Cybersecurity for documents sharing & online apps


Security has never been more important in the UK’s booming real estate sector, where documents and millions of pounds are moved electronically daily.

The real estate business is becoming a more popular target for cyberattacks, with a 25% increase in attacks reported in the last year alone (Source: Cybersecurity Ventures).

As a decision-maker in this field, you are responsible for your company’s sensitive data and confidential client information.

In this time of internet transactions, when documents move easily online, ensuring that each interaction and transaction is safe is critical.

This article will discuss the value of strong cybersecurity methods like secure password management, multi-factor authentication, and cautious document sharing.

Furthermore, we will highlight secure platforms perfect for real estate professionals interacting with agents or mortgage lenders.

Why Do Real Estate Practitioners Need Cybersecurity?

Real estate transactions entail large sums of money and a variety of personal data, ranging from financial information to individual identification, making them ideal targets for hackers.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, real estate-related cybercrimes resulted in damages above $213 million in 2020.

These hazards not only present financial risks, but they can also harm a company’s brand, lose client trust, and result in harsh regulatory penalties, particularly under laws such as the GDPR in the United Kingdom, which requires strict data protection safeguards.

The Necessity of Strong Cybersecurity Practices:

Secure Password Management:

Passwords are the initial line of defense against illegal access to your digital systems. Real estate professionals manage multiple online portals and systems, ranging from CRM software to online banking, and each requires a strong, unique password.

Best Practices: Use passwords that include letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid frequent terms and easy-to-guess sequences. Enforce regular password changes to reduce the danger of compromised credentials.

Encourage employees and recommend tools for creating and storing unique, complex passwords for each application.

The NCSC recommends passwords that are at least 12 characters long and contain a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Tools: Consider investing in a reputable password manager that not only stores your passwords securely but also generates strong passwords and reminds you to change them regularly.

Surveys show that 81% of hacking-related breaches are due to weak or stolen passwords (source: Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report).

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring two or more verification factors, which significantly decreases the risk of unauthorized access.

Implementation: Ensure that any system that handles sensitive information, including email accounts and transaction platforms, is equipped with MFA.

This often involves something you know (a password), something you have (a mobile device for a token or SMS), and something you are (biometrics).

Cautions with Document Sharing:

Real estate transactions require the sharing of sensitive documents such as contracts, personal client information, and bank details. The way these documents are shared can expose you to risks:

Secure Practices: Always use encrypted communication channels. Educate your team on the dangers of using unsecured platforms like personal email or cloud storage services that are not designed for secure business transactions.

Educate & Empower Your Team: Building a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

Regular cybersecurity awareness training empowers your employees to identify and avoid cyber threats. Consider:

Simulated Phishing Attacks: Conduct simulated phishing attacks to test employee awareness and identify areas for improvement.

Studies show that regular phishing simulations can significantly improve employee awareness and reduce the risk of falling victim to real attacks.

Data Security Policies: Implement clear data security policies outlining acceptable practices for document sharing and online activity.

Ongoing Training: Provide ongoing cybersecurity training to keep your team informed about evolving threats and best practices.

Secure Platforms for Document Exchange:

Choosing the right platforms for sharing and storing documents is crucial for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information.

Document Management Systems (DMS): Platforms like DocuSign or Adobe Sign offer secure document handling with features tailored to real estate needs, including e-signatures and document tracking.

Virtual Data Rooms (VDRs): For more complex transactions involving multiple parties and documents, a VDR provides a secure online repository that offers detailed activity tracking, permission controls, and advanced data encryption.

As the real estate industry continues to evolve digitally, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Decision-makers in this field must stay vigilant and proactive in implementing advanced security measures.

By embracing secure password practices, multi-factor authentication, and careful document sharing, you safeguard your business’s and clients’ data against emerging cyber threats.

Opting for secure platforms further fortifies your defense, positioning your business as a trusted leader in real estate.

For more insights on how to implement these cybersecurity measures in your real estate business or to learn about tailored cybersecurity solutions, connect with us at Xown Solution Limited

As global thought leaders in cybersecurity, we are dedicated to helping you protect what matters most.

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