Our approach to data protection
Who we are
ResRequest provides a hosted Business Management software application that caters for Central Reservation, Property Management, Customer Relationship, Financial Management and Online Bookings. Our customer’s system is provided as a hosted solution, with the option to install at client-specified offline locations, which are logistically managed by our customer. Our customers capture and maintain their own data into their system. Our customers can opt to integrate their data to third party systems such as Point-Of-Sale or Financial Accounting systems. In addition to our application and connection services, our customers can make use of our training, data capture and consulting services.
ResRequest’s interview procedure is a rigorous selection process. Our new staffer induction includes training and awareness of our security policies and regular notices are released in our internal communication and via our management team.
Our team are provided safe and secure methods to perform their operational responsibilities, while keeping our customers systems and data safe. Our staff are required to review safety protocols and implement secure processes in accordance with our signed NDA which protects customer data from being distributed. Staff are required to install antivirus software and resinstall terminals after any suspicious activity. We have a technical support team available to our staff to assist them in implementing and maintaining security standards on their workstations.
Who our clients are
Our customers are hotel owners and travel agents. Our users include our customers and additional users who are enquiring about or booking accommodation in our customer’s ResRequest system. Our software gives our customers the ability to collect information about their clients. We do not own or manage our customers bookings, we provide the software platform for our customers to process bookings and manage related business functions.
Protection of our customer data
What data is kept
Any data that a customer and its users record into our systems will only be processed, by us, in accordance with our customer’s instructions. We do not use, forward, copy or port our client’s data without explicit permission from our customer. Related instructions from our customer may only be taken from the customer’s nominated system administrator or business owner / identified stakeholder/s.
In compliance with new regulations, when customers do ask us to forward data to additional parties, we endeavour to make the customer aware of data protection compliance such as GDPR.
Connection partners participating in our API connection programme, ResConnect, are asked to sign our Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This NDA prohibits the partner from porting data outside of the agreed terms between ResRequest and the partner, or our customer and the partner.
Electronic connections, automated interfaces and manual database pushes to third party vendors, dependent on ResRequest data
We interface to many 3rd party platforms for our customers value add, for example: guest survey interfaces, financial accounts interfaces, connections to Online Travel Agents, booking engines, point of sales systems, telephone systems, payment gateways and business analytics. These systems are dependent on accessing data from our customer’s system to process our customer’s operational needs. In these cases, a separate NDA signed between the collector (you) and the interface partner / third party service provider, is recommended.
Although we use technology and experience to protect these connections, please be aware that no security measures are perfect or impenetrable. Additionally, we cannot control the actions of the recipients you connect to, who may forward them to other third parties or otherwise disclose them. Therefore, we cannot and do not guarantee that your interface data will not be viewed by unauthorised persons. We recommend reviewing your third parties’ terms & conditions and privacy policies.
Data policy for business communication or issue resolution
If you are a system user, we need to be able to coordinate upgrade notices, training advisories, product and service notifications. For these purposes we may source your name or contact details from you, your system administrator and business stakeholder/s, or via your ResRequest system. Contact details include your email, telephone, Skype name, physical / postal address.
We may also source information that is about you, but does not identify you, such as traffic data, logs, referring/exit pages, date and time of your visit to the website, error information, and other communication data and the resources that you access and use on our sites and / or about your internet connection, the equipment you use to access our website and usage details. Situations where we collect and source information about you are:
- Notifications of training or product information relevant to you and your business
- When we need to notify you of any data breaches
- When we need to identify and resolve any errors or issues on your system
- When we need to advise you of any misuse of your system
Additional areas where your data is collected
Additional areas where we collect your data include:
- Information you provide when you request for more information about our products and services via email, telephone or web enquiry
- Information you provide as part of an email or calendar invite with us
- Information you provide to draw up your license agreement, contract or invoice with us
- Subscriber ‘opt in’ option on our websites
- Trade shows where you have shown an interest in doing business together
- Our Finder’s programme where you have shown an interest to a finder to do business together
- Business partner channels where we understand we may be able to offer value to your business
- Automatically as you navigate through the website
The personal data we collect from you is required to enter into a contract with us, for us to perform our obligations under the contract, and to provide you with our products and services. If you refuse to provide such personal data or withdraw your consent to our processing of personal data, then in some cases we may not be able to enter into the contract or fulfil our obligations to you under it.
Offline server protection
We assist with the setup of licensed copies of ResRequest on an offline server owned and hosted by our customer. We do not accept responsibility for data breaches at the offline environment as we have no control of the server and server access at these locations. We recommend that customers seek assistance from security specialists to maintain secure infrastructures and processes at these offline locations.
Our subscriber policy
During our implementation we sign up users to our subscription services. We also take directives from the system administrator such as adding their users to our subscriber list.
We want our customers to feel like they’re receiving information that gives their business great value. To do this, each mailer includes an article that will promote better business practises or inform users about learning opportunities and new features. Email addresses and personal data that individuals consent to provide us with, is only used for contacting the individual with business related information. We do not port private information to other data collectors.
Should an individual wish to no longer receive this correspondence, they can unsubscribe at any time.
Our web services
ResRequest has a dedicated SAAS team. We host servers with recognised service providers. Our SAAS and development teams are constantly monitoring online platforms to ensure that our services are running security upgrades and to detect security breaches. This team is tasked with determining the companies defence systems and security, building the security infrastructure and implementing our web server security policies.
Our team also meet regularly with our senior development strategist and external consultant specialist to source ideas, discuss strategies and review any gaps in our security processes.
We will continue to promptly inform you of incidents involving your customer data. Please follow our Technical Twitter Support feed which is used to publish and provide updates of any incidents.
Incident notifications may also be sent by email, telephone, Skype or WhatsApp to you directly when / if they are directly relevant to you or your data.
Customer responsible usage
We ask our customers to implement secure and transparent data protection policies that meet data protection regulatory obligations. Should customers be in breach of this and be deemed to use personal data unlawfully, we reserve the right to suspend their license with immediate effect.
Does data protection legislation involve you?
Yes, ResRequest is the processor of data and you are a collector of data. As a data collector you are required to be compliant in respect of data protection acts such as the GDPR, which governs data collection on EU citizens and POPIA (pending data protection on RSA citizens) and others.
Implementing data protection strategies ensures that your business partners and customers feel comfortable doing business with you. It is important to understand the requirements of the GDPR and put policies and procedures in place that adhere to these data protection acts. Using search engines like Google and Bing, will point you to information about GDPR and legal teams / compliance companies that will ensure you are able to comply with global data protection standards.
What can you do?
If you work with international guests and partners you’ll need to store their data which means you need to understand and have strategies in place to comply with international data protection regulations. Here are some guidelines that can help you with compliance:
1.Understand the global market you work with and find out the specifics of the respective data protection acts, e.g. working with EU citizens requires referencing to the GDPR. When you review these regulations, consider if / how they differ from your current data protection strategies. A few practical examples of areas to review include:
1.1. Review how you seek, record, manage consent and whether you need to make any changes to that process. There may be many areas in your business to review, making an inventory list of those areas is a good idea.
1.2. Review your consent form, you will need to explain your lawful purpose for collecting the information you are asking guests for at sign in, e.g. regulatory information for medical emergencies.
1.3. Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights that individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format. The GDPR includes the following rights for individuals:
– the right to be informed
– the right of access
– the right to rectification
– the right to erasure
– the right to restrict processing
– the right to data portability
– the right to object
– the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.
1.4. Consider how you will manage the right of erasure especially considering the lawful basis of this such as a contact being linked to a valid invoice.
1.5. Consider how you will present profile data to the contact should they request right of access.
2. Consider the areas you curate and store personal data. Review your policies and processes in each of these areas.
3. Check for regular updates to regulatory information and review any gaps in your current processes.
4. Consult a lawyer or a qualified Data Protection Consultant to obtain data protection advice applicable to your business.
Our assistance to customers
Should you require any guidance or clarification from our team, our management and supervisory team are available to explain our best practise. Contact them direct or via our support team.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
This section details the various possible disaster scenarios, the likely impact, and the actions to be taken for recovery. It, furthermore, details the backups and redundancies procedure in place to ensure data integrity.
We provide multiple backup and disaster recovery options to ensure there is almost zero data loss. This has been achieved by the following:
- Production servers, based in a central location, are replicated in real-time to identical replicated servers in a secondary location (providing data centre and geographic redundancy).
- Production servers are backed up in full nightly (one year retention).
- Production server nightly backups are stored in archived server location (two year retention and independent geographic location to data centre).
Disaster recovery process
The following process should be followed in the event of a disaster. Communication and logging of the problem and resolutions steps are essential.
- Inform internal channels
- Create support ticket (used for updates and logging of recovery actions)
- Determine severity and extent
- Update internal channels
- Notify relevant external channels
- Resolve issue
- Inform internal and external channels
- Update ticket with resolution details and learnings
The following determines the extent of the issue and stakeholders to be notified:
The following section outlines the criteria and objectives of the backup solution. The goal is a fully robust backup regime that has multiple redundancies and no single point of failure.
- Assurance of backup data recovery with 24 hours data loss or less
- A high probability of backup recovery of backup recovery with no data loss
- No single point of failure/loss for daily backups
After server backup scripts have run, the backup script emails a transcript to ResRequest Support and a ticket is created automatically. These notification emails are checked daily to ensure all backups ran successfully without errors.
If the backup report emails show errors, these are addressed and backups re-run manually.
Details of recovery procedures for all possible disaster scenarios:
Loss of Data Centre or BOTH Production Servers
In the event of a loss of either geographical data centres, but not both, or both production servers either the production servers in Location A or replication servers in Location B will be unavailable.
Location B Unavailable
The loss of Location B will mean replication servers are not available. During the outage, and until replication can be restored and they catch up, recovery will be limited to the previous night’s daily backup.
Location A Unavailable
The loss of Location A has greater impact as the production server(s) will be unavailable.
Production functionality will be switched to the replicated servers in Location B if the outage is expected to last longer than two hours (the minimum time required to switch all functionality to the replication servers).
DNS propagation should take maximum 3 hours for a change over to the replication server.
Loss of Single Production Server (replication server available)
On the loss of a single production server, the production functions need to be switched to the replication server. On restoration of the production server, the server roles will be reverted.
Logging and Communication
All failures or loss of systems/functionality, no matter how trivial or rapidly resolved, are logged for future reference and reviewed to prevent a future similar issue and/or improve the speed of future recovery.
Simulated Event Tests
Disaster recovery plans are periodically tested and rehearsed to ensure the process of issue resolution is efficient in a live scenario.