January 02, 2020

posted by: Neel Lukka
News/Blog Photo

How to Secure Your Tenant's Data and Prevent Data Breaches


Guest Post by Neel Lukka - Managing Director of CurrentWare Inc., a global provider of employee productivity, compliance and data loss prevention software.

 

As we head into 2020, the talk of data breaches has been making headlines across the world and has been affecting businesses across practically every industry. From Facebook's massive security breach in 2018 to the more recently reported data breach of Capital One back in July, the threat of data breaches has never loomed so large in the world of business.

 

As a landlord or property manager, have you ever thought about the risks of a data breach within your business? If not, it's about time you start doing so.

 

Information sought after in data breaches like the ones mentioned above is virtually identical to the information you collect from your tenants. It can include:
 

  • Physical locations and addresses 

  • Names and dates of birth 

  • Social Security/Insurance Numbers  

  • Phone numbers 

  • Email addresses 

  • Credit card information 

  • Income and account balance 

  • Credit scores
     

Eerie, isn't it? The data that you collect as a landlord is valuable to big corporations and cyber criminals alike. For a cyber criminal, a full ID package could sell between $30 - $100USD on the black market, and with reports of up to 90 million accounts exposed in the Facebook attack, you can start to see the motive behind these attacks.
 

It's not just big businesses like Facebook and Capital One that are under attack - Verizon's 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report states that 58% of data breach victims in 2018 were small businesses (companies with under 250 employees). 

 

If you're still not concerned, think about the fact that the average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $8.19 million USD in the United States and $4.44 million USD in Canada

 

Now that we have your attention, here is a 5-step plan to strengthen the security of your tenant data. 

 

  1. Educate: The protection of your tenant data starts with your employees. The people that handle tenant data should be aware of the risks and consequences of a data breach, as well as the legal obligations that they hold under local and federal government to protect such data.

 

  1. Train: Enable your employees with the ability to recognize and prevent a data breach. The most common causes of a data breach in small to medium sized businesses include phishing scams, unpatched software, weak passwords, malware and the loss of company devices.

 

  1. Audit: Examine how and where your tenant data is stored and determine the security weaknesses within your operation. Determining where the tenant data is most susceptible will prepare you to properly secure it. Consider having a third-party audit your business' security.

 

  1. Secure: Once the audit is complete, secure the identified weaknesses by implementing a data security strategy. Your data security strategy should combine procedures, policies, protocols and technology to protect your tenant data. 

 

  1. Monitor: Continue to train, educate and audit your company in order to maintain high levels of data security. Update security technology regularly and upgrade when necessary.