The Internet of Things (IoT) has become more and more prevalent over the past few years. In fact, these days, one would be hard-pressed to find a piece of technology that can’t connect to the internet—seriously, there are app-controlled toasters out there!
As exciting a time as this is, hoteliers should be taking care that all the connected devices in their hotels are properly secured to guard against virtual attacks, especially considering the amount of personal information hotels collect on guests. Yotam Gutman, the director of marketing for SecuriThings, an Israeli-based cyber start-up that uses behavior analytics to provide advanced security for the cloud and IoT, says that for hoteliers, securing these devices is imperative. “Connected devices are supposed to make our lives automated, easier, with less friction,” he says. “Part of what we need to understand is that there is a cost, and that cost is giving up some of our privacy.”
Gutman predicts that this trend toward a more connected society will not end any time soon. “What’s going to happen is we’re going to get used to living in an ever-more-connected environment, and we’re going to give up an even greater portion of our privacy,” he says. As such, hoteliers need to be sure that the smart devices brought into their hotels are trustworthy. Gutman advises hoteliers, “Consider what you’re bringing in and what you’re connecting. If you do connect smart devices, then you need to make sure that you partner with an established and trusted manufacturer.”
The growth of IoT in particular has three distinct challenges with security, explains Gutman. Data security, privacy, and the potential tampering of safety mechanisms are all concerns that come with using smart technology. “You have to make sure you secure the data and maintain both the privacy and safety of the guests in the hotel,” explains Gutman. “To do that, you have to secure the devices themselves.”
Equally important, maintains Gutman, is that hotels that use connected technology make their guests are aware of it. “Guests should be notified that the rooms or public areas are smart and they use data-collection devices,” says Gutman. “That way, guests can be aware of the risks they’re taking with their information.”