Data security is an increasingly critical concern for hoteliers. Until recently, the issue had been bubbling below the surface and wasn’t as often discussed outside IT circles. But a security breach last fall at InterContinental Hotels Group and others in the hotel industry, are thrusting the issue into mainstream hospitality industry consciousness. That issue affected front desk cash registers at about 1,200 hotels, according to USA Today, where malware stole customer debit and credit card data during a three month period in late 2016.

Years ago, security was often only an issue if someone forgot to change a backup tape stored in a back room somewhere within the inner confines of the hotel. Now, hoteliers are realizing they are more accountable than ever for the safety and security of customer data. It’s a major reason more and more hotel owners and operators are switching from a premise-based property management system to a cloud-based Property Management System (PMS).

Here’s why investing in a cloud-based system can be helpful in protecting guest data:

Hotels are a HUGE Target

Right now, lodging is a major target by criminals looking to steal data because many hotels are vulnerable to a cyber-attack, either knowingly or unknowingly. Many premise-based systems may not have adequate security measures in place.

Data Security is not Your Primary Job

Let the professionals handle it for you. After all, they are trained to handle these issues. When data security is managed by someone in-house utilizing a premise-based server, it can be difficult to guard the sanctity of the data full-time. Plus, an accountant or front office manager is typically not adequately trained for this specific responsibility. Simply put; if no one is looking out for intrusions in a local system full-time, the system may be vulnerable. SkyTouch Technology, for example, monitors systems constantly for security and system stability so people at the property level don’t have to.

PCI Compliance is Not Enough

PCI compliance is not about protecting data, it’s fundamentally about protecting the credit card issuer. That may nudge you in the right direction, but it’s not protecting data stored on servers within hotels. There’s a common expectation of data security, and the burden is on the hotel to keep that information secure. A cloud-based PMS, like SkyTouch Hotel OS®, can help secure ID data, eliminating the need to have data onsite, like a copy of someone’s driver’s license.

Protect Your Hotel From Yourself

A cloud-based PMS can save you from yourself, and from an unwitting staff. For example, some hotels use a single log in for employees to access all hotel computer systems. And sometimes passwords can remain unchanged for far too long. With a product such as the SkyTouch Hotel OS®, hoteliers are regularly required to change passwords frequently.

Finally, in the unlikely event there is a security incident, a third-party cloud PMS provider can immediately access records to find out exactly when and where something occurred.

There’s simply too much happening at the property on a daily basis. Let someone else have your back when it comes to data security, so you can focus on what you do best; caring for guests.