Top 5 Real Estate Security Tips

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.

Password Management

Passwords are the basic line of defense for most real estate agents to access their online accounts. But a weak password can be as bad as not having a password at all. With the sophisticated technology that many hackers use today, simple passwords can be cracked within seconds.

1. Create strong passwords

Creating a strong password should be common sense, but since the word "password" is still the number one most commonly-used password it's obvious that there are still many people that need to increase their knowledge of internet security. Here are a few helpful hints to help create a perfect password:

  • Use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • A longer password is more secure and harder to crack.
  • Don't use easy-to-guess words such as your dog's name, your birthdate or social security number, your street name, etc.

2. Secure passwords

Real estate agents should create a list of passwords and secure it. This can be accomplished on most computers and devices by enabling the single password option. This stores all passwords behind a single password so it makes it easier to remember. However, this also means that a malicious hacker only needs to acquire a single password to gain access to all accounts. A single sign-on service such as OneLogin can help manage your identity and keep it protected behind a single password.

Secure hardware disposal

There will be times when new hardware and electronics must be purchased- a new phone, new laptop or desktop computer. You may wish to sell your old device, but you don't want to leave the confidential information on it. There are several ways to accomplish this.

  • Hard drives can be removed from the hard drive and destroyed.
  • Data can be removed from a PC hard drive by using a high-powered nuker program such as Darik's Boot and Nuke to wipe the information from it.
  • On a Mac, this can be accomplished easily. The computer should be started by inserting the Mac OS X install disc and holding down "C." From the Installer menu, open the Disk Utility, choose the erase option and then choose the "7-Pass Erase" feature.

Information Security

Real estate agents deal with confidential and sensitive data on a daily basis. All of this information must be protected, as the theft of such data could lead to lawsuits if it is determined that the real estate agent did not properly protect the client’s confidential information.

  • If you use cloud services to store or transmit confidential information, check the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service pages to ensure that the data will be protected once it leaves your hard drive.
  • Use third-party encryption services to encrypt your information before it ever leaves your hard drive. This extra step offers a much-needed boost to the security of confidential data.
  •  If you outsource or sub-contract any parts of a project which calls for a contract, be sure that information security policies are clearly outlined in the contract. This can help protect you at a later date if something goes wrong.

Mobile Security

Mobile devices should be protected with a variety of security features if available. Some mobile devices offer basic password protection, while others offer additional measures such as design verification, app verification, fingerprint scanning and more. Pick one that no one else will be able to figure out. Fingerprint scanning, while it seems cool, can be bypassed with your backup password, so make sure that the backup password cannot be easily guessed.

Mobile devices can also be used to improve security for online accounts by using two-step verification. This means that anytime someone tries to login to one of your accounts, a verification code will be sent to your mobile device. So if an unauthorized person gets your password and attempts to access your online accounts, they will be unable to without also having access to your mobile device.

Cloud Data Backup

Real estate agents typically store much of their data online, and this includes important files such as contracts, transaction documents and client contact information. If any of that data vanishes, this can cause lost sales, wasted time recovering or re-creating documents, lawsuits, business demise and much more. But all it takes is the implementation of a secure backup plan to avoid these unpleasant scenarios. This is why the professionals at cloudHQ decided to create the ultimate backup solution.

The cloudHQ backup system works by replication. Let's say that you use Dropbox to store many of your real estate documents and other files. If these files get accidentally or maliciously deleted, it can seriously damage your real estate business. But using cloudHQ, you can have all of your files from Dropbox replicated to a secondary cloud service such as Box or SkyDrive. So if any files get deleted from Dropbox, you can still access all of the files in Box, and you can quickly restore your Dropbox account back to its original condition.

The cloudHQ system works with a variety of cloud services, and they are currently offering a free fully-functional 15-day trial for businesses and professionals to test cloudHQ and determine if it is right for their company.

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