A Cyber Security Checklist for Real Estate Professionals

November 2, 2018

Cybercrime poses a devastating threat to any industry and business operation. It can be disastrous for industries that operate with more sensitive data, such as customer information and financial information. The real estate industry is not immune to this fact and the concern around cyber security issues is growing within the industry.

Real estate companies need to be diligent about the steps they are taking to protect not only their business and information, but their clients’ as well. Taking the right measures to keep information safe should be the cornerstone of every real estate office and professional in today’s vulnerable and fast-moving digital environment.

1. Consider Insurance

There are many kinds of insurance real estate professionals should look into in order to financially back up their assets and their reputation. Real estate insurance is a specifically crafted type of insurance that provides financial assistance for real estate professionals needing to pay legal fees in the event of litigation. Having real estate insurance will provide an added layer of protection and deflate some of the stress related to dealing with a cyber security breach.

2. Keep Clients Informed About Cybercrime

Email-based wire fraud continues to be a major threat against real estate companies and their clients. Forbes reported that a major rise in compromised emails led to the loss of millions of dollars in the real estate sector last year. Real estate professionals should be proactive and warn their clients in writing about the potential threat that fraud and cybercrime pose. This informative measure will provide the transparency needed to build a foundation of trust, and can also help you in the event of a lawsuit following a wire-fraud incident.

3. Train Employees

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving and no two are the same. There should be regular check-ins inside a real estate office to be kept up-to-date on the new and changing threats facing the industry. Semi-annual training can be set up for employees who need refreshers about what threats are being posed against their business and their clients’ information.

4. Check IT Vendors

It’s important to have the latest cyber security software installed in all computers in a real estate office and to safeguard everything from email passwords to Internet connections. But real estate professionals should do their homework by vetting their IT vendors before contracting them out. Once they start supplying their service, their cyber security measures could have a direct effect on the overall security and integrity of your business.

Do your due diligence by researching their reputation, their services and the steps they take to protect their clients. Always be sure to check third-party contracts and ensure that the IT vendor provides security warranties and doesn’t try to put limitations on liability.

While cyber security is an issue that will be around to some degree, there are steps that can be taken to keep your business and your clients’ information safeguarded.

About Associations Liability Insurance Agency (ALIA)

The ALIA Team (part of the Riverton Insurance Agency Corporation), specializes in helping real estate professionals find the affordable and comprehensive coverage they need, without the hassle. ALIA dates its roots to 1991 with the founding of FREA, Foundation of Real Estate Associates. In 2013, ALIA was created to work with multiple insurance companies thereby broadening the portfolio of products to customers. In 2017, ALIA was purchased by Riverton Insurance Agency Corp.