The risks and rewards of travel data

Data can be a great tool to ensure the safety and well-being of travelling employees. The company’s duty of care extends to wherever a staff member is in the world when they are away on business travel – whether for their security or their comfort, says Nicole Adonis, gm of FCM South Africa.

FCM’s data technology captures external and internal security information in real time and uses this to alert the company when travellers are in high-risk destinations. If an incident happens in a city or country where employees are travelling, the dashboard will automatically notify the company, making it possible to act quickly if a crisis occurs, says Adonis.

However, the General Data Protection Regulation from the European Union has added an extra layer of privacy as it has formalised processes further, says Paul East, chief operating officer, UK, Europe & Americas, Wings Travel Management.

“It’s vital that corporates and their TMC hold up-to-date information in traveller profiles as this is critical in a crisis.  But it’s also important that the traveller trusts us to ensure their data is safe. As a TMC we have always treated client data with absolute confidentiality”, says East.

Companies need to have a process in place so that they can locate their travellers quickly if there is an incident, check that they are safe and ensure that they have access to immediate assistance so that they are not stranded if a disaster strikes or major flight disruption occurs, says East.

But while keeping travellers’ data can be used to increase safety protocols, there is always a risk of data breaches where confidential or financial information can be stolen.

An online survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in the US, showed that nearly 70% of travel buyers said their business travellers had been affected by a payment-related data breach. The research also reveals that travel buyers believe the risk of fraud is growing, with two-thirds (68%) saying travel programmes face a greater risk of fraud today than they did two to three years ago.

“We continue to see an increase in data breaches. As part of integrated risk management strategies and a holistic enterprise risk management approach, IT security has become an integral part of risk management and the continuous build of resilience. The IT security strategy has to continuously advance and be a step ahead of the threats as they develop. IT security and the use of secure WiFi should no longer be options as most of these breaches take place through open WiFi,” says Anneline Booyse-Mafokeng, security director for Africa at International SOS. 

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