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Data Protection Actions For Real Estate Businesses

GDPR

It’s called ‘big data’ for a very good reason – there’s a lot of it! In 2020, big data reached 64.2 zettabytes. By 2025, it’s expected to exceed 180 zettabytes. That’s a lot of data that needs protecting from cyber thieves.

The real estate industry knows it must do all it can to give its customers confidence their data security is top of mind. From the privacy regulations like the GDPR to moving on from using third-party data, all real estate businesses are adjusting their data capture and use strategies to get the information they need and remain relevant with their customers.

GDPR

If you’re a new business in real estate, the GDPR is a good place to start your compliance. Consider adhering to the regulations of GDPR as a requirement not a choice.

GDPR binds the property sector, standing for the General Data Protection Regulation. It came into effect in 2018. Not only does GDPR impact companies based in the EU but anyone with customers in the EU as well. So, if you live in the US and you have EU customers who want to purchase a vacation property in the US, you must ensure you adhere to the GDPR. Let’s take a look at GDPR DPO requirements and core principles.

Core Principles Of GDPR

Some of the chief principles that apply to your business as a consequence of GDPR include the following:

  • Being transparent about how you gather, store, and utilize personal data
  • Asking your clients for consent on how to use and store data
  • Giving your clients access to their data if they request it
  • Deleting personal data if your client has asked for it
  • Informing clients of any security breaches within 72 hours of discovery

Moreover, you can communicate your business commitment to fairness, transparency, lawfulness, and accountability.

Accountability measures include how you’re ensuring your business is accountable for it’s GDPR compliance. Noncompliance can result in fines.

Data protection on your site must be by design principles for operations and technology, with your site pertaining GDPR compliant data protection content and systems.

For transparency, expanded definitions for sensitive data and personal data. Plus expanded data subject rights, for example, the right to be forgotten or to object to the processing of automated data

It’s also important to remember that any of your business partners are on the hook. In the Real Estate industry, there are a lot of third-party providers that process data for businesses with citizens in the EU, and GDPR compliance is a must.

Death Of The Third-Party Cookie

It would help if you also made changes because Google has announced that the third-party cookie will soon be no more!

We’re sure you’re all familiar with cookies now, and we’re not referring to the choc-chip type! We’re referring to the cookies you’re informed about whenever you visit a website nowadays.

For years, retail agents and other business owners have been using cookies to track website visits and boost user experience.

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However, Google-ad tracking tools and how we use cookies will change dramatically as third-party cookies are phasing out of all Chrome browsers.

What is a third-party cookie?

Third-party cookies are cookies that are site by some who isn’t the owner of the website. So, another website owner is placing a cookie on your website. You won’t be able to do this anymore on Chrome browsers.

An excellent example is when you have social media buttons on your website.

How should real estate businesses handle this change?

Real estate businesses should focus on first-party data collection and processing in light of this news about cookies. With this, consent is established from the offset, meaning data collectors and websites can create as much data as they want while keeping the person’s digital profile and privacy secure.

Review and Approve Your Policies and Practices

Don’t allow your policy and practices to get out of date. Periodically updating your approach to compliance makes a lot of sense. However, there are also some signs you need to look out for that indicate it’s time to make amendments to your data protection practices, including:

  • Compliance is costing you more
  • Mistakes are happening more often
  • Data capture and analysis are ineffective

Your outdated data management is costing your business money

Outdated data management is one of the most evident reasons to change your data protection practice. Research from Gartner has shown us that professional workers spend around half their time purely looking for information. That’s a lot of time wasted.

It also costs money to file paper documents. And, if you’re not handling paper but haven’t established effective security methods, your business could be subject to enormous fines if you are the victim of a data breach.

The expense of such a breach is mind-blowing. Not only do you have the cost of getting to the bottom of the issue and rectifying it, but you then have compensation losses and regulatory fines. Furthermore, you’ll need to spend significant money on developing a customer care team for those impacted, and you’ll need a mammoth effort to restore your reputation and rebuild trust.

It makes sense to ensure that your data protection practices are always up to date so that you don’t end up costing your business unnecessary costs.

You’re noticing an increasing number of mistakes

Mistakes are more likely to occur if you don’t have a secure, modern, cloud-based document system in place. These mistakes could manifest into more significant problems, causing some of the scenarios we highlighted in the previous section.

So, if you’ve noticed that human error is creeping in much more than it was, don’t just assume you should criticize employees. Perhaps your data protection methods aren’t serving their purpose anymore.

You feel like you’ve hit a brick wall in your business

Data issues can cause further consequences that are not always as obvious. Examples include:

  • Outdated forecasting data and analytics
  • Lagging
  • Obsolete products and services
  • Slower and less effective customer service

Tweak Your System

If you’ve noticed these issues cropping up, it could be because you need efficient and updated data management and protection plans in place.

Make changes if you’ve recently gone paperless

If you’ve only recently gone paperless, this is a crucial indication that now is the time to make some changes.

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Consider working with a professional who will help you figure out which records to keep, digitally or physically, as well as best practices, legal implications, and regulatory obligations.

You’ll need to put a digital data protection policy and numerous processes in place to cope with the fact that you’re now handling more of your data online.

Consider periodic penetration testing to highlight potential issues

Penetration testing is an ethical hacking service. This means that an ethical hacker will breach your system. They do this to locate any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. They’ll provide you with a report that outlines this, with their advice on the steps you need to put into place to patch up the gap in your data security efforts.

The objective here is that you get the chance to fix any issues before a criminal hacker breaches your network for untoward reasons and causes big problems for your business.

Many real estate business owners overlook hiring a penetration tester because they feel it wastes their precious cash. However, you need to consider that this business service could save your company thousands and millions. Therefore, it’s worth its weight in gold.

It would help if you could find an experienced and reliable penetration tester. After all, this individual will have access to your systems, so you need them to be trusted. Don’t take a risk on someone cheap and unproven.

Change Is Inevitable

You cannot remain stagnant when protecting data

As you can see, data protection is not an area whereby we can all afford to remain stagnant. The data landscape is changing all of the time. Therefore, you need to make sure that you make relevant changes to keep your data protection efforts up to date.

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