Lock It Up
How to Protect Tenant Information from Cyber Risks
Because of the abundance of personal information property managers are responsible for, they're constantly becoming targets of identity theft. If personal information that you’re responsible for is obtained and used, you could be liable for the damages.
Unfortunately, when property managers are targeted, identity thieves usually take more than just one individual’s information, resulting in costly litigation for multiple losses. To protect yourself, it’s important to take the appropriate measures to safeguard any personal information given to you by prospective, current and past tenants.
Identity thieves use several approaches to try and obtain personal information. To prevent unauthorized access, you must institute safety measures that strictly manage how personal information is handled. Here are 6 considerations for securing tenant information:
- Computer Protection: Keep electronic attackers from successfully accessing your network by password protecting files and keeping your virus protection and firewall up-to-date. Also, avoid storing tenants’ personal information on laptops that are frequently used outside the home or office and could be easily stolen. If you need to access this information on the go, consider remote network access that will allow you to get the information you need from a central secure location.
- Releasing Information: Personal information should be released only to those persons or organizations specifically authorized by the individual. Never release personal information over the phone, through the mail or electronically unless the receiver’s identity has been confirmed as legitimate.
- Proper Disposal: Trash is a common target
ofidentity thieves. To stop information from being picked out of the garbage, use a shredder when discarding any paperwork that contains personal information.
- Tenant Communications: When communicating with tenants by
- Social Security Numbers: Keep the number of documents that include social security numbers to a minimum. Unless listing the number is essential, do not include it.
- Employees: It’s important to make wise hiring decisions to prevent employee theft or leaks. Only those employees who require it to carry out their daily duties should have access to tenants’ personal information. Employees should not have access to all records, but instead, only to those that apply to their work. If an employee is terminated for any reason, make sure that access to any tenant information is immediately restricted.
- Location Safety: As
ofidentity thieves, consider individual mailboxes that require a key to access. Consider keeping dumpsters in fenced or otherwise enclosed areas.
Providing this level of protection to tenants can show your commitment to safeguarding their personal information. Institute a plan that regulates how your organization deals with commercial real estate tenant information will help keep your tenants safe while protecting your company from liability.
For more information, contact a member of the ‘A’ Team!
- Cyber E-Book
- 8 Cyber Components Underwriters Evaluate
- Cyber-Attacks Q&A Video
- Cyber Series – Part 1: Risk Mitigation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR