The Importance Of A Secure Booking System
June 21, 2021
As we move forward, the status of our online security has never been more important.
Huge hacks have continued to dominate the news cycle over the last few years as companies, organisations and individuals as high profile as the NHS, Sony Pictures, the DNC, the World Anti-Doping Agency and even Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg have fallen foul, proving that nobody is immune to hacking.
Indeed, Mark Zuckerberg sparked a debate around online security when he shared a photo of him celebrating Instagram reaching their 500 millionth user milestone. In the background of this image was his laptop, with tape over his webcam and microphone.
Why? To prevent hackers from attacking his webcam. Hackers do this by using attachments that contain malware, once these files are opened the hacker will have access to the functions on the computer, including the webcam and microphone meaning that anything done or said in front of the computer could be observed.
Booking system security overview:
Why secure booking is essential
Security from front to back
BookingLive’s secure payment gateway integrations
Top tips: how to protect yourself online
Put simply, the state of the security of what we do online is now at the very forefront of how we all think. However, even with those security fears in mind, online booking is now such an established part of our lives that it’s almost impossible to imagine going without it.
Clearly, a secure online booking system is required to help mitigate the uncertainty that surrounds buying and booking online in this day and age. But how does BookingLive’s online booking software ensure a secure booking system, and do customers really care about security as much as we believe?
Why secure online booking is utterly essential
Shockingly, 91% of us perceive public WiFi as unsecure, and yet 89% of us still use it anyway. Free public WiFi has gone from something that few of us connect to, to an essential part of our everyday lives.
We use it in coffee shops, on transport, in hotels and just about anywhere in public, we can connect, despite the fact that almost all of us don’t believe it’s secure. Amazingly, 26% of us use credit cards and 32% log into our online bank account using public WiFi. All of which means that today, millions of us are booking things over unsecured networks.
So, when things go wrong, who do people blame? Themselves, the WiFi provider, and where they booked from. It’s an unfortunate fact, but often customers just don’t understand how payment security works. In BookingLive’s secure booking software we don’t keep any form of card details, instead passing off secure payment gateways like SagePay and PayPal, amongst others.
That generalised lack of understanding can lead to a deluge of social media complaints and a swift blow to the public perception of your business. In more serious cases, threats of legal action and loss of business can occur for something which, essentially, wasn’t your fault.
By offering secure bookings, your business gains instant credibility and trustworthiness, as well as safeguarding your reputation. As a business, those are three things that money simply can’t buy, especially if you’re based exclusively online. It can take years to build up a reputation, only to potentially see it destroyed by a booking platform that wasn’t secure. So the last thing you would want is to have that destroyed by not having a secure booking system.
Perhaps most interesting of all, is the fact that studies have found customers will actually move services or businesses to get better online security systems. Although not directly linked to secure online booking, it remains telling that 70% of consumers said that they would switch hotels for greater security, whilst 68% and 30% respectively said they’d switch cafes or change airlines for it.
Clearly then, the best booking system not only helps your client book online but keeps them secure in the process. Clients and customers need to be confident that their details including passwords, bank details and self-details are completely confidential! Our secure booking system never keeps any of your customers bank details and we will always guide our customers towards a secure and trustworthy payment gateway when setting up their secure booking system. PayPal and Opayo being our most popular chosen choice for online payment, both focusing on fraud and hidden details.
Security from front to back
When you sign up for BookingLive, you’re signing up for a secure online booking platform.
It begins with SSL certificates on your booking page, which creates a secure environment from which your customers can make their purchase. SSL certificates are tiny data files which bind a cryptographic key to your organisation’s details, which allows for secure connections between your customer and our server – protecting credit card details, data transfers, logins and more.
Keeping your customer’s money safe
From there, we offer the widest range of secure payment solutions of any online booking platform, including hugely popular and deeply respected platforms like PayPal and Opayo, but that’s not all. To find our full list of payment gateways we use, head over to our integrations page.
If you’d prefer not to use hosted payment gateways, then we’ll work with you and your requirements to set up a dedicated server with PCI compliance as the preferred secure payment method.
For other customers, all data is kept in a fully secure environment. Credit card details are maintained with your chosen payment gateway provider and further mitigating any potential danger of hacks.
With our secure online booking system, you’re in control of your secure booking system security, so you can set permissions to areas of the software or web page like some private information. You can also hide pages from the public that are more members only, setting exclusiveness.
Of course, those are just some of the top tier security features that BookingLive offers. Designed to offer a complete, feature rich and secure booking method for businesses of all sizes, BookingLive supports businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small tour operator or a large cooking school, certain requirements of a booking system remain fundamentally the same – it must be secure, it must be flexible and it must be reliable. That’s exactly what BookingLive is.
How can people protect themselves online?
As mentioned earlier, people use public Wi-Fi everywhere – despite not knowing if it’s secure or not. Indeed, many people automatically connect to Wi-Fi wherever it’s available.
However, connecting those open Wi-Fi spots can be exceptionally dangerous, and open the door to serious crimes like fraud or identity theft. So, how can people protect themselves when on insecure networks?
- Update your antivirus software: There are ways that customers can mitigate their chances of falling into cybercrime; one of the most common ways for people to stay secure online is to keep your computers antivirus protection up-to-date. Antivirus software is a program that makes your system secure from worms, harmful viruses and attacks through the scanning process. It helps identify websites and files that could contain harmful programs before they are able to enter the computer and block them from being downloaded to your computer.
- Invest in a VPN: If you have worked in a large company before you may be aware of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and what they do. VPNs encrypt and protect your data as it travels from a server to your device, decrypting it at the other end. This will help protect you on public Wi-Fi by preventing hackers from capturing personal information. VPNs may not be as easy to install as antivirus software but it is worth it in the long run.
- Use a secure online booking system: On an unsecure network, the security of your transactions is often quite debatable. However, with BookingLive and other secure booking platforms, that’s not the case. We’ve already gone to great lengths about the security benefits that BookingLive offers customers, but with HTTPS compliance on every booking page, partnerships with secure payment gateways and so much more, by using secure booking your customers can avoid fraud.
- Update your device’s firmware: If the NHS ‘WannaCry’ hack showed us anything, it was that outdated firmware for PCs and for smart devices can easily be hacked. In that particular case, large swathes of the NHS had not updated their computer’s software beyond Windows XP, which had long since stopped being supported and patched with fixes for security issues. To avoid this, update your software on all your devices. The newest versions are built to mitigate any security risks, and they’re almost always free to upgrade to, so there’s no reason not to update.
- Use strong passwords, and a password manager: Strong passwords are something that many websites, and programmes, are making customers employ as standard by ensuring your password includes an upper-case letter, a number and a minimum of six characters. However, that’s often not enough, with many of us reusing the same passwords over and over again. But how would you remember all the passwords for all the logins you have? The answer is by using a password manager will enable you to put all of your passwords in one database, meaning that you only have to remember one password! A reliable password safe is KeePass. KeePass is free and encrypted with secure encryption algorithms. This will prevent you having the same password for every login.
- Be cautious of the little things: This is a more generic tip, but still incredibly important. Scam emails can’t be very convincing and it’s easy to share too much information online, so always check who the email address is coming from, and if it looks a little suspicious then contact the company/person yourself for clarification. Don’t open mail from strangers, double check before you open a link and be mindful of where you may be sharing your personal/financial information.
- Use two-factor authentication: This requires you to verify your identity after you’ve logged into your account using your username and password. You will have to verify your identity by entering a code sent via phone or email. Alternatively, you may be asked to answer a security question. Always opt for two-factor authentication if it’s available. The extra time spent logging in is worth it for the added security.
- Back up your data regularly: Back up your data regularly to make ransomware attacks less problematic for you. For example, if a hacker encrypts your data and demands a payment to unencrypt it, it won’t be a massive concern if you already have your data backed up.
- Get the whole family involved: Every member of your family must be clued up on how to keep your network secure; as one wrong move will impact the whole network. Make sure that the whole family is educated on cyber safety – get the kids involved too.
- Avoid sharing personal information: Always be conscious of the amount of information you share online. Cybercriminals can do a surprising amount of damage with minimum details. To stay safe on the web, never share identifying information such as your full name, address or financial details with strangers you meet online. Also, it’s not necessary to include your real name in your username – so don’t! Remain mindful of the information you share in online surveys or forms; a lot of the time, little personal information if needed to complete them, so hold off on sharing those details.
Those are just some of the ways in which your customers can avoid getting caught out whilst online. They range from the slightly technical (VPNs) to the simple and free (updating your firmware), but as a business, there’s simply no excuse for offering an unsecured booking platform.
It’s the one aspect of security on this list which isn’t in the hands of the customer, and, as we discovered earlier, customers are quick to apportion blame when something goes wrong whilst they’re on unsecured internet.
BookingLive: Find out more
To learn more about how to implement a secure booking platform online for your business contact us today.