Whether it is an in-house employee or an outsourced vendor, cybersecurity professionals are a must for all organizations. According to a study by Trustwave, there is a skills shortage when it comes to information security professionals and 76 percent of information security professionals note that they are feeling pressure to further their skills.
In addition, when asked if their security staff is adequate, 87 percent of information security executives noted that they need additional staff. Fifty-two percent stated they would like to double their current staff size, 29 percent would quadruple their staff size, and a small percentage would like to increase their staff by more than 400 percent. Only a small percentage (13 percent), indicated that their current staff size is adequate.
With the continuous occurrence of cybersecurity incidents, it is important to have someone in your organization that has an understanding of the threats your business faces on a daily basis. Even if you outsource cybersecurity responsibilities for key processes to an outside company, someone at the property level should be able to address basic questions when it comes to malware, network security, ransomware and other cybersecurity threats. Therefore, what resources are available to businesses to train their staff on these topics?
In the hospitality space, operators can turn to associations like HFTP to provide training and resources to their employees. HFTP Global offers educational sessions via online webinars, conferences and local chapter meetings. For example, at HITEC Houston 2018, the North American version of the largest hospitality technology conference in the world produced by HFTP, the closing session focused on cybersecurity. The cybersecurity authority Theresa Payton discussed cyber vulnerabilities, worldwide hacking schemes, and provided advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of professional hackers.
Secondly, one of the goals of HFTP is to be the primary source for the major topics faced by accounting, finance and technology professionals in the hospitality industry.
According to Frank Wolfe, HFTP CEO, “It is imperative for hospitality businesses to safeguard customer data and HFTP is committed to providing the hospitality industry with the information and resources it needs to protect information and implement cyber security initiatives. HFTP works with experienced industry professionals via its chapters, councils and committees to develop the best educational programs and resources to supply guidance to the industry”.
One of these such programs is the creation of the HFTP GDPR/Data Protection Officer (DPO) Task Force.
The HFTP DPO Task Force was created to address the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which became effective on May 25, 2018. These regulations impact how hospitality businesses around the globe treat data security within their organizations. The HFTP GDPR/DPO Task Force has worked on the following initiatives and will ultimately oversee the development of a hospitality specific certification for Data Protection Officers.
- Identify the major challenges for the industry to achieve compliance, as well as the stakeholders involved;
- Provide guidelines to enable the industry to assess their specific needs to achieve compliance;
- Define the specific features of a Hospitality Data Protection Officer (HDPO) job role, and resulting from this, propose the structure of a HFTP HDPO certification;
- Establish a communication policy to create awareness within the industry.
HFTP has two other established certifications, the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP). Both exams incorporate knowledge of fraud, technology and securing systems. Specifically, the CHTP is the only hospitality technology focused certification. The certification covers the following technology topics specific to information security: PCI/DSS, PII security and red flag, physical security, virus/malware, network security, and data protection. In addition, according to the 2016 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Survey, professionals with the CHTP designation earn 17 percent higher salary than those without a designation.
“Certifications in the hospitality industry continue to become more important as areas like accounting, finance & technology become even more specialized. I am thrilled that HFTP has taken the lead in this area with their Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) & Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) certifications. Taking the time to complete a certification shows that the individual is committed to their hospitality career and desire to advance it to new levels. I count my CHAE & CHTP certifications as two of the highlights of my career and love to explain to people visiting my office exactly what they are all about.”
-Mark T. Pate, Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA
For further information on HFTP certifications and educational offerings, visit the HFTP website.
- Trustwave. (2016). 2016 Security pressures report. Retrieved October 6, 2017 from https://www2.trustwave.com/security-pressures-report-2016.html.
Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA is director of customer success at HotStats based in Houston, Texas USA. Tanya served as executive director at the HFTP Americas Research Center at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston for more than 15 years.