Does the Real Estate Industry Face Cyber Security Risk? You’d Better Believe It.

March 22, 2020

Real estate firms of all types compile, store and share sensitive financial and personal information, and this alone invites a malicious data breach. Direct cyber-attacks aren’t the only concern. Employee negligence and poorly managed data sharing and monitoring are also cyber security vulnerabilities. Potential problems can arise when property managers, appraisers, brokers and others store significant amounts of confidential third-party data in rental applications, lease agreements, credit reports and other documents containing personally identifiable information. Critical data such as tax records, federal identification data and social security numbers are exactly what a cyber criminal wants.

Examples of Real Estate Security Breaches

  • Essex Property Trust Inc. of Palo Alto, California experienced a data breach involving some of its computer networks. Essex owns interest in 242 apartment communities and many more still in development.
  • Fidelity National Financial, Inc. had to inform its customers that personal data including social security and driver’s license numbers may have been accessed during a cyber incident.
  • Employ Bridge faced major liability  when thousands of sensitive documents turned up in a recycling dumpster. After an investigation, it was determined the documents were taken from the company’s offices by a cleaning crew without the company’s knowledge or permission.

The Cost of a Security Breach

Depending on the type and volume of compromised data, the cost of a cyber security incident can be devastating. The average price paid for remediation after a data breach is more than $8 million. To determine the cause of a breach, forensic companies must be hired, and these investigations are expensive. Response to a security issue can also hinder productivity and drain company resources, and network interruption generates both income loss and rising expenses.

Managing Cyber Security Risk in Real Estate

Whether they run a brokerage or work in the title insurance industry, real estate professionals can manage sensitive corporate and consumer information effectively and safely by complying with state and federal cyber-security laws that dictate proper collection, storage and use of confidential data. If you are in the real estate sector, we can assist you in analyzing risk factors and finding potential solutions for your security vulnerabilities to minimize liability for your company and its individual officers and board members.

Lakeside Title Company is Secure

With forecasts calling for a busy year with low interest rates and high volume, security is a big decision on your choice of title insurance providers.  Lakeside Title Company prides itself on best in breed security protocols.  Whether you’re a credit union or a bank or real estate brokerage,  rest assured you will be secure with Lakeside Title. For more information, call us today!