Data security

Otto de Vries: ASATA CEO

Are you constantly looking over your shoulder when you’re on the road? From the booking process to boarding a flight and checking into a hotel, corporate travel poses a range of very unique cyber security threats. The good news is that from March the travel industry will be one step closer to ensuring that your data is safe during the entire booking process. As a high-risk sector with multiple points of vulnerability towards data theft and breaches, the travel industry will be moving towards a more sustainable and safe model as PCI DSS Compliance becomes compulsory.

If you are not familiar with PCI DSS Compliance, it is a set of security regulations and policies designed by the biggest credit card companies to protect cardholder data. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has decided to enforce the PCI standard with its accredited members as a part of a new, more secure system. But, that’s not all. The deadline for the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act is also looming with the commencement date expected in the second half of 2018.

Technology makes it easy to access, collect and process high volumes of data at high speeds, but this information can be sold or used for other purposes. Amid ongoing cyber threats, the POPI legislation forces travel organisations (as well as other businesses) to take responsibility for the way they handle personal information. This legislation protects the traveller’s right to privacy and prevents information from being abused.

One word of caution however: despite all the safety measures the travel industry is taking in 2018 to make sure your data is secure, it remains important for corporate travellers to be vigilant themselves.

That means that you should remain cautious of pubic wi-fi when travelling and disable autoconnect on your devices. You should install the latest anti-virus protection as well as update operating systems and passwords regularly. Also be wary of gifts such as USB sticks, as they could contain malware. Protecting your personal information and data while travelling is no longer an option, it’s a necessity and a top priority for your ASATA travel agent.