Hotel and Restaurant Data Breaches…..

Hotel and Restaurant Data Breaches

With new technology coming out every day, comes new threats.  But with these threats, how prepared is your business?  The hospitality industry, is the most under-prepared for this.

Ransomware, spyware, and data breaches are almost common these days. It’s beginning to be ridiculous.  But where do your weaknesses lie?

Legacy Systems / Hotel and Restaurant Data Breaches

70% or more of hotels, and restaurants are still using Legacy Systems.  Systems like Micros, Aldelo, Dinerware, Digital Dining, and Oracle.

These systems are fine, but the practices of the hotels and restaurants are the issue.  How often do you upgrade your Micros system?  Once every 2 or 3 years?  What version of Microsoft Windows are you running it with?  Windows 7?  Windows NT?

This is where the problem begins.

Windows PC Software

Let’s start with the elephant in the room.  The normal operating procedure for business owners is a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” type of outlook.  The problem with that, is how open it leaves you for breaches.

Many of these systems are running on Windows NT.  Microsoft doesn’t even support that anymore.  So no more updates, no more anti-malware, or fixes for ransomware.  And Windows 7 isn’t much better, it’s supported through 2020.

But keep in mind, that Windows 7 is by FAR the most breached software platform.  So the hackers who want your data, are best at hacking it.

Does your legacy software even run on Windows 10?  Or on Windows Server 2016?  Because if it can’t, there’s a huge liability on you.

WPA2 Security Crack

Recently, the WPA2 wireless security protocol has been compromised.  This is the security that secures 90% of all wireless connections.  All the more reason for you to remove an in-house server from your life.  Because any wireless connection is now questionable.

Microsoft and Apple have both announced updates to secure this, but at some point, once compromised, how can you trust the security moving forward?

But why Hotel and Restaurant Data Breaches?

That’s a much easier question to answer.  It’s because all the transactions are credit card transactions.  And the majority require credit card data to be stored.  Meaning there’s a very big benefit to breaching.

But also, because they’re all running these antiquated software and hardware systems.  It’s so expensive to upgrade them, that it’s not hard to understand why.  But a data breach will be more expensive than any software upgrade would be!

Hyatt reported this week a massive data breach involving hotels in 11 countries.  Starwood, Trump, and Sabre Hospitality have all had breaches recently too.

But what do you do to fix it?

That’s the question!  There are really 2 ways to avoid data breaches to the best of your ability:

Update hardware and software

As often as there are updates available, you need to update your software and hardware.  That means every time Micros offers an update, or Oracle, or Focus.  This will be expensive, but less expensive than a breach.  The best way to avoid hotel and restaurant data breaches, is to keep your software current.

Switch to a subscription based POS

Subscription based POS is the best way to avoid these issues.  Most of these are either cloud based, or iPad based.  Subscription based POS will automatically keep your restaurant and hotel safe from data breaches by auto-updating software.  Either way, your risk is much lower.  Let’s talk about why…

iPad based POS is less susceptible to ransomware, or breaches, because it’s iOS based.  Hackers don’t spend nearly as much time on this platform.

Another thing about iPad based POS is that it’s more secure because it releases new OS updates for free.  So unlike Windows, where I have to buy each additional version of Windows.   With iOS, I get the update for free.  All Apple devices work this way for at least 5 years after they’re purchased.

Cloud based software is also safer.  It’s safer because the data isn’t stored on your location.  So the POS company you work with, is going to take the liability for all data breaches.  And they spend millions of dollars trying to keep breaches from happening.

Those of us in the industry would tell you that over time, it’s going to cost you less money to move to an iPad, subscription, or cloud based POS system.  That will offer you a significant increase in security, and redundancy.  It’s also going to make sure you have support when you need it.  Part of the subscription you pay for with these services, is support.  So if you are ever breached, or get ransomware, you have someone to turn to for help.

There’s no way to avoid hotel and restaurant data breaches all together.  But put yourself in the best situation, and make it hard to get at your data!

Have questions?

If you’d like to learn more about subscription based POS, check out some of the leaders in the industry:

Revel Systems



Also, make sure to check out our other blogs about mPOS vs Legacy as well as follow me on Linkedin!