A security breach can have devastating effects for real estate businesses. Not only could you end up losing money or property, but it could affect your company reputation – especially if the data or funds of customers have been compromised.
All in all, it’s important to secure your business to avoid this devastation. Below are just a few tips on how you can protect your real estate business from security threats.
Use strong passwords
It’s important that you use strong passwords to all your log-ins to prevent them from being easily hacked. Passwords should contain a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. You should also make sure that they’re no less than 8 characters long.
Many companies use password managers to keep passwords safe. It’s important to regularly change passwords in case of an undetected data breach.
Use a VPN
When working from the office, all your agents may have a secure connection. But what happens when your agents are working out of the office? Many public networks and home private networks aren’t particularly secure and could be infiltrated by hackers. One way to stay secure is to always use a VPN.
A VPN (virtual private network) keeps your data hidden when using an unsecure network. They’re easy to set up and use and should be taken advantage of.
Keep your software secure
How secure are the applications that you use? Application security is something that should always be considered to prevent hackers from breaching. There are so many different ways in which software can become vulnerable. It’s safest to use trusted software and to regularly update it.
If you are using custom software, make sure that this is regularly updated by the developer to be as secure as possible. Never use old software that is no longer supported by the vendor – once software loses support, it no longer becomes protected against the latest cyberthreats.
Look out for email phishing tactics
A common way to extort information from companies is to use email phishing tactics. This often involves a fraudster posing as a client, supplier, bank, government official or other trusted person in an attempt to get you to give up personal information.
Never give away sensitive information like passwords via email unless you really trust the sender. It’s often worth double-checking that the person is who they say they are. Does the email address match to old emails they’ve used? Does the language and wording they use seem a little out of character? Have you tried ringing them to confirm? Such defensive measures can often help to prevent you from being a victim.
Have a cyberattack plan
Do you and your agents know what to do if a cyberattack does occur? It’s always useful for every business to put in place a cyberattack defence plan and to conduct drills. Cyberattacks such as ransomware attacks are particularly worth having a plan for – they can cause the most damage and often require you to act within a time limit, so it’s important that your team knows what to do immediately.
It could be worth taking a cybersecurity course or talking to IT advisors to help you come up with a plan.
Lock your vehicle
When driving to different locations, it’s important to secure your vehicle. It’s all too easy to forget to lock up when you’re in a rush and have your car stolen. Make sure that you get into a habit of always locking up.
Of course, making sure that all agents have a secure vehicle can prevent theft. Modern vehicles are much harder to steal and may contain features like immobilisers and trackers.
Keep your belongings safe
It’s worth also keeping items like laptops and phones safe. Such gadgets can be valuable and may be stolen by an opportunistic criminal if you’re not careful.
Try to keep these items stored in a secure location at home or in your office and keep them close to you when out and about. Don’t leave laptops on car seats while conducting viewings or valuations – this could invite a thief to break in and steal it. Similarly, if you’re working in a coffee bar or somewhere public, be careful of leaving your belongings on the table while going to the toilet or ordering coffee.