Top 4 Real Estate Trends For 2014

Virtual office

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Many real estate agents have already switched to the virtual office and this number should increase in 2014. The ability to work remotely is greatly increasing efficiency and productivity. It's also a huge reduction in cost as real estate agents no longer have the costs of office space rental, storage, expensive hardware, etc. Communication can be broadcast via cloud services and video messaging. Document management can be enhanced via cloud services such as Google Drive. Transaction management can be performed using cloud services such as Basecamp. Files and documents can be scanned and stored in cloud services such as Box and Dropbox. And all of this can be accomplished from any location that has internet access.


 

Top 5 Real Estate Security Tips

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As a real estate agent, security is a high priority, but there are many security features that we tend to overlook simply because of convenience or because of a lack of knowledge about the features. But you don't have to be tech guru these days to have top-notch security. Powerful security programs are available to everyone, and are much easier to use than security programs in the past. And there are many security features that everyone should activate in order to keep data safe. In this article we will take a look at the top 5 real estate security tips.



 

Staying Connected In Real Estate

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Staying connected in real estate is essential for productivity. As cloud computing, mobile and social trends have changed the way real estate agents handle their business, the entire industry has taken notice of the many benefits the trends have brought. Now it's not uncommon at all to hear of real estate agents with virtual offices- working from wherever they are, working from home and handling all of their business on the go. Here are the top 3 trends for real estate and how they are affecting real estate agents.



 

How to integrate Google Drive to Box

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Cloud services have practically revolutionized the real estate industry. From document management to collaboration to staying connected- cloud apps provide the features that make real estate agents more productive and efficient. Google Drive and Box are two of the most popular cloud services for real estate agents. In this article, we will take a look at Google Drive and Box are used in real estate, and how real estate agents can have their data from Google Drive synced to Box in order to create an easily searchable database, as well as to create a secure backup of all files and documents in case of data loss.


 

Maintaining Mobile Security In Real Estate

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As real estate agents migrate more of their business to mobile and remote work, they need to be aware of the security risks that come along with mobile use. Many real estate agents are self-employed or independent contractors, while others work for large real estate corporations. In a large corporation, you will find many strict mobile policies that agents must adhere to when using mobile devices for company tasks. Often there is a full-scale "Bring your own Device" (BYOD) plan in effect. This policy covers all aspects of the mobile device usage and the company's management, monitoring and maintenance policies (if any) that are in effect for a company BYOD implementation.

Defining a mobile policy

When creating a mobile policy, the policy should include information pertaining to cloud services and apps that are used by real estate agents to perform company tasks. How these services and apps are accessed from the mobile device and what data users are allowed to access through these devices. All Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps that will be used in the agent's line of work should be clearly defined in the mobile policy.

Third-party cloud providers are sometimes needed to perform various tasks that other programs and software are unable to do. A section defining the use of these third-party vendors should be implemented into the mobile policy. For instance, if you choose a specific cloud provider to perform a service for you, you expect that cloud provider to handle the aspects of the project. But if that cloud provider enlists the help of separate cloud provider to perform some of the tasks on the project, this could cause a security risk as you will not be aware of the third-party vendor's involvement and will be unable to thoroughly examine the vendor's security features. 

Real estate data loss can occur at any time

As a real estate agent, you probably use multiple cloud services- Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive are three of the top choices for most real estate agents. But how secure is that data? Notes, photos and audio clips that are created and stored in Evernote, Documents that are uploaded or created and stored in Google Drive, and large files such as presentations or videos that are stored in Dropbox- all of this data could vanish in an instant. Sometimes data loss occurs due to accidents and human error, while other times it happens due to malicious deletion such as hacking or revenge. But this the cloud, you say. It's all backed up, right? The answer is yes...to a point. Many cloud providers offer data recovery options for a certain amount of time, typically 30 days. So if you accidentally delete an important file (contract, financial record, transaction, etc.), and don't catch the missing file for over 30 days, it can be gone forever. If a malicious hacking occurs and the attacker deletes important data. Or a disgruntled employee in an act of revenge. And yes, sometimes the cloud provider's automated system wrongfully flags a user for a ToS violation, which can result in data loss, even if the account is eventually restored.

How to sync cloud services and create secure cloud backup with cloudHQ

There is a perfect solution to protect real estate agents from data loss- cloudHQ. The cloudHQ system works by replicating files between multiple cloud services. Here is a handy link to all of the cloud services that cloudHQ is compatible with, as well as the detailed instructions on how to set up sync between various cloud services. You can choose which cloud services you wish to use for a sync pair- for instance, if you think it would be useful to have all of your Evernote notes automatically popup in Google Drive, you can set up a sync between Evernote and Google Drive. Or maybe you want all of your Google Drive documents to automatically popup in Dropbox. That's as simple as creating a sync pair between Google Drive and Dropbox. And guess what- if you set up BOTH sync pairs, you will have all of your Evernote notes sent to Google Drive, plus all of your Evernote notes and Google Drive documents sent to Dropbox. This creates a very useful sync, as well as a complete backup of all your work in Dropbox.

You should create mobile and data security policies, which clearly outline all security implementations to eliminate all potential threats, vulnerabilities and possibilities of data loss. Mobile devices can be lost or stolen, and data compromised. Cloud account security can be breached and data can vanish in the blink of an eye. But with the cloudHQ cloud data backup system churning tirelessly away, creating and protecting a complete secondary copy of all company data, businesses can rest assured that data loss will never be a problem. CloudHQ is the solution.

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Cloud Integration With Box In The Real Estate Cloud

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Making cloud services play nice with each other can be a difficult task if you don't know the tricks of the trade. Real estate agents often use multiple cloud services and apps to perform their daily tasks, including Evernote, Google Drive and Box.

Box is one of the top cloud storage services available to real estate agents, and many prefer to use it because of the its easy access, simple interface and top-notch security. Box is HIPAA and HiTECH compliant, which makes it a strong choice for real estate agents that deal with confidential data and sensitive information.

Box has a mobile app which allows real estate agents to access their data from any mobile device, at any location that has internet access.

However, sometimes real estate agents find themselves overwhelmed by having all of their data spread out across multiple cloud services. All their notes, checklists, audio clips and photos stored on Evernote, documents and other files stored on Google Drive and large files such as videos or presentations stored on Box- it can be a confusing hassle to try to find files with such disorganization. But luckily there is one cloud service that allows real estate agents to automatically have their data sent to one centralized location (in Box). This cloud integration service is called cloudHQ and is one of the leading cloud integration services known for reliability, stability and affordability. In the sections below, we will take a look at how to integrate Evernote and Box, Google Drive and Box, and how to integrate multiple services to create a centralized database of all of your cloud files.

Integrating Evernote and Box

Evernote is a real estate agent's main tool of choice for quickly and easily taking notes, snapping photos or snagging audio clips. To setup Evernote to Box, simply sign up for cloudHQ and go to thecloudHQ wizard here. You can find the detailed instructions here, but for now, I'll give you a quick idea of how easy this is to setup.

From the sync wizard page, you will see two blank boxes towards the top of the page and a many icons of various cloud services at the bottom of the page. Look for the Evernote icon and drag it to the first box. You will be asked to authorize your Evernote account to allow cloudHQ to integrate your data, and then you will be returned to the sync wizard page. Now you will drag the Box icon to the box on the right and go through the authorization process with Box. You will only have to authorize one time for each cloud service. Once you have authorized Box, you will be taken to an options page where you can change options such as what file format you want to have your Evernote notes exported to Box in. You can choose from MS Word, PDF, TXT and Evernote format. If you would like additional formats, simply send cloudHQ an email and let them know, the cloudHQ system is very flexible and they can handle customized requests quickly and efficiently. You can also choose if you want your notes synced in real-time automatically or if you would rather sync manually.

That's all there is to it. Now all notes you create or add to Evernote will be automatically replicated to Box. All changes to existing files will be automatically replicated as well.

Integrating Google Drive and Box

Google Apps is like an office suite that follows you everywhere you go- giving you access to email, as well as the ability to create, edit, share and store documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It has the easiest and best collaboration features as well, allowing up to 50 users to collaborate and revise documents simultaneously.

You can check out the detailed instructions here, but pretty much it's the same process as described in the last section of this article. Instead of using the Evernote icon, obviously you will use the Google Drive icon this time. The rest of the process is pretty much the same. 

Integrating cloud services to create a centralized database

One of the great features of cloudHQ is that users aren't limited to a single sync pair. So if you want all of your Evernote notes to be automatically replicated to Box AND you want all of your Google Drive documents and files to be automatically replicated to box AND you want all your Gmail emails and attachments to be replicated to Box, it can happen as easily as setting up multiple sync pairs. Now you have a centralized database in Box that contains all of your emails and attachments, all of your Evernote notes and all of your documents from Google Drive! This is very useful for simple searching of files and organization.

Depending on which plan you are using, you can have up to 10 sync pairs at a time. And you can even have multiple accounts of the same cloud service. So if you want to replicate files from one Box account to another Box account, you can do that.

You can check out the cloudHQ service by activating your free 15-day free trial here. This way, you don't have to put any money down and you can decide if cloudHQ is the right fit for your real estate needs.

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How To Prevent Real Estate Data Disasters

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Real estate agents are migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers and you probably already use at least some cloud services, whether you realize it or not. Do you take notes with Evernote? Create documents with Google Drive? Share files using Dropbox? Manage projects using Basecamp? Access email through Gmail? If so, then you are already using cloud services. But with all of the benefits that these cloud services bring to real estate agents comes added risk. Not everything goes perfect in the cloud and sometimes there are instances of data becoming unavailable or completely lost and deleted. In this article, we will take a look at what you need to know as a real estate agent to protect your data from becoming lost or stolen and how you can still access your data even if your cloud provider's site goes down or locks you out of the account.

Unavailable data

There are many reasons why you may not be able to access your data. The big one of course is data loss, but we will take a look at that issue in the next section. Other reasons include:

  • Disgruntled or recently-fired employee looking for revenge accesses account and changes authentication, hides or removes files, etc.
  • Account is wrongfully flagged by cloud hosting provider for ToS violation
  • Human error (accidental misplacement or deletion of files
  • Cloud provider downtime or maintenance

Well, cloudHQ provides synchronization between cloud services just for that reason- in case you cannot access your data. So if you're using Google Drive as your main real estate account but it goes down for maintenance or locks you out of the account for any reason, you will still have a complete backup of all of your data on a separate cloud service such s Dropbox or Box.

Data loss

Data loss is one of the biggest disasters that can hit a real estate agent. Just imagine all of your contracts, transaction documentation, photos, legal documents, confidential client information and other sensitive files suddenly wiped out. Sure, you MIGHT be able to go back to each client and get the necessary signatures and documentation again...AND go back and take photos again...AND file the necessary paperwork through the clerk again...AND whatever else is needed to get back on track. But even if (and that's a big IF) you are able to recoup all of your lost documents and files, it will take a lot of time. You can lose sales during this time, and even worse- customer satisfaction. Once the bad reviews start hitting the internet and spreading between friends, it can be an ugly runaway train with no positive end in sight.

Luckily, cloudHQ provides an excellent cloud backup service that is specifically designed to protect real estate agents from losing ANY of their data. That's right, not one single file will be lost if you take advantage of cloudHQ's backup service. Here's how it works:

Let's say that you use Dropbox (or Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Evernote, etc.) for your main real estate cloud storage. This is where you have all of your important data located. But you experience a data loss incident. If you don't have cloud data backup, you will be in a world of hurt and the process of recovering all of your lost data must get started, taking your focus away from marketing and gathering leads. But if you have cloudHQ, you can use the great cloud backup service to create an automatic and continuous backup between Dropbox and a separate cloud service, such as Box, Google Drive, etc. Your data in the main account disappears, so what do you do? No problem, you simply login to the backup account and restore all the lost data within minutes.

Protect your data from data loss now by using cloudHQ's cloud data backup service. Once the data has disappeared and you realize there was no backup plan in place, you will only be able to wish you had this service. Be prepared. Sign up for the free trial now

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SAAS And Real Estate In The Cloud

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If you are a real estate agent that is into technology and the cloud, you are probably familiar with Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud. Many real estate agents already use SaaS in the cloud, and you probably already do in some form as well. Many  real estate agents that use SaaS are wary (and rightfully so) about a number of issues and challenges including security, cost, data backup and recovery and other possible disasters that could happen in the cloud. In this article, we will take a look at what SaaS is, how it is used in the real estate office and in the field and how to prevent any cloud disasters associated with SaaS from happening to you.

What is Saas?

Software as a Service apps are quickly becoming more popular in real estate brokerages everywhere. An SaaS app is software that is based in the cloud, so it performs the same functions as software installed on your computer, but you can access it from any device that has internet access instead of having to install software on all of your devices.

Some of the most popular SaaS apps that are used in real estate brokerages today are:

  • Evernote: Used for taking notes, snapping photos, clipping web articles, audio clips and much more.

  • Google Apps: This powerful document management suite allows real estate agents to quickly create, edit, delete, share, sign and save documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any mobile device or computer that has internet access.

  • Dropbox: The most popular cloud storage provider, offering free space, unlimited size file sharing, simple file sharing, strong encryption and security measures. 

  • Box: Similar to Dropbox, it offers free space, but does have file size limits. It also offers the strongest security measures as it is HIPAA and HITECH compliant.

  • Microsoft SkyDrive: Microsoft's cloud storage. If you have Windows 8, you are no doubt familiar with SkyDrive as much of the storage and apps are stored in the cloud on SkyDrive.

  • Basecamp: That's right, the premier project management tool in the world is SaaS. Based in the cloud, Basecamp provides real estate agents with all the tools they need to successfully manage cases and other projects from any location with internet access.

How secure are SaaS apps?

Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news first: 1 out of 3 Companies Lose Data in SaaS. Okay, so now you're thinking that SaaS is not secure, right? Wrong. The sad fact is- human error still accounts for the number one reason for data loss in the cloud. And unfortunately, security cannot predict human error and therefore it is very hard to guard against it. But there is one cloud service that stands against human error, human stupidity and even purposeful malicious human deletion. This cloud service is cloudHQ

How cloudHQ is the solution to data loss

The cloudHQ backup and replication service works by providing a complete backup of all of your cloud data to a backup account on a completely separate cloud service. So if your brokerage uses Dropbox for all of your cloud storage needs, the backup account could be on a separate cloud service such as Google Drive or Box. You choose which folders and files you wish to have backed up and cloudHQ does the rest. All new files added to the shared folders in the main account will be instantly replicated to the backup account. So now if you or your coworkers or anyone else with access to the cloud account accidentally (or purposely) deletes files or important documents, there will always be a secondary copy of all of your files and documents on the backup account. Recovering files is quick and easy and only takes minutes. Most cloud services offer file recovery, but only for short periods up to 30 days. After that period of time, your data is gone forever, unless you have a secure backup system like cloudHQ. Human error is prevalent and is still the number one cause of data loss in the cloud, but with cloudHQ, you can combat human error and defeat it easily by maintaining a safe and secure backup of all data in the cloud.

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Why Cloud Integration And Backup Are Important For Real Estate

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The surge in cloud computing and real estate has increases exponentially in recent years. As mobile and cloud trends have pushed the industry closer to remote revolution, a growing number of cloud apps have helped make the migration process simpler and quicker. Real estate agents are looking for apps and services that will increase their sales, while reducing time needed to accomplish tasks and save money at the same time. The cloud has offered up numerous services and apps that do just that. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best cloud apps for real estate, and why cloud integration and cloud backup are so important for real estate.



 

Why Use Evernote For Real Estate?

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Evernote is the multi-tool of a thousand uses for real estate agents. As more real estate agents turn to mobile and remote work environments, the more they depend on enterprise cloud apps such as Evernote. Mobile real estate business is performed on a daily basis by real estate agents on the go, and Evernote is one of the most popular mobile cloud apps used by agents. Notes can be quickly jotted down as text or audio. For organization, checklists such as to-do lists can be easily set up from any computer or mobile device.