Taking your business online is one of the most lucrative decisions you can make in real estate as chances are it’s where your audience are spending the majority of their time.
Maintaining safe levels of security online, however, is easier said than done. 2016 saw some of the biggest hacks in the history of the internet, with well-known providers haemorrhaging as many as 500 million records of customer phone numbers, email addresses and bank details. As a result, various Australian cyber security groups have been pushing the following 6 tips for ensuring that you’re digitally secure.
1. Use a strong password
This one might seem obvious, but you’d be astounded by the number of people still using the name of their pet with their house number as their password.
The ATO suggests that users create passwords based on a collection of upper/lower case letters, numbers and symbols, as these are harder to crack. If you’re extra-keen on security, it could even be worth exploring a multi-factor authentication process, which acts as another door between the outside world and your online business.
2. Get rid of unnecessary access
For one, ex-employees shouldn’t be able to access anything to do with your business, unless previously agreed upon. For this reason, steps should be taken to ensure that access is revoked once employees leave their positions.
This should also be thought about when employees change positions within your agency, as their new role might not require them to have the same level of access they had before. Bottom line – keep it watertight.
3. Keep all devices updated
When working online, malware and ransomware are two things that you don’t want to come across. Malware is malicious software that infects your computer and can render it unusable. Ransomware is slightly more cruel – it takes your files and holds them hostage, only releasing them once you’ve paid a fee.
To reduce the chances of having this happen to you, you should ensure that your agency’s digital devices are kept as up to date as possible.
4. Be vigilant with external devices
As an agency, you should be careful with any external devices, specifically USBs. Make sure your employees are clear on the fact that they can’t use their own USB devices on company computers until they’ve been properly vetted.
The reasoning behind this is that your employees may not take the same level of care with data security at home as you do in the office. It could be much easier for them to pick up a virus, accidentally download it to their USB, then pass it onto you by something as seemingly innocuous as plugging it into their work PC.
5. Steer clear of spam emails
Although the majority of spam you’ll get through will be business offers and discounts on printer cartridges, some of it is of a more sinister nature. Although spam filters are getting more intelligent by the hour, it’s only a matter of time before a spam email makes it through to your inbox.
Keep a keen eye on the emails you’re receiving and take note of any that appear suspicious. By marking an email as junk, you’ll help your spam filter to keep it from appearing in front of you again.
6. Look out for suspicious account activity
If your accounts display transactions that no-one in your business can testify to, it could be a sign that your security has been breached.
Additionally, if you receive an email from any of your suppliers regarding unexplained changes, it’s important for your employees to know not to open the attachments, as it could be a scam attempt. It’s always best to contact the business via telephone to confirm these details.