Data Privacy: Protecting Yourself and Your Residents

You wouldn’t want your information out in the open for anyone and everyone to get their hands on. When you permit a person or company to have access to any knowledge about you, you have a certain expectation of privacy; you expect them to protect your information, and to not let it fall into the wrong hands. Your residents are no different. They trust you with their information, and, as their property manager, it is your job to keep it safe. In honor of National Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually on January 28th, here are some tips to keep both you and your renters safe.

We live in a world where everyone is glued to their phones; it’s uncommon for anyone to leave the house without it. Your cell phone has a plethora of information about you, and could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands. It is important to do all that you can to protect yourself and your information. Don’t use a simple passcode for your phone, something that someone could easily guess. As easy as 123456 is to remember, it is also not hard for someone to guess. It also may be tempting to have your phone save passwords to various websites and apps, but resist that urge and make it harder for anyone who has your phone to access your accounts.

It seems like everyone has at least one social media account nowadays. It’s an easy way to stay connected with family and friends, hear about breaking news stories, and share the latest viral videos. But, if you don’t act with caution and common sense, these accounts can give away a lot of your personal information to anyone who cares to look. Be careful about what you post on social media accounts; limit what personal information you share, as people can use it to impersonate you, find clues to guess passwords, or even know where you are or when you’re out of town. Consider your privacy settings on each site, making sure that your information is protected. Don’t friend people you don’t know or trust, or don’t want to be able to access insights about your life.

Residents trust you with privileged information; it comes with the territory. It is your responsibility to protect that information by adhering to data privacy practices. Secure passwords are a must, as they protect both your information and residents’. Don’t use anything simple or easy to guess, or something so difficult to remember that you have to leave a written note lying around. Change your passwords every few months, and don’t share them with anyone. Limit access to your computer, especially one containing confidential client information. Lock cabinets with important files, and make sure not to leave papers lying around carelessly.

Occasionally, data breaches do happen. The causes are plentiful, and, no matter how prepared you are, information can be compromised. After a breach it is important to amp up your security, make updates, and take the necessary steps to secure information. This may even include credit monitoring, depending on what was potentially accessed. If there is even a slight possibility that resident information has been compromised, it is of the utmost importance that you let them know so that they can take necessary measures. Keep them updated of any new information that you receive, and work with them to resolve the issue as best you can.

Data privacy is something that we don’t think about often, but is always important. With hackings like the Equifax breach becoming grossly common, it is so crucial that you watch your accounts for suspicious activity. Take cautionary steps to protect yourself by regularly changing passwords, making updates, and utilizing privacy settings. Keeping up-to-date on the latest news in data privacy could make all the difference.


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