Data breaches have become commonplace, a situation that should be a cause for concern for Fresno rental property owners. When you lease a property, you acquire sensitive personal data from your tenants, which may find its way into the hands of identity thieves unless handled correctly. To protect your tenant’s sensitive information in the current technological world, perhaps you need advanced IT skills, or you’ll need to think about partnering with a property management company that does. Either way, there are a couple of steps you can do to make sure that your tenant’s personal information stays safe and secure.
1. Use Strong Passwords and Firewalls
Most of the time, the more random your passwords are, the less likely they’ll be hacked. Never use simple passwords that include words or easy-to-find number sequences (like a phone number). Instead, create strong passwords for your Wi-Fi, computers, and cloud storage accounts. Stop accessing tenant data while using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, like those often found in coffee shops and libraries. Another essential security measure is to enable a firewall on your computer. A firewall can create a good barrier between hackers and your tenant’s sensitive data. If you don’t know how to install one, enlist the help of an IT professional.
2. Prevent Malware
Aside from a firewall, any computer you use to access tenant data needs to have anti-malware software installed on it. Anti-malware software can help prevent hackers and identity thieves from reaching the information they shouldn’t if they get past your firewall. Hackers will aim to bypass your firewall by sending you links that will download malware onto your hard drive when you click on them. Perhaps you don’t even know you did. Once installed, malware can be pretty hard to remove and sometimes need a specialist’s assistance to be removed.
3. Take Privacy Seriously
You may need your tenant’s personal data for good reasons, but you need to organize a secure system to guarantee that you don’t accidentally violate their privacy. If you can, stop placing their social security numbers or credit card information in places that are easy to access. Be cautious about all documents that may include your tenant’s personal information, such as phone numbers and addresses, and shred any document you no longer need pretty soon – do not throw documents in the trash. Even one minimal act of negligence can cause serious legal liabilities, especially if the privacy breach can be traced back to your information handling practices.
4. Call the Experts
With so much riding on your ability to protect your tenant’s sensitive information, it may be prudent and more effective to rely on professionals. Although you can build and manage all of your own security measures, it can be much easier and more cost-effective to recruit a property management company to furnish all of the essential services you need. National property management firms like Real Property Management have the expertise to deliver high-level security for both you and your tenants. Our information security goes beyond even the steps outlined in this article, ensuring that your tenant’s personal information remains safe and secure and gives you total peace of mind.
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