Cybersecurity in property and real estate

Digitization is playing an increasingly important role in the day-to-day operations of housing associations and property developers, helping these organizations to better communicate with tenants, clients and partners, improve efficiency and streamline services.

Organizations in the property sector hold vast quantities of confidential information relating to tenants, employees, and partners and this makes them a target for hackers. These organizations must ensure they understand the rising threat of cybercrime and have the necessary people, technology and processes in place to mitigate the risks.

Common security challenges in property include:

  • Maintaining the availability and accessibility of services

  • Ensuring payments are processed efficiently and securely

  • Protecting the personal data of buyers and tenants

  • Balancing technological transformation with security

  • Identifying and eliminating building management system vulnerabilities

  • Mitigating security risks within the supply chain

Key security questions in real estate

Security questions organizations in the real estate sector should be asking:

  • How is buyer and tenant data processed and protected?

  • How often is digital infrastructure tested for vulnerabilities?

  • Are security controls in place to defend against targeted attacks?

  • Are systems able to identify threats that bypass the perimeter?

  • Is there a plan in place to detect, remediate and report breaches?

  • What systems and controls are in place to mitigate insider threats?

  • Is card payment processing PCI DSS compliant?

Cybersecurity compliance in real esate

The impact that the ever-changing regulatory environment will have on real estate businesses presents added challenges. Many countries are adopting statutory requirements for remediation if data protection is deemed inadequate. The jurisdictional requirements vary across countries with multinational businesses likely to have to comply with multiple cybercrime or data breach measures. In the US for example, class action lawsuits are typically launched in the aftermath of a data breach. Meanwhile, almost all organizations in the housing sector process personal data so they must also comply with the requirements of the GDPR.

Housing associations, estate agents and property developers that take online card payments need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Requirements include maintaining a secure network, implementing robust security policies, regularly testing systems for weaknesses and proactively monitoring network infrastructure.

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