Data Security in the Multifamily Industry

Multifamily owners and operators hold on to a lot of their residents’ personal data. That’s why it’s crucial to have a cybersecurity plan in place.

Jessica Fiur, Editor-in-Chief

Jessica Fiur, Editor-in-Chief

In the year 2022, the phrase “Nigerian Prince” is essentially a punchline—shorthand for the phishing scam where someone says they have a large sum of money overseas and they just need some money to transfer it to you. And then that money is never seen again.

Of course, we would never fall for that. We’re all too smart and savvy. That said, according to a 2019 article from CNBC, the scam is still raking in more than $700,000 a year. I guess it pays to be royalty.

Internet schemes aren’t limited to phishing, either. Do you remember the data breach where all the users’ personal information was compromised? (And isn’t it crazy that I have to be specific about this, because I could be talking about the Target breach, or the T-Mobile breach, or the recent Neopets breach, or…)

Wherever there is data or money to be had online, someone out there is going to try to get it.

And where is there a ton of data and money? In multifamily communities. Building managers and owners collect residents’ financial information, social security numbers, employer information and more. It’s crucial to have cybersecurity methods in place at your community.

Luckily, a bill has been drafted that will provide at least some data protection.

According to Barbra Murray’s reporting in “Multifamily Cybersecurity Matters More Than Ever,” the American Data Privacy and Protection Act would include protections against “discriminatory use” of data. And NMHC and NAA are requesting that service firms first notify customers and apartments of any security breach.

But multifamily operators can’t just rely on federal help to protect their residents’ information. They must also have a system in place to make sure the data is as safe as possible.

“Housing providers need to be aware of their responsibilities and how the responsibilities break down,” Nicole Upano, assistant vice president for housing, policy & regulatory affairs with NAA, told Murray.

After all, as the proverb says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Find out more information about cybersecurity measures at apartment communities in our issue. And if you’d like a share of some of the treasures I uncovered while backpacking through Europe, just send me your bank info, and I’ll totally wire it over to you. (Worth a shot!)

Read the August Digest.

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