Cybersecurity is a hot topic right now… and has been for a while. Why? Because everything is online, on the web, and in the cloud. People’s personal and private information is not always kept private for those who know how to find it. This may make you wary of using electronic means within your work as a property manager, but you should absolutely utilize those tools… as looks as you employ safe and secure practices.
Property Managers Need Strong Cybersecurity
“Think for a moment about the data that’s collected on the standard rental application or lease agreement.” Obviously, much of that is sensitive information for the tenant or renter, and some of it may even put you at risk, too. As things usually proceed, having that kind of information on those agreements is fine. However, if that were to be released into the wrong hands, then a lot would go downhill fast. Those applicants trust that you will handle their information in a secure way, but without a solid investment in cybersecurity, you may be offering up their identities to whoever can get into your electronic system.
Obviously, nobody wants that to happen. Not only does that put the details of your tenants or renters at risk, but it endangers your business, too. If people are having their information stolen and misused, then they will be, understandably, upset about the situation and may place the blame on you, possibly in a public forum (online or otherwise).
More than that, though, you yourself are at risk for this same situation to happen to you. If most of your financial dealings are electronic (as most are, and should be, these days), then you are in danger. “From rent payments and security deposits to payments to contractors, think about the impact that it would have on your business for the security of those accounts to be compromised.” What would it mean for you and for your business if that were to happen without warning?
Rather than waiting to see what the fallout is like, take precautions now so that you have a strong cybersecurity front. Obviously there is a lot of sensitive materials that you would not like to see stolen from your company or from those who rent from you. Whether you have a small or a large business, you are at risk for this unless you take steps today to prevent it.
One such step is to learn the truth of many misconceptions that ensnare other property managers. For example, as mentioned above, the size of your operations doesn’t change the fact that your data is at risk. If you have a small business, that does not make you ‘safe’ from hackers’ attempts. In fact, “71% of cyberattacks take place in companies with less than 100 employees.” Therefore, the majority of these attacks are actually perpetrated against smaller companies. This is typically because they don’t think to hire someone who can handle IT and/or electronic security, so if you don’t have an employee working on this already, make sure to get to it.
Wondering what kind of info these people might be after? “68% of small businesses store email addresses, 64% store phone numbers, and 54% store billing addresses—all of which is digital currency that’s in high demand.” It’s things that you might not think are valuable. If you have protected credit card and social security numbers but keep this other data unsecured, then you are still not doing your due diligence as a property manager. Cybersecurity means covering all of your bases, even if they seem less significant to you.
Some common attacks to look for and address are “email scams, phishing, viruses, trojan horses, and botnets.” You’ve probably encountered one or more of these situations on your personal email or computer in the past. The best way to defend against them is to learn to recognize them when they appear, and then how to quickly and effectively neutralize them. We will delve more into this topic next week. In the meantime, consider SKYLINE Property Management & Accounting Software to protect you business and its information. This powerful system has the features you need to not only manage all that data, but to keep it out of the wrong hands. What do you have to lose?