If you employ electronic strategies to manage your property, or to work within your property management business in any way, then you need to understand the potential dangers associated with it. That is, in order to keep the information of your company and your residents or tenants safe, you have to be able to take appropriate measures against cyber risk. This begins with an understanding of who, exactly, is at risk and what you may be under threat of.
Protect Your Tenants and Renters from Cyber Risk
Companies as large as Sony and Target (as examples) have found themselves the victim of online “attacks.” Unfortunately, those who manage these attacks are not only after the money or information that comes with high-profile locations. Smaller businesses are certainly also at risk of having their electronic security breached. Some of these various companies had means of defense and protection before the attack and others did not. Either way, the result was the same, and changes needed to be made afterward to ensure future security.
The larger issue comes when a breach like this puts clients (and not only employees) in danger. If your property management database is exposed, then tenants’ or renters’ financial and personal information could be released. This greatly (and negatively) impacts their trust in you and will likely result in an exodus to another manager or location. “Every landlord, property manager, or real estate professional has access to (and stores) sensitive, confidential, personally-identifiable information on tenants and employees,” so learn to recognize the areas most in need of protection within your work.
Though paying rent and other bills electronically is convenient for everyone involved, it also exposes your clients’ finances to the unknowns of the world wide web. You shouldn’t take away this option completely as it will likely displease your tenants and renters, but at least make sure that you have the option for in-person payments available. This may be somewhat inconvenient for you, but it will put less strain on the situation if something ever happens to that electronic system.
Make sure that all important documents, leases, et cetera are all available in hard copy as well as electronically. In other words, ensure that you have physical forms of all crucial forms and other files rather than storing them all on the computer and/or online. If there is an issue with your hardware, even if it doesn’t involve hackers, you will still have that information safe and sound in an offline location.
So, within your technologies and electronic systems, how can you begin to really protect yourself from cyber risk? Experts stress that, at the very least, you should ensure that your insurance covers everything that you could possibly need. The policy necessary for this issue would be something along the lines of a “cyber liability insurance policy” and would ideally encompass any breach that you might experience. This will at least reassure your renters or tenants that there is some legal action working for them and will likely assuage some of your own fears, too, to have a “backup.”
In addition, there are steps that you can take to boost your protection from cyber risk. On any and all system computers, or at least for those that house sensitive information, ensure that there is functional and updated anti-virus software. It can’t just be any software, though, and in fact, this is how a lot of systems come under fire from viruses themselves. Installing an unknown “anti-virus software” from a web search is more than likely to do more harm than good. Instead, purchase a legitimate software after doing research on which will aid you and your clients the most. You should also check to see that your operating system is up to date, too.
If there is any chance of it being helpful, find an electronic security training course, information guide, or similar resource and pass it on to everyone who has access to the data. The better informed your employees are, the more they, and you, will be able to do to protect tenants and renters from any cyber risk.
To best protect everyone from losing time, money, or valuable data, you want to employ the most solid and powerful software system that you can. SKYLINE Property Management & Accounting Software is the tool for this job. SKYLINE is able to offer your property management work a huge boost without compromising safety. It manages and organizes all tenant and renter data as one of its dozens of functions, simplifying your day to day without simplifying its security. Can you afford to work with a less-versatile software?