According to Shukri Eid, Cisco can ease networking and security management headaches for local hoteliers. According to Shukri Eid, Cisco can ease networking and security management headaches for local hoteliers.

Hotelier Middle East: How is Cisco managing network security issues in hotels?

Shukei Eid: In this rapidly changing environment, hotels need to continuously adopt technologies to meet and exceed guest expectations. As the sector grows, privacy, integrity and security of all personal information that is in their care has to be maintained.

The hotel industry is one of the most vulnerable to data threats, since they process a very high volume of guests’ personal information and payment card transactions daily. They also receive this information from many sources, such as third-party booking sites, point of sales systems, concessions, their own site, emails, fax, phone and walk-ins. Furthermore, hotels tend to store this payment card data in several places.

However, with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcing new laws on any data used for personal identification now in effect, things have changed. We at Cisco help the hospitality industry comply with the GDPR by building effective security and privacy directly into your network and the cloud.

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HME: How is Cisco addressing network security issues for mid-range hotels in particular?

Eid: Cisco is the only company building an integrated security portfolio, which includes security across the network, cloud, Internet, email, and endpoints. Our network security solutions for the hospitality sector includes next generation firewalls, advanced malware protection, intrusion prevention, secure access to name some.

 Through Cisco Umbrella, our cloud-based service, we have been enabling hotels to easily and reliably provide a fast, safe and appropriate Wi-Fi internet experience to everyone accessing the hotel’s networks. It can prevent malware, contain botnets and enforce acceptable use policy across multiple locations, while monitoring all the networks of the hotel through a single, centralised dashboard. Umbrella not only protects guest and employee devices against malware infections, but also contains the ability of their infected devices from launching attacks via the hotel’s networks.

HME: How is Cisco posied to take advantage of the mid-range market opportunity?

Eid: To meet evolving guest expectations, it is important for hotels in the region to use mobility in a smart way to build guest loyalty and increase room revenues through customised services and content.

The [rapid] development is creating challenges for both existing players and new entrants in the hospitality sector and they are looking towards technology as an enabler to remain competitive and build loyalty amongst customers.

Technology plays a crucial role in enabling better service and stronger operations.

Cisco [is] providing regional hotels, particularly mid-range properties, an easy way to digitally transform their businesses.

HME: What tools does Cisco provide to make network management for hotels?

Eid: Cisco provides a number of network management tools to cater to every hotel irrespective of size. Cisco DNA Center is the network management for intent-based networks, which helps hotels provision and configure their network devices in minutes.

It uses analytics to monitor and optimise the network and integrate with third party systems for improved operational processes.

Cisco Meraki cloud managed IT solutions bring simplicity to hotels of every size. With wireless, switching, SD-WAN, security, communications, mobility management and security cameras, all centrally managed from the cloud, Meraki gives IT administrators visibility and control, without the cost and complexity of traditional architectures.

The intuitive interface of Meraki dashboard eliminates expensive training and additional staff.

Other network management products include Cisco Prime Infrastructure and Cisco Prime Virtual Network Analysis module. Whether it is wired or wireless networks, all Cisco management tools manage the entire network from a single interface, which is a huge value addition for hotels as it reduces IT’s workload, which in turn, reduces the number of staff required.