A leading IT supplier to the property industry says its seeing more and more smaller estate agencies being targeted by hackers as larger corporates have made it more difficult for criminals to infiltrate their own systems.
Totality Services, which offers cloud-based IT solutions to a variety of businesses, says too many SME estate agencies do not invest in IT security or on the right security, so they are more likely to be the victims of fraud such as mailbox hacking or data theft.
“The majority of new business enquiries we receive from property businesses are after they have been through the harrowing experience of a hacking or internal leak, but we also see many property businesses wanting better service too,” says co-founder Luis Navarro tells The Negotiator.
“It’s very common to see a start-up estate agency going with a local one-man-band or a small IT support provider, and as they grow the service levels drop, and the all-important strategic and security advice just isn’t there.”
Navarro also warns that today’s negotiators, armed with multiple devices including phones, tablets and laptops – and particularly so since home working has become the norm – are more vulnerable to hackers.
“All business-critical data should be backed up with a 3rd party provider,” he says.
“Company-wide security settings should be deployed such as regular enforced password changes and screen lock after a few minutes of inactivity and no staff member should be able to change these settings.
“And agents should deploy DNS protection to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks on all laptops and PCs.
“This solution provides an additional layer of protection when accessing the internet from outside the office – it blacklists dangerous sites and filters out unwanted content.”