Letting agents deal with a huge amount of digital information and personal data on a day-to-day basis. It is your duty to keep this safe, but it is just one of numerous tasks that can make your weekly schedule groan at the seams.
Recently, the online privacy laws strengthened further with the introduction of GDPR, so how do you keep on the right side of the rules and ensure your landlords’ and tenants’ details are secure? This post explains how to protect your digital information and prevent data theft.
The Extent of Business Data Theft
Where there is data, there are thieves looking to breach security and get their hands on it. They naturally choose to attack businesses, as they can scoop up a large number of people’s records in one go. In fact, of the more than 4,000 data breaches in 2016 (which led to the illegal capture of 4.2 billion data records), more than half were from businesses. And these are just the reported cases.
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent this happening to your firm.
Policies for Business Devices
In the lettings business, portable technology is extremely helpful. Your staff can connect to the office even when they are out at appointments and viewings all day. Phones, tablets and laptops provide that direct link back to the office, meaning business can keep moving wherever they are.
However, careless use of these devices can lead to data breaches. Under GDPR legislation, your company is held responsible for this.
Make sure staff have a clear policy to follow over the use of devices that contain or access personal data from the business. Rules could include not leaving devices unattended in public, always having a password lock in place, and never allowing others to use the device.
You should also keep an inventory of the devices used by your firm and routinely check to see they are all accounted for.
We all have friends who have left their computer open at work, only for some office prankster to come along and add a fake Facebook update to their profile. It may seem harmless, but if they can access the user’s social media, what else can they uncover?
Your staff should be encouraged to lock their computer and other devices any time they step away from them. It may be annoying to have to keep retyping your password whenever you return to your desk, but it is worth it to protect your digital information and prevent data theft.
Once you have put the above rule in place, you need to create a policy to do with the nature of passwords in your office. In 2016, 81% of data breaches were related to stolen or weak passwords. It is important that your staff use unique passwords (you should never use the same password for more than one online account), and that they make them as difficult as possible to guess.
To come up with a strong password, Get Safe Online (an independent online safety business) suggests choosing three random words. They should be more than eight letters long in total, with a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, and some numbers and other symbols added in.
Remember Non-Digital Data Theft
Of course not all data thieves carry out their activities using digital means. If you have physical tenancy agreements, Direct Debit forms etc, you need to keep these away from prying eyes.
Make sure sensitive information is kept locked away in filing cabinets or drawers. Any forms that you no longer need should go into the shredder and staff should ensure they take documents from the printer as soon as they print them out.
Get Help to Protect Your Digital Information and Prevent Data Theft
If you are concerned about keeping your customers’ personal data safe, contact Executive Property Management Solutions today. We can help you with any aspect of data protection and digital safety. This allows you the freedom to concentrate on the other areas of your business, like bringing in more custom. Phone 0208 5757630 now or fill in the contact form at the bottom of the page.