While the real estate industry has self-admittedly been slow to embrace technology, this is changing quickly. Our Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report found the pandemic has forced the industry to embrace technology solutions, from collaboration tools and virtual open houses to digital payments and property technology (proptech) to ensure business continuity.
Proptech tools, smart buildings and other technologies have significant benefits, but they also create new risks and vulnerabilities. Prior to the pandemic, many real estate companies lacked a comprehensive information technology strategy and weren’t using the full capabilities of the tools they did have in place. With the expanded use of existing tools and accelerated adoption of new ones, they’re now facing additional gaps in security.
Real estate companies should consider how they’re going to protect their organizations in an increasingly virtual world. Our 24th CEO Survey found cybersecurity was the top concern of Canadian CEOs—even more so than the pandemic itself—with 47% of respondents saying they’re extremely concerned about cyber threats. To support this, 69% of Canadian CEOs plan to increase their long-term investments in cybersecurity and data privacy over the next three years.
As real estate organizations continue to digitize their businesses, cybersecurity needs to be part of their risk management. To effectively prepare for and respond to cybersecurity threats, real estate companies should think about the following measures and best practices:
Besides these measures, it’s important for real estate companies to focus on ensuring sufficient resources to address cybersecurity. At the same time, cybersecurity should be everyone’s responsibility, so it’s important to take an integrated approach by uniting your lines of defence. If your organization doesn’t have in-house resources, you can still prioritize cybersecurity by working with a managed service provider to fill in the gaps. Our Digital Trust Survey found that 94% of Canadian respondents use or plan to use managed services to future-proof their security team.
As you focus on your cybersecurity strategy, remember that you can start small by prioritizing high-value activities and building from there. By starting the journey now, you’ll be ready to handle the new risks and threats emerging today and those to come in the future.