June 01, 2017

WannaCry, Identity Theft & Fraud – Oh My!

Is Your Company Safe?

Property management companies take resident security seriously—from ensuring security cameras in common areas to well-lit parking garages… and everything in between!

Yet, while residents sleep soundly at night, how secure is their personal data?

Are there paper files of tenant credit reports or applications? Can renter information be found on an employee’s laptop? If the information was disposed of, was it done in a way that was safe and secure? How attack-resistant is your network?

Are You WannaCry-Proof?

Too many property companies fail to consistently update their computers’ security. These overlooked updates represent heightened vulnerability. To make matters worse, lots of management teams are still using out-of-date operating systems like Windows XP or Microsoft Vista, and daily (or even weekly) data backups rarely occur.

Whether it’s WannaCry ransomware attack, a virus that infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide recently, or the HeartBleed bug from a few years earlier that infiltrated Canada Revenue Agency’s system, more and more organizations are susceptible to attacks, in this digital age, there is a heightened risk of your organization’s (and tenants’) data being held ransom, or worse, used for criminal purposes.

Identity Theft on the Rise

Every year there are millions of cases of identity theft across North America. And, that has landlords and property management companies scrambling to keep their tenant’s personal data secure. Property managers must shred paper credit reports, erase computer files, and get rid of any documents that contain personal tenant data after the sensitive information is no longer needed.

Yet even with good intentions and set guidelines, security risks loom. From a criminal’s point of view, property management companies can be an easy mark. Multifamily operators as well as individual landlords have access to SIN/SSN numbers, previous address and birth date—all the ingredients needed to steal someone’s identity or rack up a credit card.

The Inside Job

But it’s not only the risk of documents being stolen or computers being hacked, there’s every company’s dirty little security secret… the inside job. Security studies show that almost 70% of identity theft and fraud stem from an in-house employee. From stealing identities to sell online for a few bucks to stealing cheques, most theft is a result of the people we place our trust in.

Ensuring Security

To prevent identity theft, hacking and potential fraud, more property management companies are moving toward digital solutions that leverage cloud, automation and paperless solutions. This helps to tighten security and remove “human touch” that can play a role in security breaches, either through carelessness or criminal intent.

Employing a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, such as the Property Vista’s suite of web-based property management products, is the safest way to secure sensitive information, and keep your property management firm running efficiently and effectively. To learn moresign up for your free account today.

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Devika Kabe

Financial/Administrative Assistant, Katalyst Real Estate Corp.

Describe your experience in a few words

Takes off the administrative burden of physically entering leases, very helpful customer service

What do you like the most about the software?

Ability to automatically collect rent monthly through auto-pay, pulls out rent from tenants bank account