Multifamily Cyber Security

Every time an applicant submits an online application or a resident makes an online payment, you’re entrusted with valuable information. Each transaction relies on the kind of sensitive personal identifying information that makes our industry a target-rich environment for hackers. When you factor in considerations like the relative lack of regulation around multifamily technology, the wide range in tech sophistication among operators, and the mix of multiple tech providers with properties’ online and paper-based systems, you begin to see how much of a challenge data security can be for property managers.

To be blunt, cyber-attacks on multifamily data systems have happened before, and will happen again. The good news: it’s unlikely that you’re in the cross-hairs of a cyber super-villain. Most attacks are fairly straightforward and unsophisticated. Which means that the majority can be easily thwarted by routinely employing widely-accepted IT best practices.

If you haven’t begun to harden your security practices yet, it’s never too late to start. And if you have, keep up the good work! In either case, here are a few suggestions for keeping your (and your residents’) data safe and sound:

Don’t Share Passwords: Ever. It may seem convenient to pass around credentials for accounts, but it puts everyone at increased risk. If someone needs access to a system, make sure that they have their own userID and password. Then make sure passwords are kept confidential and reset regularly.

Use Multifactor Authentication: Confirm that your SaaS providers or financial transactions provide, and that your offices have activated, at least two-factor authentication. This single step will help keep your data safe even if someone’s password is compromised.

Run Audits: Work with your IT team and your technology providers to establish a plan for auditing your data security, then run the reports and monitor threats regularly. The game is always changing and threats evolve; so security is definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition.

The world of data security can seem pretty frightening, and when you hear news reports of massive security breaches in every business sector it may feel hopeless. But don’t lose heart. Simple and systematic changes can go a long way toward keeping your business out of the headlines of hacked companies.

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