The latest business hit hard by a major security breach hails from the hotels industry: Mandarin Oriental. The hotel chain suffers from an issue common to hotels and data security. From the time when a card is swiped and the payment processing is under-way, the customer’s information becomes vulnerable due to outdated payment hardware and payment gateways. Now, more than ever, it’s important for businesses with hotel merchant accounts to protect themselves and their customers.
Hotels have a potentially difficult problem with data security due to the simple fact that they are always accepting payments. With a rapid turnover and high volume transactions, hotels are vulnerable. Once a crack is found in the payment processing chain in a hotel, a small breach can become a major problem fast. The Mandarin Oriental breach was targeted at the encryption technology which has become woefully outdated for most businesses in the hotels and hospitality industry.
Yet, despite this vulnerability, many hotels don’t treat data security during payment processing as a major aspect of conducting business. For more than a year the number of high profile breaches has been alarming, but if we look a layer deeper the number of attacks has been increasing at a staggering rate since 2009.
The major credit card companies, Visa and MasterCard, are working hand-in-hand with the payments processing industry to lead a push to modernize the point-of-sale technology and payment gateways. The old swipe technology is clearly outdated and in need of newer replacements such as tokenization. For hotels especially, modernizing and paying active attention to present dangers is vital for day-to-day operations.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain’s breach is that it was any surprise at all. Major hotel chains, and even local hotel franchises, need to be aware of the danger and take preventative steps. It’s no use trying to react after an attack occurs as by then it’s too late. If nothing else, all businesses in the hotel industry have been put on alert. Take the steps now to meet security compliance and plan on updating your payment gateway technology as soon as it’s made available.