To Secure Customer Loyalty, Secure the Loyalty Database
There has been a steady drumbeat of news around data breaches involving the personal and financial data of millions of consumers – and the travel and transportation industry has not been exempt. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in December 20181 that a data breach of Marriott International’s Starwood guest reservation database exposed the personal information of up to 500 million people, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, gender, Starwood loyalty program account information, and reservation information.
Today’s consumer is highly aware of and concerned about the cybersecurity risks that exist. The Unisys Security Index™, the only recurring snapshot of security concerns conducted globally, reported that people surveyed are more concerned about Identity Theft (68 percent seriously concerned) or Bankcard Fraud (66 percent seriously concerned) than they are about possible physical harm related to Disasters/Epidemics (53 percent seriously concerned) or Personal Safety (50 percent seriously concerned).
Air passengers, in particular, have a right to such concern, since airlines retain vast amounts of personal information in their loyalty databases. This data is constantly being shared between airports, partners, vendors, and government agencies to optimize the passenger experience. Consumers interact with and add to this data with every tap on their mobile devices and with each transaction.
One of the primary reasons that risk to this data exists is because airlines and airports have deployed point solutions over the years to provide new functions and services to keep pace with customer demands and expectations. These points solutions have resulted in an eclectic mix of systems that cannot be easily integrated with each other or with emerging solutions and software, making it difficult to guard against intrusions. For example, hackers can gain access to the loyalty database through passenger applications, smart devices used by employees or customers, and unsecured connections.
To learn more about where security concerns exist in the travel and transportation industry, and how to provide security without negatively impacting the passenger experience, read Strengthening Security Without Compromising the Passenger Experience: A Review of the 2018 Unisys Security Index™.