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How to reduce cyber security risk in commercial real estate

 |  9 October 2023

By Phil Gale, Chief Information Security Officer, Re-Leased

The digital transformation wave has swept across various industries, including the commercial real estate (CRE) sector, bringing along a host of cyber security risks. As property business owners navigate this digital landscape, implementing a holistic and layered cybersecurity approach is imperative. This will not only significantly mitigate cyber risks but ensure the business remains resilient against cyber threats. This article outlines five essential steps to establish a strong cybersecurity stance in your property business. 

1. Education and Awareness
  1. Understanding cyber threats is the first step towards building a robust defence against them. It is important that employees and stakeholders are well-versed in common cyber threats like phishing, malware, and social engineering. By conducting regular training sessions, the ability of personnel to identify and respond to cyber threats efficiently is notably enhanced.

Promoting a culture centred on security within the business is vital. This ensures that every member of the organisation gives cybersecurity the importance it warrants. Since human behaviour or plays a pivotal role in cybersecurity risks, having a well-informed and alert workforce can significantly reduce these vulnerabilities.

2. Strong Access Control

Unauthorised access remains a predominant cause of data breaches within the digital realm, which underscores the necessity for stringent security protocols. At the core of these protocols lie multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO), both of which have become fundamental in enhancing cybersecurity. These measures serve as formidable deterrents to cyber adversaries, obstructing their attempts at unauthorised access. 

Incorporating strong passwords alongside MFA and SSO not only significantly elevates the security posture of an organisation but also establishes a robust blockade against cyber threats. By enforcing these security measures, organisations create a sturdy line of defence that considerably hampers the nefarious endeavours of cyber adversaries seeking unauthorised access. 

3. Staying Up to Date

Should cyber adversaries still make it past your foundational defences, the application of routine IT maintenance and patches come into play as critical safeguards. Cyber adversaries often leverage known vulnerabilities in software, operating systems, network appliances and firmware to gain unauthorised access. Ensuring that all software and systems are updated, so that known vulnerabilities are patched, significantly diminishes the attack surface. 

4. Vendor Risk Management

In today's interconnected business ecosystem, your cybersecurity posture is only as strong as the weakest link in your supply chain. It's essential to assess the cybersecurity practices of vendors and third parties that have access to your systems or handle your data. Establishing a vendor risk management program can help in identifying and mitigating risks associated with third-party interactions. 

A good vendor embodies a culture of security, reflected in robust policies, procedures, and technological controls designed to protect your shared digital environment. They should be able to easily demonstrate that their cybersecurity practices are in alignment with industry standards and regulations, ensuring not only the safeguarding of your data but also compliance with legal and contractual obligations. 

5. Insurance

Despite the best efforts, the risk of a cyber incident can never be completely eliminated. Cybersecurity insurance can play a crucial role in mitigating the financial risks associated with cyber incidents. It provides a safety net that can help in recovering from financial losses and ensuring business continuity. 

When considering cybersecurity insurance offerings scrutinise the scope of coverage, ensuring it aligns with your organisation's specific risk profile and operational nuances. Look for policies that offer comprehensive protection against a variety of cyber incidents including data breaches, ransomware attacks, and business interruption. 

By integrating these key strategies, property business owners can create a fortified defence against cyber threats. The journey towards cybersecurity resilience requires a proactive approach and a commitment to continuous improvement. And with the right measures in place, you can significantly reduce the cyber security risks across your property business, ensuring a secure and thriving digital future.  

What Re-Leased is doing to protect your Property Business 

Re-Leased has become an important part of how property businesses run all over the world, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Re-Leased is committed to Security as one of our core pillars.

We lead the industry in best practice security features for you to leverage, including: 

  • Enforced MFA with support for biometrics and hardware keys 
  • SAML 2.0 based SSO integration 
  • Fine grained role-based access 
  • Full AES-256 encryption of your data always, whether in transit or at rest 

We employ dedicated security professionals, and operate a robust internal security programme aligned with ISO 27001, and we are regularly audited to prove it. 


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