Protecting your business from hackers is a hot topic these days. Property management companies are particularly fearful of becoming the next Target, and rightfully so. With all the data residents need to provide on lease applications, property management databases are full of sensitive information like credit cards, Social Security numbers, previous address information, and date of birth. It’s a gold mine for identity thieves.
With so much buzz over data security, we recently hosted a webinar for property management professionals titled, “Safeguard your Business – Strategies to Improve Data Security and Protect Resident Information”. In case you missed it, here are some of the tips PayLease’s security experts discussed with the audience.
Hire Trustworthy Employees
Responsible and honest employees are crucial to data security. Job hunters are on their best behavior during interviews so it is important to run background checks and call each candidate’s professional references. Prospective employees should have multiple rounds of interviews within your organization, preferably with multiple people within the company.
The people you hire are your first line of defense in protecting resident data. Train employees how to properly handle sensitive resident information like Social Security numbers, credit card information, etc. Limit the number of employees who have access to this data. Furthermore, employees also need to know computer usage policies and email best practices, so make sure that they are not exposing your computers to unnecessary risk.
Invest in Physical Security
Your office doesn’t need to be Ft. Knox, but exercising some simple precautions can go a long way. Keep files locked. Shred any documents containing sensitive data. Either purchase a shredder for the office or hire a 3rd party to destroy these documents. Install security cameras and a key card access system for rooms where sensitive information could be accessed. But before you install cameras, be sure you check the privacy laws in your area. Some state laws require that employees be informed of security cameras.
Strong passwords are the most important aspect of digital security. Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain an uppercase letter, a lower case letter and a special character. Never write down passwords and make sure you have multiple passwords for various systems.
Install a reputable antivirus software on all employee computers and make sure it runs daily. Research and choose a solution that is effective and fast, so it can run frequently on the computers without getting in the way. It should be easy to deploy and centrally manage.
Your organization should also have an email and internet policy within its employee manual. Also be sure to inform employees of the latest malware to prevent your systems from being infected with viruses.
For more tips on safeguarding resident information, view our recorded webinar, Safeguard your Business – Strategies to Improve Data Security and Protect Resident Information.
BONUS! Download our free Security Audit Checklist to see if your business is at risk!