Information is the commodity which drives our current economy. Today almost everyone has a smartphone, laptop or tablet containing tens of thousands of pages of confidential information including; trade secrets, business strategies, financial information, business and personal correspondence as well as photos, images and videos.
For many the loss or theft of these modern work tools would be problematic and for legal and medical professionals catastrophic.
In the legal profession solicitor – client privilege has been a hallmark of the profession for centuries. Similarly, for doctors and other medical practitioners’ confidentiality is one of the core duties of a medical practise requiring health care providers to keep a patient’s personal health information private.
The British Medical Association’s website states “all identifiable patient information whether written, computerised, visually or audio recorded or simply held in the memory of health professionals is subject to the duty of confidentiality.
Likewise, in the legal profession the stringent rules regarding client confidentiality are much the same.
SO – HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO HOTEL FACILITIES MANAGEMENT?
Professionals and business executives travel extensively and when they do they stay in hotels. Typically, doctors travel to attend conferences, continuing education seminars and for holidays. Lawyers reasons for travel are much the same although typically those with an international practice travel extensively for work.
When I began the practise of law in the mid 80’s laptops, didn’t exist. Now the profession could not function without laptops, tablets and smartphones.
In 30 years of practice I travelled widely to represent corporations and high net worth individuals - all with secrets to be kept. As a commercial lawyer the prime currency and fuel of practice were documents. Confidential Documents. Contracts; drafts or originals bearing original signatures. Sometimes these documents were share certificates, warrants or other instruments of commerce. Not easily negotiable but nevertheless worth millions.
Losing a document wasn’t an option. If it happened it could mean serious delays, the deal collapsing, losing the client, lawsuits for negligence, loss of one’s job.
Hotel choice while conducting international business was therefore important.
Location, reputation and the level of security offered were always prime considerations. Whether a hotel had in-room safes was always the starting point.
Historically hotels (and their guests) have universally been cagey about reporting thefts on their premises. Statistics on this are unreliable. There is conflicting literature on both the incidence of theft and whether it predominately occurs in guest rooms or in public areas. What we do know is that it happens – often!
The EU now has GDPR. Most know what GDPR stands for - General Data Protection Regulations, but far fewer know that if your laptop, tablet or smartphone containing sensitive personal information about others is lost or stolen that the loss of one of these devices could render you subject to penalties of up to 4% of your company’s annual turnover. For a large company that could be millions.
Hotels and other establishments need to offer better physical security both in bedrooms, meeting rooms and public and convention centre areas. Security now goes beyond passwords and encryption. It starts with taking precautions against physical theft. The cardinal rule is always keep your laptop, tablet and phone secure. There are now options out there for both proprietors and customers to achieve this. Solutions are at hand. Both secure briefcases and secure backpacks which lock down are now available. If you want to increase your clientele think about what todays customer’s needs are and offer them security options to meet those needs.
Hugh McLean CEO
Eversafe Technologies Limited