Cloud-Based Security: A Guide to Protecting Your Property against Ransomware

By Stig Lagerstedt 21. September 2021
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Cybersecurity has become a pressing topic in the hospitality industry, with the pandemic bringing with it a significant increase in cyberattack attempts. Ransomware attacks, or the use of malicious software to encrypt and/or exfiltrate a target’s data and then demand payment under the threat of sharing it publicly or making it permanently inaccessible, has become a particular concern: ransomware attacks went up by almost 150% in March of 2020, and an all-time high of 78.4 million ransomware attacks were recorded globally in June 2021 alone.

But not all is lost; the emergence of cloud-based solutions has revolutionized hotel data security, improving hotelier prevention and mitigation efforts by allowing critical data information to be accessible from anywhere, at any time, from any device. The effectiveness of the cloud is visible in its popularity: a recent study shows that 60% of organizations are planning to transfer sensitive data to the cloud. Despite this, some hoteliers are still torn on the effectiveness of cloud-based solutions over its on-premise counterparts. Read on to learn more about the unique security features cloud-based solutions can employ, and how it can better protect against ransomware attacks than legacy methods.

Built-in application security

Since cloud-based providers continually make significant investments to develop cutting-edge data-protection technology, cloud-based solutions utilize industry-leading security measures that on-premise data centers lack. In fact, on-premise security stacks are often complex to integrate, as significant changes to the existing security protocols pose a high risk of operational disruption. Making changes to a hotel’s security architecture is much easier in the cloud. New security capabilities are seamlessly woven into the cloud administration constructs, allowing hotels to trial new features and assess the effectiveness of each tool in their own unique hotel environment. With the cloud, a hotel operator can ensure that the highest level of security is maintained through the newest technology, at no risk.

With 34% of surveyed operators stating that data privacy has become one of the core responsibilities for the property’s cybersecurity team, ensuring authorized access is a key concern. Many cloud-based solutions use key security measures for users that on-premise solutions lack, such as authentication protocols. By requiring users to verify their credentials at each log-in, hoteliers can add another layer of protection against remote access from malicious actors attempting to install ransomware. With the ability to access information anytime, anywhere, cloud-based user authentication ultimately enables your company to maintain control by reacting quickly and efficiently to potential security risks. In addition to monitoring authorized access attempts, cloud-based security also allows providers to shut off any part of a system if ransomware is affecting the overall security of the platform or service.

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A multifaceted approach

Security incidents are a common occurrence in the modern digital era; more than 22 million U.S. travelers self-report as being the victim of a cyberattack through their business with hotels, according to the Morphisec 2019 Hospitality Guest Threat Index. With the inevitability of being a target in a data attack, the best security measures assume data compromise at every level. Developing highly resilient systems that place a heavy consideration on not only prevention, but also defense measures against installed ransomware, is vital.

Cloud-based systems deploy layered defenses and equip response measures that allow hoteliers to respond and recover quickly to incidents and attacks. Tiered, multi-faceted defenses create multiple barriers against ransomware, ensuring that hackers who successfully break through one barrier will quickly encounter another. By increasing the time and difficulty it takes for ransomware to successfully compromise a hotel’s system, operators can increase their ability to respond quickly enough to mitigate risk. In traditional networks, however, these tiered defenses can be inconsistent and varied. By contrast, cloud architectures are homogeneous, allowing for not only the uniform application of tiered defense but of continuous logging and monitoring capabilities. Ultimately, the ability to detect and respond to threats is more pervasive and sophisticated in the cloud’s resilient system.

Cloud-based providers can also allow hoteliers to utilize a multilayered approach, or the employment of both software-based and physical security solutions. This can ensure that compliance requirements are met while simultaneously mitigating ransomware before they develop into full-blown attacks. Through this, cloud service providers can tackle risk and data loss prevention in an integrated manner.

 

Continuous compliance assurance

The recent emergence of data protection laws has placed a new urgency on hoteliers to develop and implement proper security frameworks; however, by using a cloud-based system, the responsibility and risk of data protection compliance fall to the cloud operator. For a cloud solution provider, it’s vital to employ the highest level of expertise, from developers, technical consultants and information security officers, to ensure customer data remains secure while using the service and solutions are configured to industry standards. Moving to cloud-based security solutions eliminates the need for hoteliers to employ in-house expertise, allowing them to free up critical labor resources.

Additionally, cloud providers must provide assurances to their customers that they protect against the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability of their data through yearly, third-party audits, a requirement that on-premise, legacy systems lack. These audits are often rigorous in nature, ensuring certifications for their data centers, security systems and processes, which identify and eliminate potential security flaws, while simultaneously ensuring that compliance measures are met.

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By: Stig Lagerstedt

Stig is VP of Hospitality Solutions for ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and responsible for ensuring that company market strategies and innovation efforts align with customer needs. He is a member of our team for more than 20 years and recognized as an established expert in hospitality technology. Stig has played a central role in the acquiring of several company patents that have pushed industry security and operational efficiency abilities to new heights.

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