Real Estate Regulatory Compliance

Cyber Risks and Data Security Risks

Cyber Attacks, Data Breaches, Data Loss and Regulatory Issues

Managing Risk in the Real Estate Industry


Compliance, IT Services San Diego

Compliance has been a hot topic over the last few years. Governance, risk and compliance also know, as GRC will continue to evolve in this era of financial regulatory reform thus increasing standards as well as the complexity and rigor for a variety of industries. As cyber criminals continue to become more creative and sophisticated in their hacks and cyberattacks, the destructive nature of each attack will increase at rates that are unforeseen. What’s more is that unsuspecting, often ill-prepared businesses are the ones who are being targeted.

The truth is… hackers penetrate the systems of businesses that are weak and vulnerable… the ones who are out of date, unsecure, have no policies or procedures, have no real IT infrastructure and have no proactive ways to monitor and maintain their systems… these are the main targets for cyber criminals.

Historically cyber criminals have targeted industries including, healthcare, financial services and retail to gain access to financial data… however, that has all changed. Today companies in the real estate industry have become more and more reliant on technology used to create, share and store information… and as their reliance on technology continues to increase so does their risk.

The reality is, technology helps a business grow… without technology your business reduces the likelihood that you will stay competitive and remain competitive…


Real Estate Regulatory Compliance

Creating, sharing and storing information combined with an increased reliance on technology has made real estate professionals an easy target for cyber criminals. Real estate firms, property managers, brokers and agents collect a significant amount of confidential private and sensitive personal information about the individuals they deal with each day. For example, purchase agreements, buyer representation agreements, credit reports, lease and rental agreements all contain personal information… the exact type of information that cyber criminals target. Still wondering how this might have an impact on your business? Then it is highly likely you are not well within maintaining the standards needed for to be compliant and stay compliant!

Cyber Attacks, Data Breaches, Data Loss and Regulatory Issues

How data loss occurs. Lost or stolen equipment including laptops can result in losses… here’s how, real estate agent loses an unencrypted laptop and on that laptop confidential information was stored about both clients and the agent. What’s the outcome? When a laptop is not encrypted and does not include any other anti-theft technologies the likelihood of data loss is high no matter how you look at this situation.

How data is easily breached. A very quick and easy example is free Wi-Fi. Give a hacker a laptop and some free software and just like that… they can intercept data being shared on a Wi-Fi network, similar to someone overhearing a conversation at an event or party.

Let’s say you are a REALTOR at a coffee shop planning a day with your homebuyer. You visit multiple MLS listings on the Internet to map out your destinations and while you do so is your hacker. What ever you are doing on any device while using free Wi-Fi the hacker has mirrored your equipment in that they see exactly what you see! What that means for you is major data loss and liability risk to you and your real estate firm. As another example say that for instance you are reviewing a purchase agreement which contains every little detail about the homebuyer or seller and in an instant you having the making for someone falling prey to identify theft. THE REASON? The hacker sees what you see!

Just because your business is a smaller business does not mean you are not a target for hackers and cyber criminals in fact it is just the opposite.


Cyber Risks and Data Security Risks

More Ways Data is Breached, not a complete list…

Hackers can penetrate, your operating systems (especially when updates and patches are not kept up to date), your Internet browsers, through malware, spyware, ransomware, not setting limits to admin login areas, outdated software, weak passwords, opening spam messages (nuisance emails and malicious emails), through search engine sponsored links (advertisements), through P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing, not disconnecting your computer from then internet (when not in use), not encrypting sensitive documents, downloading free items (screen savers, wallpapers, games, etc.), through wireless networks (unsecured and not set-up right), not disabling guest accounts, using Wi-Fi hotspots and Wi-Fi printers and lax security… this is not even the complete list! Businesses need to be smart in the way the manage their passwords, email, users, printers, Wi-Fi, applications, their cloud environments, network services providers and so on…

Security Alert, Passwords

Often times the only thing standing between the hacker and your data are your password(s)… so, remember this… if it is easy to remember it IS EASY to HACK! Repeated passwords (ones you use on multiple accounts) and common passwords (some variation of another password with 123 or iloveyou added to the end) are some of the most highly used by consumers and businesses… a repeated password equates to hack one and get them all!

Managing Risk in the Real Estate Industry

The reality of compliance standards becoming more stick is inevitable… considerations for all businesses in the real estate industry include how you will meet existing challenges and how you will prepare for new compliance challenges in the future. Things that should be considered for being and staying compliant include:

  1. Documentation of Policies, Procedures and Processes (As Documentation is a Crucial Component of Compliance)
  2. Clearly Understanding Compliance Requirements
  3. Monitoring Devices and Systems for Compliance
  4. Continuous Review of Policies and Procedures
  5. Auditing Compliance-Related Tasks and Processes

These are only a few of the factors you must consider as a business in the real estate industry. Dealing antitrust, mortgage fraud, social media, rental scams, disclosing, and many other compliance related issues are something all real estate professionals face. Be aware and take the necessary steps to protect your business and the people who do business with you!

Direct Tech, Your Managed Service Provider for helping you Stay Compliant

To aid your business in meeting compliance standards you need regulatory strategies that keep your business secure… and to do that you must be proactive! It is a necessity not a luxury that you ensure proper steps are taken to keep your business assets safe, secure, and functioning effectively and efficiently to remain compliant… and to do so you may want to consider using a managed service provider.

Managed service providers (MSP) offer a wide range of IT solutions including network, application, system, and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises. MSP’s focus on management services that can include management of application services providers (ASPs); web hosting companies, network service providers (NSPs), and many other IT solutions. If you need help getting your business on track in today’s virtual (vulnerable) environment call Direct Tech. They offer IT solutions to provide businesses with piece of mind.

Managed Service Provider for Keeping you Compliant

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Through proactive monitoring, maintenance and our fixed rate IT support service, Direct Tech can help you focus on running your business by ensuring your technology grows as your business grows and help you plan for the unexpected.

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