Modern technology has brought a number of advantages in efficiency, cost and time savings and capabilities to do large scale business on small-scale budgets. Unfortunately, the same systems that allow us to gather information and store it in easy-to-access communications hubs are increasingly attractive to would-be criminals who trade in sensitive data and personal information. Given these trends, it’s only natural that both CRE professionals and their clients have concerns regarding security of data.
Were we Safer Before Tech
While the recent news stories of Trojan horses and cloak-and-dagger type Internet hacker rings make for good news fodder, it turns out that information security isn’t just a modern concern. Data pirates have been around well before the first green colored blinking cursor started making its way into modern day households.
Private information regarding tenants, tax issues, revenues and other sensitive data was previously stored via hardcopy. When updated or replaced as the information became obsolete, these paper copies made their way to a physical trash can, rather than an electronic recycle bin on your homescreen. Thieves and those looking to take advantage of security loopholes would simply rifle through a dumpster instead of engaging in cyber attacks. While shredding and proper disposal of documents did much to alleviate these concerns, it was still a manual process and subject to ongoing maintenance and human adherence to document retention and destruction policies.
Just How Safe is Your Data
In the modern technological era, you may be surprised to learn that the options for data safety and security are more numerous than ever before. Sophisticated property management companies and property management software solutions providers have multiple encryption and passcode redundancies built into their systems. While information may be available on a cloud-based system, these Internet locations can only be accessed by those with appropriate permissions.
Sending and receiving data is also safer than ever. Previously, paper files could be compromised at any point along their route of physical transportation. Today, files are sent encrypted through a variety of methods. Hard tokens, where employees have physical devices that generate random passcodes, are just one method to make it difficult for sensitive data to get into the wrong person’s hands. Technology has given us a wide variety of solutions for securing your information, but this security is still dependent on proper implementation.
Pick your Partners Wisely
While the technological options are available on the market, not all property management providers are created equal when it comes to strict adherence of information security best practices. Given the level of sensitivity of information, including personal information, CRE professionals maintain on their portfolio properties and tenants, users of these services should demand that their provider of either software based or human property management solutions have high standards for implementing the newest and most reliable data security measures.
Personal comfort with your data being secured isn’t the only concern. Increasingly those that collect, trade or store personal data of others are being held accountable under civil and criminal laws designed to protect consumers. In short, a failure of your property management partner to maintain proper systems can create liability and costs for unwary owners.
Data and information security will always be a hot-button issue of concern for those who utilize this information for business, including CRE professionals. Whether antiquated methods with physical paper copies or newer, electronically stored documents, systems for security are only as good as the company implementing them. Given this, commercial real estate owners should take care in selecting property management partners who take the issue of security seriously and have a good track record in the information privacy area.