Forescout continues to lead the way in IoT security and was recently selected to join a pivotal hospitality-focused cybersecurity project run by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), within the federal National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)1. The NCCoE’s Securing Property Management Systems (PMS) project draws together experts studying security threats and challenges facing hotels’ PMS IT assets.
The hospitality vertical, which is part of the massive U.S. tourism and travel sector, exemplifies the fact that every business is a technology business. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook, U.S. airlines, lodging, car rental, cruise, rail and travel packaging became a record $353 billion market in 2017. Technology fuels much of the industry’s rapid growth – from Web and mobile app-driven reservation systems to AI-derived data analysis tools that study customer patterns to influence room specials, maintenance, guest preferences and more.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is most visibly reshaping travelers’ hospitality experience. Major operators like Hilton and Marriott are testing and deploying “smart” rooms, synchronizing with travelers’ devices and “pre-loading” suites with guests’ preferences in entertainment and activity offers. Faster Wi-Fi supporting a business team or an entire family’s entourage of devices is a must. Hotels are additionally turning to networked door locks, amenities and concierge services to improve physical security, spare guests from front desk lines and make visits more convenient.
Take away the pools, fitness centers, conference rooms and gift shops and hotels are basically massively networked buildings – or sprawling campuses – handling complex traffic from a varying mix of corporate and visiting devices. Uptime is a must for guests’ convenience and productivity and the operators’ bottom line in a highly competitive, globalized and data-driven industry.
Enter hospitality’s expanding cyber risk stakes: According to a separate study on hotels’ IoT transformation, “Many early adopters still face challenges… including cost and cybersecurity.”
A PMS is key to connected hotels’ businesses. In addition to enabling planning, management and record keeping, PMS platforms intersect with payment and point-of-sale (POS) systems, door locks, Wi-Fi networks and other services. Because corporate partnerships between dining, airline, car rental and other travel players are an integral part of hospitality, hotels’ PMS assets must frequently and securely support connections to third-parties’ components and services, such as customer relationship management (CRM) applications and loyalty programs.
In the Securing Property Management Systems for the Hospitality Use Case Consortium, Forescout is helping develop practical, interoperable cybersecurity approaches that address real-world needs of complex IT systems. By accelerating dissemination and use of these integrated tools and technologies for protecting IT assets, the NCCoE seeks to enhance trust in U.S. IT communications, data and storage systems as well as reduce risk for companies and individuals using IT systems, thus encouraging development of innovative, job-creating cybersecurity products and services. More details on this effort are available here.
Forescout has an impressive history of working with NIST’s NCCoE in tackling some of our country’s and connected economies’ most important cybersecurity challenges, as well as helping accelerate NIST 800-171 for federal contractors. In a sector that’s transforming the experience of travel and accommodations, this project promises to help hospitality stakeholders stay secure while taking advantage of the benefits IoT offers.
1 Division, Eileen. “NCCoE and Industry Collaborate to Secure Property Management Systems for the Hospitality Sector” NCCoE/NIST, September 13, 2018, https://www.nccoe.nist.gov/news/nccoe-and-industry-collaborate-secure-property-management-systems-hospitality-sector