Think about all of the data your property management company collects, uses and stores. Now think for a moment about what would happen if an unauthorized party were to gain access to that data. Security breaches occur to businesses of every shape, size and industry, and they can cause much more than just a minor headache. In fact, some companies suffer so much financial and reputational damage, they can never recover. Here’s how can you avoid becoming the next victim.
First, develop, formalize and document your company cyber-security plan and policies. This should be comprehensive and cover everything from secure password policies to step-by-step instructions on how to respond to a security breach. If your property management company allows employees to use their own personal devices for work purposes, be sure to implement a strong BYOD security strategy and clearly communicate that with all team members.
Once you’ve documented your approach, the best place to begin protecting your property management company from hackers is to implement strong, secure password practices. Employees should be required to change their passwords on a regular basis and instructed on how to create passwords that are difficult to hack. For instance, strong passwords include a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
You might also want to considerutilizing a multi-factor authentication strategy through which employees must enter more than one password or passcode in order to gain access to the network. This adds an extra layer of protection and makes it more difficult for cyber-attackers to successfully breach your system.
Next, make sure you leverage available technology to your advantage. The fact is, hackers are getting smarter and more sophisticated in their techniques. They’re using the latest technology to carry out their attacks, which means you should be arming your property management company with the same modern tools. If you haven’t already, investing in monitoring software, anti-virus and automated incident response is recommended.
You should also be taking measures to proactively protect your data. You can further strengthen your property management company’s risk posture by being strategic about the data you own, use, share and store. For instance, carefully select who is allowed to access sensitive data, make sure all data is encrypted, avoid hanging on to records you don’t need and store important data securely off-site. And remember to always back up your systems so that in the event of a successful breach, you can restore what’s been corrupted and mitigate damages.
And lastly, educate your employees. One of the biggest security threats to businesses today isn’t the hackers; it’s the people who work there. Train everyone on what to look for and how to spot things like phishing scams and other social engineering techniques. The more informed your team is and the more proactive you are at protecting your network, the better you’ll be able to avoid, withstand and recover from cyber-attacks.