There’s no denying it; the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business, educational, and professional activities. As a result, many businesses and organizations have been forced to work remotely, while others have opted to close down until normalcy resumes.
However, now with most governments relaxing lockdown restrictions and health stakeholders rolling out the vaccine, there seems to be some hope for a better tomorrow.
Most organizations have begun reopening offices, and hotels are starting to resume operations. But here’s the catch; the virus is persistent as before, and the health, safety, and security of entities and personnel must remain top concerns during and post-COVID-19.
As a hotelier, it’s in your best interest to maximally protect your staff, premises, assets, guests, reputation, and data as you begin to resume full operations. The big question is, what does it take to realize that feat?
We’ve prepared this article to provide 5 safety considerations to help secure your work environment and help keep your guests, staff, and data safe – post-pandemic. So let’s get down to business!
1.Provide Staff with Security Awareness Training
Cybercrime has reached a record high during the pandemic period, and the trend isn’t slowing down even post-COVID-19.
The rate at which cyber threat actors are constantly targeting businesses – large or small alike – to exfiltrate their sensitive data is so worrying.
And they’re successful, for the better part, because they leverage unsuspecting staff as weak links to companies’ IT systems and networks with evermore sophisticated social engineering and phishing-style attacks.
The good news is, you can take proactive measures to educate your workforce so they don’t fall into the trap of witty hackers. There are several schemes that hackers deploy to defraud and exploit businesses, including:
- Hackers posing as government officials to obtain private information such as bank data
- Perpetrators seeing to defraud people of funds they have received to assist with the devastating effects of COVID-19
- Fraudsters posing as respected figures in the business and making suspicious requests, e.g., asking staff to transfer funds to an unknown account.
Educating your staff on these scams and tricks can go a long way in enhancing your hotel’s security posture, as they’ll know how to detect and react to potential threats. Even better, you can partner with a reliable managed IT services firm to offer your workforce security awareness training to help protect your information systems.
2. Implement Social Distancing Protocols
Social distancing is one of the best-proven tactics for avoiding the spread of the pandemic through person-to-person transmission.
Globally it is recommended that we keep a distance of at least 6-feet (1.8m) from the next person, and many experts believe that this culture will remain even post-pandemic.
And it’s all for a good cause, as it may assist hoteliers and other businesses enhance physical security at work by preventing pickpocketing, bag theft, and other crimes that have traditionally involved close contact to function.
Social distancing is also an effective solution to pedestrian access control discrepancies that hotels and other similar businesses face. As you can imagine, it’s hard to tailgate or sneak past someone when there are no crowds of people or more than one person per 6-feet.
Although unwanted access to the hotel is barely serious and doesn’t pose a significant safety or security concern, these unwanted visitors still bring a negative experience to staff and guests, to some extent. No one wants drug dealers and prostitutes hanging around in their reception areas.
In particular, not being vigilant about access control gives the workforce and guests the impression that you don’t care about access control.
In addition, anyone with ill intentions may also salvage the opportunity to commit an offense.
Luckily, implementing social distancing protocols can eliminate unwanted access when implemented alongside pedestrian access and entrance control.
3. Prioritize how Your Hotel Handles Guests, Suppliers, Contractors, and Other In-Person Visits
Effective handling of non-staff members, like guests, suppliers, and contractors, is another post-COVID-19 safety consideration that you need to prioritize.
Some proven tactics and resources for improving both your staff’s safety and that of your hotel guests include:
- Electronic visitor management systems for recording and tracing hotel visits
- Manual visitor logs for documenting non-staff members’ personal information
- Use of smart access cards to restrict or secure the hotel from unauthorized visits
In essence, maintaining healthy visitor security protocols at work goes along with enhancing social distancing to prevent the contact-based pandemic spread.
Therefore, it would be advisable to adopt a strategy just as with food-hygiene control as a hotel manager or owner. You’ll ideally want a HACCP-style measure in place here.
Making a comprehensive list or doing a simple risk assessment is an excellent place to start. Then, you should consider reviewing how you welcome, register, and screen your guests to ensure bilateral safety and security, especially post-COVID-19.
4. Beware of Teleconference Hijacking
If there’s one business culture that will carry on even after the pandemic, it’s the use of audio/video conferencing technology to communicate with staff and clients.
Videoconferencing has created an opportunity for cybercriminals and ill-intended people to frustrate businesses.
For instance, there’s a newborn trend of hackers coming in the middle of video teleconferencing (CTC) calls and corroding the session with violent and hateful messages.
Imagine you’re in the process of negotiating with a prospect about the possibility of a considerable group booking at your hotel, then – boom – a threat actor starts hauling insults at them.
Teleconference Hijacking may cost you lots of potential revenue as well as reputational damage. Here are some best practices to help prevent teleconference hijacking:
- Use a unique ID for your teleconference and DO NOT share it publicly
- Don’t share links to your teleconference
- There are tools like this one that allow you to generate one-time codes that expire after use
- Change screen-shot settings to be available for hosts only
- Create a waiting room or an invite-only conference, so you can verify who attends
- Ensure your guests are using the most recently updated version of their applications
- Ensure your guests’ organizations have a telework policy that supports information security
5. Emphasize a Clean Desk Policy
If there’s one desirable culture that many organizations and businesses have embraced, it’s securing all endpoint devices, work papers, and files before calling it a day.
Securing endpoints helps avoid the risk of exposing sensitive staff and guest data as well as proprietary hotel information, thereby preventing cybersecurity breaches and theft.
On top of securing your endpoints and files, you also want to leave the workspace especially clean and sanitized as you close for the day.
It goes a long way in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus and assuring your guests that you’re as committed to cleanliness as you are to hospitality.
Ready to Take Your Hotel Business to New Heights Post-COVID-19?
Many things have changed during the lockdown period, and businesses have had to adapt to remain on top of their games.
In particular, hotels have been forced to develop new means of registering and attending to their guests and other stakeholders, linking up with prospects, and protecting sensitive data.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the pandemic exposed the hoteliers’ vulnerabilities, and there’s more to be done to attain operational efficiency and security.
If you are concerned about not only the safety of your guests but the safety of your data and the integrity of your hotel technology infrastructure. Why not reach out to protel hotelsoftware backed by AWS.
AWS supports more security standards and compliance certifications than any other offering, including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171.
protel is helping hoteliers to maintain system integrity and satisfy compliance requirements for virtually every regulatory agency around the globe. As a bonus, when you’re running protel AIR, you’ll always have peace of mind.