Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 03 Dec 12
4930 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,

CO-WRITTEN ARTICLES & SPONSOR CONTENT ››

Find out what makes Uzbekistan an ideal country for foreign investments.
55 views

Find out more about the newly enhanced AIA Retirement Saver (II) launched by AIA Singapore.
49 views

An EASB education is the perfect fit for postgrad-seeking professionals.
64 views

Here’s why this firm is making big waves in Singapore’s crowded financial landscape.
241 views

Instaforex offers clients a real informative hub containing a great deal of information such as news updates, surveys, and exclusive analytical reviews.
34 views

Offering flexibility, innovation, and utmost quality, Kaplan postgraduate education satisfies the professional’s every need.
68 views

Millennium Hotels and Resorts balances acquisitions and managing franchises.
68 views

With a unique tri-city model in Singapore, Dubai and Sydney, the school is reinventing business education to craft business leaders of the 21st century.
65 views

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

Subscribe Now
Survival of the fittest in Singapore’s franchising scene

51 views

Singapore’s IPO market falters as Hong Kong’s soars

26 views

Singapore’s “mid-life crisis”

113 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

Bosch’s cutting-edge regional HQ is one of the greenest buildings you’ll find in Singapore

Bosch’s cutting-edge regional HQ is one of the greenest buildings you’ll find in Singapore

It boasts an automated sun-shading system.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
7 Jul 2015 | 15106 views
 

Husband and wife duo ditch plum banking jobs to shake up Singapore’s HR scene

Husband and wife duo ditch plum banking jobs to shake up Singapore’s HR scene

This small start-up has global dreams.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
8 Jul 2015 | 9822 views

Cocoa Colony to open 12 more outlets in Singapore by end-2015

Cocoa Colony to open 12 more outlets in Singapore by end-2015

The cafe chain seeks to target the masses.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
21 Jul 2015 | 9069 views
 

10 smart ways to spend your GST Vouchers

10 smart ways to spend your GST Vouchers

Regardless of how much you spend, aim to spend it well.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
8 Jul 2015 | 8680 views

Garena’s new office is so awesome that it will make you ask if that’s even a place for work

Garena’s new office is so awesome that it will make you ask if that’s even a place for work

Check out photos of their massage room, sleeping pods and an entertainment corner.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
28 Aug 2015 | 7223 views
 

TAIGER’s office bids goodbye to claustrophobia-inducing cubicles

TAIGER’s office bids goodbye to claustrophobia-inducing cubicles

Walls and windows function as a big canvas.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
15 Jul 2015 | 4898 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 | 3417 views
 

Experience a different form of Thai casual dining at Gin Khao

Experience a different form of Thai casual dining at Gin Khao

The man behind the Jus Delish Group opens its flagship outlet at East Coast Parkway.

by STAFF REPORTER
19 Aug 2015 | 2915 views

Singapore’s first dedicated F&B development to open in East Coast Road

Singapore’s first dedicated F&B development to open in East Coast Road

Katong Square plans to open at the end of the year.

by STAFF REPORTER
31 Jul 2015 | 2727 views
 

Former college dropout built his own company and made $2million in just 2 years

Former college dropout built his own company and made $2million in just 2 years

He developed a hiring software for jobless women and youth.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
20 Aug 2015 | 2412 views

CtrlShift’s new office exudes a ‘wow-effect’ without being too grand

CtrlShift’s new office exudes a ‘wow-effect’ without being too grand

Paying attention to small details paid off.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
29 Jul 2015 | 2343 views
 

Grant Thornton aims to grow staff to 200-300 people in Singapore

Grant Thornton aims to grow staff to 200-300 people in Singapore

Here’s what it will do differently compared to the Big Four.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
29 Jul 2015 | 1716 views

The wait is over: American Eagle Outfitters opens flagship store in VivoCity

The wait is over: American Eagle Outfitters opens flagship store in VivoCity

Shop until you drop with its wide selection of denim washed jeans.

by STAFF REPORTER
19 Aug 2015 | 1661 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 | 1650 views

Could this site be your new financial buddy?

Could this site be your new financial buddy?

It allows users to look for financial services based on their pre-calculated profile.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
30 Jul 2015 | 1548 views
 

PwC Singapore launches its first Investment Fund Centre in Asia

PwC Singapore launches its first Investment Fund Centre in Asia

Expanding its presence in the asset management sector across Asian region.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
29 Jun 2015 | 1400 views

How do you like getting cash rebates when shopping online?

How do you like getting cash rebates when shopping online?

ShopBack introduces this concept in Southeast Asia.

by STAFF REPORTER
21 Jul 2015 | 1399 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 | 1370 views

Out with the old, in with the new: Arcc Offices refurbished its first serviced office in Singapore

Out with the old, in with the new: Arcc Offices refurbished its first serviced office in Singapore

It is designed with break out spaces that are ideal for a collaborative working environment.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
17 Aug 2015 | 1350 views
 

Here are the new stores you have to check out the next time you visit Paragon

Here are the new stores you have to check out the next time you visit Paragon

COLE HAAN, Dulcet & Studio and BREAD & BUTTER are some stores you shouldn’t miss.

by STAFF REPORTER
27 Aug 2015 | 1329 views

One app, thousands of credit card deals right at your fingertips

One app, thousands of credit card deals right at your fingertips

This all-in-one app is the natural extension of the founders' personal finance comparison website.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
27 Aug 2015 | 1301 views
 

WeInvest.net simplifies exploration of available investment opportunities

WeInvest.net simplifies exploration of available investment opportunities

It claims to be the world’s first platform allowing investors to take a peek into the restricted funds.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
7 Aug 2015 | 1108 views

Almac Group boosts APAC foothold, unveils first clinical packaging facility

Almac Group boosts APAC foothold, unveils first clinical packaging facility

It’s the first to complete the Health Sciences Authority inspection.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
5 Aug 2015 | 1105 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 | 1105 views

Why you should never miss premium freebies from Grabz

Why you should never miss premium freebies from Grabz

This app also helps SMEs get noticed in the market.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
21 Aug 2015 | 774 views
 

Asian corporates face tough balancing act as sustainability issues mount

Asian corporates face tough balancing act as sustainability issues mount

Discover the changing face of Asian CSR.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
1 Jul 2015 | 665 views
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter