Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 03 Dec 12
4765 views


Marc Bown

Top 5 hurdles in Singapore's hospitality industry

BY MARC BOWN

Tourism, especially the hotel industry, is an important contributor to Singapore’s economy and continues to enjoy buoyant growth in 2012, despite the slowing of the overall economy.

Total international visitor arrivals for Q1 2012 stood at close to 3.6 million, representing 15 per cent year-on-year growth. As one of the top five convention cities in the world and Asia’s top convention city for the tenth consecutive year according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Singapore is an attractive destination for international conferences for many reasons, including the city’s overall safety and security.

However, key players in this industry know the value of being vigilant against not only crimes and terrorism, but also cybercriminals.

Trustwave’s 2012 Global Security Report shows that the food and beverage, retail, and hospitality industries accounted for more than 85 per cent of all data breach investigations.

These three industries have at least one thing in common: they process credit card payments. Approximately 90 per cent of APAC investigations resulted from credit card data compromises as organised crime groups continue to target these industries, due to their well-known payment-system vulnerabilities and poor security practices.

The biggest technology issue faced by the hospitality industry today is compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Based on our extensive research, hospitality businesses face five common challenges when it comes to PCI DSS compliance.

Broad Attack Surface Found in the Network Environments and Ecosystems

Hotel properties host a plethora of systems including reservations, accounting, sales, food services, etc. In addition, hotels are also an amalgamation of retail merchant operations across food and beverage, retail, and traditional hospitality services.

All these departments, with their high credit card transaction volume, present a large opportunity for hackers to enter the business environment and gain profit by stealing the credit card data.

The attack surface is further broadened when a hacker discovers targets on the network that use shared resources, exploits weak passwords and shared credentials used to access systems and applications, and leverages direct connections through insecure remote-access services, applications or ports left open by the firewall.

Lack of IT Security Support

To stay competitive, fast-growing franchised and corporate-owned hospitality business often open new locations quickly, focusing on expanding their business as soon as possible – with IT security support often becoming an afterthought. “Boots on the ground” IT security support is frequently lacking or non-existent in distributed, decentralised hospitality and retail businesses.

Lack of Information Security Awareness

Employees are often the weakest link in the data security chain. Of the hundreds of security incident investigations we performed in 2011, 87 per cent of companies that experienced a data breach did not have security policies in place and only 32 per cent of employees said they had received education on their organisation’s security policies.

This issue is even more critical in the hospitality and retail industries, where staff turnover rate is relatively high. As a result, providing a consistent education on security best practices and encouraging knowledge transfer are often difficult to achieve.

Complex IT Environments

In hotel properties, complexity occurs as the result of accommodating many disparate systems that need to co-exist and interact with each other, such as: central reservation systems; point-of-sale (POS) systems; platforms for finance, sales, guest services and catering; and physical security elements (e.g., surveillance, key cards) that tie into the data network.

This can result in tens or hundreds of devices sitting on the data network at individual properties. Even worse, each system may be in scope for PCI DSS, increasing the complexity of the compliance validation process.

No Network Segmentation

The lack of network segmentation amongst individual operators’ networks is another one of the greatest challenges. Computing and data networks are often flat between corporate and individual operations with minimal safeguards in between.

This situation enables cybercriminals to “jump” between specific locations and move around the network searching for credit card and other sensitive data to exfiltrate.

Conclusion
Businesses in the hospitality industry should assess their environment to determine how networks are configured and what system assets and data fall under the CPI risk profile. By segmenting some system assets and decommissioning old systems, PCI scope may be reduced.

Operators need to take an inventory of system assets and applications to determine risks and build security and compliance into their regular business processes.

In addition, management needs to determine who is responsible for compliance efforts, policies and procedures to bring together standardisation, consistency and day-to-day management for best-practice compliance.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

Marc Bown

Marc Bown

Marc is the SpiderLabs Managing Consultant for Trustwave in the Asia-Pacific region. Trustwave’s SpiderLabs team is responsible for the delivery of Penetration Testing, Application Security and Incident Response Services.

Contact Information



Sign up for our newsletter

 

Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.

Click here to learn about advertising, content sponsorship, events & rountables, custom media solutions, whitepaper writing, sales leads or eDM opportunities with us.

To get a media kit and information on advertising or sponsoring click here.

Tags: Marc Bown, Singapore's economy, Singapore visitor arrivals 2012, tourism in Singapore,

LATEST HR & EDUCATION JOBS »
  • No jobs posted on this category.
PRINT ISSUE »

Subscribe Now
Singapore singled out in Asia for weak M&A appetite

132 views

Is the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail project still on the right track?

286 views

The changing taste of Asian art collectors bodes well for the Western art market

21 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

The 10 richest Singaporeans

The 10 richest Singaporeans

Altogether, their total amount of wealth dropped by 20% to US$32.5 billion.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
13 Apr 2015 | 126385 views
 

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn't miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn\'t miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

The GSS begins today.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
29 May 2015 | 26647 views

Check out P&G Singapore’s new office with outdoor working spaces

Check out P&G Singapore’s new office with outdoor working spaces

It occupies 6 contiguous floors within The Metropolis.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
30 Apr 2015 | 23925 views
 

This retired banker's fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

This retired banker\'s fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

Mesitis provides low-cost aggregated wealth reporting for all investors.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
25 May 2015 | 8140 views

All the single ladies: Here’s Singapore’s first female-centric dating app for you

All the single ladies: Here’s Singapore’s first female-centric dating app for you

Its female-friendly features help women find serious daters.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
20 Apr 2015 | 7038 views
 

Get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind the novice 3E Accounting

Get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind the novice 3E Accounting

This local accounting firm expanded from 2 to 35 members in just 4 years.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
24 Apr 2015 | 6272 views

Take a sneak peek at Equinix’s $300m international business exchange data centre in Singapore

Take a sneak peek at Equinix’s $300m international business exchange data centre in Singapore

Which took almost a decade to finish.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Apr 2015 | 4806 views
 

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

It has private offices, an events space, and even a beer garden.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 May 2015 | 4294 views

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Its VP talks about the importance of the company’s culture in line with opening the new space.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
18 Jun 2015 | 2227 views
 

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Meeting rooms are named after Asian tourist spots.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
5 Jun 2015 | 2171 views

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Find out how they are building the next generation of web communications.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
2 Jun 2015 | 2004 views
 

Le Petit Paradis recently rebranded as Enoch’s European

Le Petit Paradis recently rebranded as Enoch’s European

It’s a full-fledged contemporary European restaurant blossomed from a motorcycle accident.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
22 Apr 2015 | 1864 views

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

It is the first major investment by a Chinese aerospace firm.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
13 May 2015 | 1651 views
 

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

See how a former legal professional pursued his passion for food.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
26 May 2015 | 1286 views

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

‘Mums & Maids’ generated 5 million views in 5 days.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
7 May 2015 | 1270 views
 

Fragrance Du Bois to launch a new scent this year

Fragrance Du Bois to launch a new scent this year

Also, check out its pop-up boutique at TANGS Orchard open until April 26.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
17 Apr 2015 | 1137 views

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Shopping for the first child is always challenging for the parents.

by STAFF REPORTER
15 May 2015 | 1111 views
 

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

And Sugar helps SMEs in the process too.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
2 Jun 2015 | 1101 views

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

Find technicians, babysitters and more with Page Advisor.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
8 Jun 2015 | 1027 views
 

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Industry experts share their concerns over security and testing standards.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
4 Jun 2015 | 912 views

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Alpha7 wants SMEs to join the Cloud.

by STAFF REPORTER
16 Jun 2015 | 910 views
 

Megafash sets the stage for local entrepreneurs to introduce indie brands

Megafash sets the stage for local entrepreneurs to introduce indie brands

It plans to expand in Malaysia and Indonesia.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
20 Apr 2015 | 880 views

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Rediscover and fall in love with your city all over again.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
22 May 2015 | 813 views
 

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Sendhelper is the new breed of booking apps.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
26 May 2015 | 782 views

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Book a reliable cleaner in seconds with Helpling.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 Jun 2015 | 586 views
 
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter