How AccorHotels and VigiTrust help thousands of hotels achieve and maintain compliance with PCI DSS

AccorHotels is the largest hotel operator with a network of 4,300 hotels in 100 countries distributed through a hotel portfolio of 25 hospitality brands from luxury to economy.

What PCI DSS program management challenges do you face?

AccorHotels: AccorHotels comprises more than 25 brands of hotels of all types and sizes in over 100 countries. The group includes owned and managed hotels and franchisees. At the AccorHotels Group, compliance efforts are spread across different teams and business units including security/compliance, country offices, local management and other lines of business. Coordinating these efforts is challenging, and central to this is the need to educate merchants, get them onboard with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and simplify their compliance efforts as much as possible.

What kind of PCI DSS compliance program was needed?

AccorHotels: Facing the challenges AccorHotels had with PCI DSS compliance on scale, we knew we needed a comprehensive multinational, multidimensional, and multicultural PCI DSS program to support our network of hotels. We needed a program that would have value-add to help our merchants achieve and maintain compliance.

What does ‘value-add’ mean when it comes to a PCI DSS compliance program?

VigiTrust: The real value add for merchants is access to plain-English business-driven security advice so they can easily implement and maintain good security practices. Secure payments throughout the merchant organization is the end game – for hotels this includes at reception, restaurants, bars, gyms, spas, shops. Providing education through eLearning and access to userfriendly procedures helps merchants understand why payment security is important and what’s involved. Additionally, to help merchant demonstrate they are PCI DSS compliant, we provide SAQs (Self-Assessment Questionnaires) and AOCs (Attestations of Compliance) through our SAQ engine.

Why did AccorHotels choose VigiTrust?

AccorHotels: Working with the right partner is essential to the success of our PCI DSS program. We first met VigiTrust at their PCI European Roadshow in June 2011. They impressed us by highlighting the need to demystify PCI DSS for target audiences, prompting us to think about how we could customize a PCI DSS program for the hospitality industry. Up to that point, all the programs we had found were very generic. To be successful, we felt the program needed to be aimed at specific PCI DSS issues facing the hospitality industry. We first engaged VigiTrust in 2012 for PCI DSS eLearning for 15,000 users. We further customized this for our hospitality needs in the next two years, leading up to a full, two-part customized program released in 2013. From the outset, we found VigiTrust to be a flexible partner that could adapt to our needs and work with us to develop a tailor-made PCI DSS training solution for AccorHotels.

What makes a good PCI DSS compliance portal?

VigiTrust: A good portal benefits those that work with merchants (such as acquirers, franchises, service providers, etc.) by providing all parties full visibility on the effectiveness of PCI DSS programs. By reporting not only on program completion but also on exceptions, program managers can help those merchants struggling to understand and implement good security practices, and that need help moving toward compliance. A good portal also needs to facilitate a ‘Business as Usual’ approach to PCI DSS. Entities need to implement “always present” security – not just strive to be compliant at the time of an annual assessment . Security is a journey, not a destination. Supporting an organization’s continuous PCI DSS compliance must therefore be the primary objective of the portal. Finally, a good PCI DSS compliance portal is customized to address the nuances of different organizations and industry sectors. It is key that advice provided to merchants be easy to implement, and be given in plain business language that merchants can identify with.

How is the customization of PCI DSS compliance programs achieved?

AccorHotels: Through partnership. AccorHotels provided customization ideas based on our needs and VigiTrust provided the solution. The proof of concept for an AccorHotels Merchant Compliance Portal (MCP) came in 2014. Reflecting the customization we achieved, we renamed it the Hotel Compliance Portal “HCP”. Today HCP is a known acronym across all AccorHotels properties, security and compliance teams.

VigiTrust: VigiTrust has very detailed and effective customization process. This includes discovery workshops aimed at mapping out all areas that need to be customized, from eLearning to policies and procedures and SAQ choice wizards. This collaborative process initially requires time from our client organization champion, but the approach not only reduces the amount of time spent with each merchant, it also increases program accuracy and effectiveness. In the end, merchants – in this case hotels – benefit from a platform that is relevant to their environment, explained in terms they understand and branded in a way they recognize and identify with. For AccorHotels properties, HCP has become part of their daily tool set for compliance!

How has the partnering relationship developed?

VigiTrust: Customization is not about a one-time solution. It’s about adapting to the needs of our customers as they change. AccorHotels: Our compliance portal expanded from 100 to over 3,000 locations. Beyond ongoing content customization, this required multi-brand granular dynamic reporting, which VigiTrust deployed for us in 2016. Reporting is now available across all brands, per use type, completion status (completion/exception) and country. The incorporation of new features around policies and procedures and multiple SAQs also took place at this time, and in 2017 VigiTrust integrated other AccorHotels preferred third-party tools into HCP.

VigiTrust, The Dublin-based GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) SaaS service provider helps companies ensure they are within the law when it comes to key legal aspects of corporate security such as Vendor Risk Management and Third Party Assurance. At the same time, they also offer dedicated e-learning programmes.

What’s next?

AccorHotels: We’re putting all aspects of our governance, risk and compliance together on a specially designed GRC platform developed by VigiTrust to address multiple regulations on the platform moving forward. For instance, GDPR has several common themes with PCI DSS. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, we can leverage HCP to address some GDPR requirements .

VigiTrust: AccorHotels’ next step is to migrate the HCP to VigiOne, VigiTrust’s next generation GRC platform. It is a more scalable, robust, faster solution that also provides for interaction with external auditors such as QSAs, who can help manage compliance levels from a single platform. All clients are currently migrating to VigiOne.

For further information:

Contact:  Hannah Fraser

E: hannah.fraser@enterprise-ireland.com



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