Few real estate businesses have policies in place for handling confidential information—information about clients, namely—and even less understand legal requirements about housing and/or trashing sensitive information, according to a recently released survey.
Per findings from the Shred-it Information Security Tracker Survey, conducted by Ipsos, 26 percent of real estate businesses have no formal procedure for managing personal information on electronic devices, and 19 percent have only “some understanding” of related laws and “somewhat adhere to them, but not on a daily basis.” The lapses pose significant risks, especially now that many real estate businesses have migrated to paperless transactions.
Thirty-two percent of small business owners across industries are unaware of the ramifications of an information security breach, believing “the loss or theft of documents would cause no damage to their organization,” reveal the findings from the survey. Thirty-nine percent of small business owners, overall, have no policies pertaining to information security.
Bigger businesses, however, often have policies regarding confidential information—but, still, many are neglecting to discard electronic devices (e.g., hard drives). In fact, the share of big businesses that carry out periodic disposals has gone down from 76 percent in 2016 to 57 in 2017.
“Whether it be on lingering paper documents or electronic devices, properly disposing of or securing sensitive information is the best way for a business to protect their customers, their reputation and their people,” says Kevin Pollack, senior vice president at Shred-it. “Companies of all sizes need to start taking proactive measures to ensure their employees are trained on destruction procedures, that sensitive information is stored securely, and that they’re mitigating information security threats by disposing of paper and electronic devices in a timely fashion.”
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