Gary Eppinger, Global CISO & Corporate Privacy Officer, Carnival Cruise Lines
Please describe your position and role in the cruise industry.
Currently I am the Global Information Security Officer and Corporate Privacy Officer, covering cybersecurity Shoreside and Shipboard for our global corporation and its nine brands.
How long have you been in the cruise industry and what other roles/positions have you held?
I have been in the industry for 6 years and have had no other roles prior to this.
Please describe a contribution you or your company has made to the cruise industry that you are proud of.
Carnival, being the leading cruise company, has contributed many breaking advances in the cruising industry. However, the one I would like to describe is our Ocean Medallion platform within our Princess brand. Last November, we launched our customer medallion wrist band, which allows us to personalize cruising experience. This medallion replaces the room key cards which we’ve used for the last 20 years. Our customers can now open their cabin doors, purchase alcohol at one of our bars, and book spa packages, dining reservations, excursions, etc., all through their personal identifiable medallion.
In addition, our crew will be able to identify each of our guest preference. For example, a crew will know if you like jack and coke. Also, if you order a pizza on the lido deck, the pizza can be delivered to you no matter where you’re at on the ship. Lastly, all of your photos throughout the voyage can be easily accessed, because now we can identify you through face recognition.
Name a “highlight” in your career.
A highlight in my career has been to be able to build world class security organizations, one of which is Carnival Corporation. Security Compliance and Privacy teams are leading best practice organizations.
At GE, in addition to establishing their first global security organization, I also lead Six Sigma strategy for IT.
What do you believe is the most significant advancement in the cruise industry – specifically in your area of expertise?
Within the cruise industry, our most significant advancement has been to protect customer data. We have implemented several tools to allow us to better protect critical customer data, as well as incorporate data by leveraging encryption tools to minimize access to critical data. In addition, our ability to monitor the use of the data allows us the ability to react quicker when data is not properly being used or leveraged. However, I believe that there is still opportunity to continue to mature our ability in this space. We need to keep pace with our customer and industry demands.
What do you believe is the key to growth in your sector of the cruise industry?
I believe for us to continue to growing in cyber and maritime space, we need to attract and grow employees that understand both maritime and cyber, which is a unique space. As you may know, in 2022, it is predicted that there will be a shortage in cyber space. Therefore, its going to be highly important that maritime get to retain its cyber professionals.
What is the biggest challenge in the cruise industry as it relates to your sector and how would you address it?
Our biggest challenge in the cruising space that other industries don’t have to worry about, is to drive security across our fleets who leverage satellite for connectivity. This drives a differentiation for other industries that don’t have inventory fleets that are constantly moving. The more technology that we use to run and protect our ships, we are all still leveraging limited bandwidth through satellites.
Our industry is currently looking at technology that will enable our ships to have unlimited amount of bandwidth. This will change the game on how we deliver and protect customer applications.