Protecting your organisation’s data

Most real estate agencies deal with a wealth of personal data on clients, tenants and staff – something that can make them a target for computer hackers, often referred to as “intruders”. As such, it is important for all principals to have strategies in place to protect important and confidential information. To this end, here are three key tips for protecting company data: 

1. Create secure passwords: according to SplashData, a company that produces productivity applications for smartphones, the most common password used online in 2012 was – ‘password’. Many people don’t bother to change default passwords when new accounts are created, despite the fact that most systems offer the option to change passwords. Ensuring that your staff change their default passwords could help prevent or delay an intruder from gaining access to company data later down the track; 

2. Allocate responsibility for data security: most organisations fail to place the responsibility for data security with an individual who can adequately protect it. Often these responsibilities are spread between several individuals, which can sometimes lead to a lack of ownership over relevant tasks. In light of this, you may want to consider assigning data protection with one or two individuals within your office; not only will this create clear points of contact for staff, but it will also likely increase the accountability and clarity surrounding data protection responsibilities. 

3. Update systems consistently: how often have you clicked the “update later” option on a computer or application? Research from Verizon, a leading worldwide telecommunications provider, showed that in 2012 the average length of time an intrusion lasted was not days, but months. The study found that intruders most commonly gained access through un-patched software that had not been regularly updated. One relatively easy way to ensure that system updates occur regularly is to set your programs to be automatically updated.

Management of data security should be entrusted in an individual who has the time, resources and capacity to effectively manage the responsibility. If you are concerned that your company’s data may have already been breached, it would be wise to contact a qualified IT professional. 

Posted by George Tarbey on 03/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

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