Amadeus, as a technology innovator in the market, recently decided to address the most pressing cyber security fears, worries and questions during a Cyber Security Seminar in Gauteng this month and help travel agents get Cyber Smart.
The feedback from clients was amazing!
‘Very interesting! It’s definitely important for us to understand the issues around cyber security!’
“It’s very scary that your company is put at this huge risk every day!”
“Very informative. I’ve realised today just how much I’ve got to change within my company to be cyber safe.”
These are just a few of the comments from delegates who attended.
Delegates were warned during the day that in a connected and mobile world, Africa’s workforce has increasingly come under threat of cyber-attacks.
Security Specialist Chris Buchanan explained that any person today spends on average 74 hours a week in front of a screen, but most of us are not office-bound anymore. “Work is no longer a location, it’s an activity to which we are connecting from mobile devices. That means data is always on the move and under constant threat,” he said.
E-mail is one of the most common ways for attackers to infiltrate a computer, according to Mimecast’s Nick Saunders. “Forty percent of e-mails have an attachment and 77% of those are potentially vulnerable PDFs or office documents,” he said.
Small to midsize businesses in the hospitality business today unfortunately don’t have the necessary protection to protect against a breach,” added McAfee’s Trevor Coetzee. The solution, he said is to have an integrated and unified platform. This allows businesses to be better protected, have faster response time and discover threats quicker and feel more confident.
The focus should not only be on computers when talking about cyber security, as also your printer can be under attack, said HP’s Rodger James-Green. There will be over 25 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020 and all of these ‘things’ are at risk.
The onslaught is not about to stop either. Redstor’s Jason Kotze told delegates that a huge growth in infections has been predicted. “In 2016, there were 638 million devices infected. That number is expected to increase by 35% during 2017,” he said, adding that prevention is good, protection is better, back-up is a must!
Overconfidence of companies who think they are fully protected is a challenge, according to Gordon Bailey-McEwan of F5 Networks. He explained it is crucial for companies to look for solutions that will encrypt the data at rest.
DSI Secure’s Denan Erasmus explained new vulnerabilities are found daily, web application attacks leave websites vulnerable and viruses become increasingly silent and stealthy. Often, the simplest things can be the cause of an entire company’s infrastructure being compromised.
The first step to creating a cyber secure travel agency is education, according to experts at the seminar’s panel discussion.
“If you can educate your staff, you can annihilate 90% of the problems,” said Ricky Reynolds, SA Reynolds Travel Centre. Travel agents need to know they have to flag any suspicious looking mails or transactions to management immediately to minimise the risk of cyber-attacks.
Scholtz Fourie, CFO and COO Tourvest Travel Services, agrees that the education of staff around risks is crucial. “We’ve been trying to raise awareness about the value of data. It’s important for travel agents to see data is an asset.”
Although education is important, BCX’s Eric McGee explains that companies can’t only rely on employees to identify all the red flags. Companies also need to invest in systems that makes it easier for employees to recognise and detect the threats.
The threat of cyber attacks can’t be underestimated, but if travel agencies invest in technology and apply sensible controls, the risk can be managed!