Industry News by John Garza Oct 12, 2016 Real Estate Professionals Taking Steps to Secure Their Business Online In 2015, Ransomware attacks surged by 35 percent affecting tens of thousands of businesses. In fact, according to Symantec’s “2016 Internet Security Threat Report” the survey results show that in March 2016 alone there were approximately 56,000 ransomware infections. Those numbers are staggering considering the technology advancements made to help companies become more secure and able to protect their brand and customers. Nonetheless, it’s a thorn in the side of many small and medium sized businesses and a growing threat that needs to be addressed. The good news is there are ways to eliminate cyberattacks and companies are becoming better educated on just how to do that! One industry, in particular, that is very aware of these persistent threats is real estate. Realtors are a prime target for ransomware for three reasons: They do a vast majority of their business online. They typically manage essential industry and compliance documents and customer information on their mobile devices or online. They are normally on the go and have little time to scrutinize every click of the mouse while doing business. Because of these things, realtors are stepping up their defenses with some very simple steps to ensure their data is protected. They are practicing good judgement and implementing security policies where none existed prior. For example, many have put written policies in place that outline rules around password safekeeping and proper email etiquette. They are using a good off-site backup solution like Jungle Disk that ensures that in the event of a crisis or attack they have a business class product and service they can revert back to that will get them up and running fast. They are securing their internet with a network protection service or advanced threat protection. This type of service provides real-time prevention of ransomware attacks, network intrusions and virus infection. They have a way to access a secure internet connection with a virtual private network solution (VPN) even when working remotely or on the go. Realtors are busy and are usually off-site working from an unsecured WiFi connection. A VPN creates a secure tunnel to the internet and allows them to work over an encrypted network giving them peace of mind and the ability to secure their customers’ data. While Realtors may be one step ahead of the game, you do not have to be a real estate professional to take action to protect your critical data. Any company can achieve the same level of security against ransomware and hackers by putting in place these preventative measures. Companies should also have a disaster recovery plan in case they experience a cyberattack and should also lay out a strategy to keep their business operational while they undergo the attack. Remember those who fail to plan, plan to fail. To see the full “2016 Internet Security Threat Report,” from Symantec, go here.