Censornet gives Hallmark Hotels the key to security

The hotel industry has proven to be a target for cybercrime, as demonstrated by high profile attacks on the likes of the Marriott Group and the Autoclerk system used by a number of hotel chains. Phishing is a particularly popular attack technique used against the industry, and Hallmark Hotels came to Censornet looking for a unified email security solution it could trust to roll out across all of its hotels to protect the group.

Launching in 2007, the hotel group has quickly expanded to 26 hotels across the UK through a combination of organic growth and a series of strategic acquisitions. While this growth was great for businesses, Head of IT Julian Daniel was faced with the challenge of integration and consolidation of separate systems in order to tackle the issues of inconsistency across the group, and the inefficiencies and vulnerabilities this brings.

“Following a series of acquisitions, I found myself with three completely separate IT infrastructures, with different email systems, and different applications,” said Julian Daniel, Head of IT, Hallmark Hotels. “I was tasked with ensuring cohesion over the group’s systems and knew this had to apply to our security tools – to ensure we were universally protected across the group.”

Additional security functionality on top of Office 365

Having rolled out Microsoft Office 365 as the email provider across the group, Hallmark Hotels chose Censornet Email Security after a trial demonstrated the additional security functionality provided on top of Office 365. In particular, Daniel wanted greater visibility into email security threats, a more powerful tool for email filtering, and more control to act on emails flagged as unsafe.

Censornet’s multi-layered approach analyses more than 130 variables per email to identify and protect the organisation from modern sophisticated email threats such as impersonation attacks, and targeted phishing, which are common in the hospitality industry and often missed by less sophisticated email security software.

“While Microsoft has basic security functionality, we needed more sophisticated security tools to protect our employees, but also at the right price,” explained Daniel. “Censornet gives us advanced security and also has a far more personal and specialised security service.”

In addition, Censornet’s support and advice, including the availability of experts to talk through the main issues of email security, was a key reason for choosing them as a supplier.

“Unlike a tech giant where we’d have to go through the mill to get support,” continued Daniel. “The team at Censornet proved in the trial that they would be on hand, had some serious security expertise in house, and that they were willing to make this available to us if we needed it. Indeed, the Censornet CTO Richard Walters helped us during deployment, which is just something you wouldn’t get with another provider.” 

Granular detail and control in email security

Censornet Email Security has been rolled out across Hallmark Hotel’s 26 sites, giving the IT team far greater visibility and control over email security on top of what is provided by Office 365. The team can audit flagged emails through the Censornet platform’s insights to see who the email has come from, who they are delivered to, and what inside the email was deemed to be dangerous. Combined with Censornet’s unique LinkScan™ technology, which gives time-of-click protection from malicious URLs, this has helped protect Hallmark Hotels from traditional threats like spam, viruses and malicious URLs that lead to ransomware attacks.

“The hotel industry it at risk of attacks such as malware and ransomware where criminals try to either steal data or exploit organisations for a pay off,” said Daniel. “The majority of these threats come through over email, often in malicious links, which Censornet is able to check and stop for us. If a suspicious email come through to a member of staff on reception it is now blocked and we can easily check all the details to work out why and take the appropriate steps. Not only is it protecting our staff from dangerous threats, but we have found it is actually helping to educate them on being safe while using their work emails. With Censornet in use across all the hotels we are assured our group is safe over email.”