ManageEngine, HelpAG talk hotel security

Securing the public network is one of the key challenges facing the hotel industry, which has recently come under a series of attacks.

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ManageEngine, HelpAG talk hotel  security Nicolai Solling, director of Technology services at HelpAG
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By  Georgina Enzer Published  May 26, 2013

Nicolai Solling, director of Technology services at HelpAG
How does a hotel allow guests to use its network while keeping its data safe?
From the perspective of the user of a hotel network you should not expect the hotel to do anything to keep your communication or traffic flows safe. Hospitality networks are often completely uncontrolled and all users in the network are able to communicate to each other.

From the consumer perspective it is important that you take the same precautions when using a hospitality network as when working directly on an internet connection. From the perspective of the hotel the most important thing is to keep the hospitality network and corporate network very separated, maybe even down to different physical infrastructures. The reason for this separation is that the services running on the corporate network such a IPTV, VoIP, Booking systems and payment terminals has become a very criticial part of how the hotel is operated. Hotels have the requirements to store data about their clients such as name, addresses, passport number as well as also payment information.

What are the biggest threats to hotel networks?

From the perspective of the consumer it is to deliver services to the consumer in-line with the reputation of the hotel. If I check into a five star hotel I am of course also expecting a five star internet connection. The same could be said about IPTV and in-room telephony systems, which are now mostly based on IP. If these services are not working well it will impact how I think about the services I receive.

As a good example; I recently stayed in a brand new hotel in Qatar – five star and really good quality. I only experienced one issue, which was that their IPTV cut out every 20 minutes and I had to restart the television, needless to say not a five star experience.

Another big threat to hotels is that users can connect to the network and utilise the connection in ways that could be conflicting with local or international jurisdiction, as an example, the download of pirated movies.

Are hotels more or less difficult to secure than a similar sized business?
I would not say that hotels are more difficult to secure as their data and risk domains is exactly like any other organisations, however hotels do have specific requirements.In general we have the technology to solve the issues within the field of hospitality from storage of payment card information to logging what users are doing, but I quite often see that these things are not being deployed by the hotels as it could become expensive, therefore the hotels ignore the risk instead of doing something proactive about it. Hotels are in the services industry and do not necessarily have in-house technologists.

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