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Safe Travels – The Importance of Cyber Security for Cruise

by Asa Sargeant | February 12, 2020 | News & Events | 0 Comments

As part of theICEway ecosystem, ICE Technology Services has been helping to provide a complete digital solution for the cruise industry for more than 20 years. Our sister brand, CRIBB Cyber Security, is regularly tasked with helping our clients achieve compliance and cyber resilience, as cyber security has become one of the hot topics of the last few years.

The cruise industry is set to experience exponential growth in the coming years. Research from Mintel revealed that between 2018 and 2023, the number of cruise holidays is forecast to increase quicker than the total number of overseas holidays. Resulting in a 22.5% rise in British and Irish passengers taking to the seas. There are numerous factors impacting this growth, including more choice, modernisation, and a better range of on-board facilities. All this is attracting a broader passenger demographic. In its 2019 industry trend report CLIA explained that Gen-Z will surpass Millennials to become the largest consumer generation in 2020 and cites a preference for unique experiences as a key driver for their travel spending.

Once the staple holiday of retirees, the cruise has shed its traditional image in favour of a youth and family friendly feel. Featuring Instagram worthy views, a host of locations to explore and menus to suit even the most discerning palette. With such obvious #holidaygoals the key is to be able to share the experience with your followers, after all - ‘if it’s not on social media, did it really happen?’ In recent years cruise lines have stepped up their game on all on-board conveniences, and WIFI is no exception. As the demand for constant connectivity increases so do customer expectations and for many travellers fast, reliable internet will be the deciding factor when choosing one cruise line over another.

Cruise operators may be keen to help passengers share the moments that make their trip memorable, but the race to deliver a seamless connection has left some liners vulnerable to online security breaches. In 2017 the UK Department for Transport released a Code of Practise - Cyber Security for Ships, the issues identified included; disrupting ship systems, accessing personal data, and terrorist threats. A cyber-attack can impact multiple access points, from passenger recreational and transactional networks to the ship’s on-board security. If those networks are linked everything from a customer’s credit card details to the direction of the ship’s course is at risk. It is therefore absolutely vital that companies compartmentalise their operating systems.

The introduction of on-board connectivity means watching a movie, booking an activity and making a reservation have all been streamlined. While automated systems certainly make a passenger’s stay more convenient, it leaves their personal data extremely vulnerable. The digital ship a prime target for hackers, the priorities for operators must be to minimise the risks of an attack and respond as quickly as possible should the worst occur. Security awareness should be an important part of all staff training, employees need a sound understanding of GDPR and must be vigilant in order to identify phishing scams.

Glossary

theICEway ecosystem

CLIA – Cruise Lines International Association

Gen-Z – ‘Generation Z’, succeeding ‘Millennials’, consists of people typically born from the mid- to late-1990s to the early 2010s

Millennials – Also known as ‘Generation Y’ and succeeding ‘Generation X’, ‘Millennials’ consist of people typically born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s to mid- to late- 1990s / early 2000s (depending upon which source you check)

GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation, a regulation in European Union law on data protection and privacy in the EU / European Economic Area

Top Tip

To help your staff manage data effectively it’s important to seek independent expert advice, to assist with implementing the appropriate protective measures. To learn more about implementing a risk management framework, read our article in the December issue of Seatrade Cruise Review, or contact our team of experts for advice…

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