We need to talk about data protection in real estate

Data protection has become a much-talked-about subject in view of several major breaches around the world. All businesses will do well to understand the importance of maintaining data security and client privacy. This is true of real estate as well. 

The problem is that, while digitalizing real estate businesses and incorporating more tech into them are a no-brainer, it also exposes the sector to data leaks, compromising the privacy of the clients. Storing information online streamlines the business, but it also invites bad actors. There is no easy way out of this dilemma; the only thing to do is to take data protection seriously. 

Why data protection is so crucial 

Real estate entities handle sensitive data regularly. The tenants, investors, and clients they work with trust them to protect the information they share. Trust is an essential component of the business, so protecting data at every step is a necessity.  

There is always a risk of personally identifiable data being misused. Real estate companies need to consider the worst-case scenario, so they can maintain their clients’ privacy from any threats that may arise. As such, they need to have policies and practices that ensure high-level protection of the data, but there are no shortcuts. It involves taking multiple steps and reviewing data safety regularly. Here are some best practices real estate companies can follow to keep their data safe. 

Creating a data maintenance process 

One of the main reasons why data security issues arise is the way it is recorded and stored. Since property-related data is gathered from a number of sources, there is always a risk of it falling into the wrong hands. One of the ways to secure it is by creating a structured data maintenance process, along with regulations.  

Real estate companies need to first identify the essential data and then figure out a way to input that effectively and securely. They also need to determine who will take ownership of encrypting each sub-set of data and be responsible for maintaining and guarding it. 

Involving the entire team 

Data maintenance and privacy are something that needs to be discussed with the entire team. Everyone needs to know the importance of keeping it secure from breaches. Real estate companies often have external personnel as their partners, who need to be made aware of the importance of protecting data.  

Each member of the team should be trained in the process of data security and data entry. Systematic and regular training is a great way to make data protection a matter of great importance for the entire company. Everyone needs to understand and implement the best practices flawlessly. One way of encouraging adherence to data protection policies is rewarding teams or individuals who steer clear of threats in a given period of time. 

Assessing data protection policies regularly 

Just having great policies in place is not enough — they need to be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they are being implemented properly and to check whether any new factors have emerged that require tweaking of the policies. In order to ensure consistent and high-quality data, regular database monitoring is essential. This is particularly so when dealing with multiple sources of information that require a lot of cross-referencing. Random checks are also quite useful in determining adherence to data protection policies by employees.  

In the end, a real estate company has to ensure that its clients are fully satisfied and that their interests are safeguarded. Even a momentary lapse in security can have serious repercussions and tarnish the reputation of the company. The threat is such that investors naturally gravitate toward a company with demonstrable data security policies. It is about time all stakeholders acknowledge data protection in real estate and promote best practices.  

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