Multifamily property management has become more sophisticated over the years. Now, nearly every facet of the business incorporates technology in some way. We have automated HVAC systems, keyless entry for main entrances and individual units, and smart tech devices that control temperature and lighting. However, increased technology also means an increased risk for cybercriminals. How can you protect your property from cybersecurity threats?
Technology in Multifamily Property Management
Modern multifamily property management has changed drastically in the past decade. Property technology – “PropTech” – has undoubtedly made property management easier. A multitude of software programs and technology tools now allow property managers to seamlessly manage tenant payments, schedule maintenance, communicate with residents, and even control HVAC systems remotely. Property owners, investors, and property managers are increasingly reliant on these technologies. And while they make lives easier for both the tenant and the property manager, experts note the increased risk of cybersecurity threats.
Threats to Cybersecurity
Cybercriminals can access unprotected systems in a multifamily property. In their comprehensive “2020 Cyber Wellness Guide,” BOMA Canada writes, “The increase in smart systems provides a lucrative avenue for cyberattacks across your supply chain, and can leave you increasingly vulnerable as unauthorized parties can gain access to your systems or data through your vendors, or even their suppliers.” That is, our increasing reliance on technology consequently increases the risk of cyberattacks. These risks impact all smart systems, automated systems, and computer networks.
According to the BOMA study, an estimated 56% of all organizations had a security breach caused by one of their third-party contractors. One study found that as many as 50% of surveyed real estate companies “weren’t adequately prepared” to prevent or address a security breach. Whether from an internal source or external hacker, these breaches can impact both the property managers and tenants. Cybercriminals can access tenant and staff data, impact smart systems on the property, or access sensitive legal information.
As a property manager, it is vital to address cybersecurity issues within your networks.
Protecting Your Property from Cybercrime
The first step to securing your systems is to audit all technology and identify potential areas of risk. Create a comprehensive list of all technology used on the property, from automated property management software to smart tech in each unit. By creating a database of all PropTech used on your property, it will be easier to identify potential risks and respond to attacks if they happen.
Next, protect tenant data. As the property manager, you have access to your tenants’ sensitive personal data. Safeguarding this information is vital to protecting your tenants and your business. This data is a treasure trove for cybercriminals, so property managers are responsible for keeping it private.
Protecting tenant data is more than just a moral issue, however. Data breaches are increasing across the country, leaving companies and property managers vulnerable to potential lawsuits from tenants and clients. While auditing your security procedures might be costly, it’s nothing compared to a major lawsuit.
Taking Action on Cybersecurity Threats
Even if you think your business is too small or inconsequential to be targeted by cybercriminals, think again. 71% of all cyberattacks target businesses with fewer than 100 employees. And as a multifamily property management business, you possess valuable consumer data. Of course, as property management experts, most of us do not have a background in IT solutions. Even if we did address potential problem areas, there’s nothing we can do to secure those systems and prevent attacks. That’s where the professionals come in. Hiring IT and cybersecurity experts is well worth the cost. These experts can help identify any problem areas in your system, create privacy plans to keep your systems secure, and quickly address any security breaches.
Taking precautions against cyberattacks can save you both money and headaches. Consult with an IT specialist who can address cybersecurity concerns and create a plan to protect tenant and business data.
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