mumbai.
The Internet is an incredible tool that enables us to communicate with individuals from across the globe, research all sort of information and even shop. In the past few years, booking hotel accommodation online has become popular due to the internet’s convenience i.e. it is an extremely effective way to search for hotel accommodation, compare packages and rates of different hotels and finally, to actually book hotel accommodation. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. If the internet expanded the hotel’s market reach to include global travelers then hackers (criminals) can damage your earning potential and hotel reputation by using the internet to gain unauthorized access to your computer and commiting fraud.
As an hotelier with a hotel website, you accept reservations and collect payments directly online, and the continuity of your business depends upon your ability to keep your guest’s personal and credit card information safe. To prevent hackers from breaking into your computer systems, you need to install a firewall, ensure sensitive information is encrypted and maintain proper security (restrict access with passwords) in the office. You can achieve this by taking the following steps:
- Data Encryption: Use Secure Sockets Layer certifications to secure your guest’s information. A SSL certificate encrypts personal data and lessens the risk of having your private data intercepted by third parties. This will help reassure guests of the safety of their credit card information.
- Firewalls: Credit card details can be safely sent with SSL, but once stored on the server they are vulnerable to outsiders hacking into the server and accompanying network. A firewall (software or hardware) can protect the server and network from attack by viruses and hackers. So, in addition to signing up for a SSL certification, you need to install a firewall to secure all data stored on your server.
- Security Protocols: Implement security protocols such as MasterCard Secure Code and Verified by Visa to provide stronger identification for online payments and enhance security for card transactions over the internet.
- PCI Compliance: The latest security measure is Payment Card Industry Data Security Compliance Certification. By implementing PCI DSS version 1.1, set of comprehensive requirements, you enhance the payment account data security.
To summarize, hackers are a threat to business and you need to take appropriate steps to prevent hackers ruining your hotel’s brand name and image. By implementing the steps listed above, you can prevent your business from becoming a target of hackers.