Real Estate Virtual Assistants | On Protecting Data Privacy
Real Estate Virtual Assistants, also known as Property Management Virtual Assistants or simply VAs, carry out property management administrative tasks to help a company perform at its peak. Since they work remotely, they perform their duties using the cloud.
Learn more about real estate virtual assistants.
Property Management business owners have been outsourcing administrative property management tasks since before the pandemic. However, in recent times, it has become a necessity rather than a trend as this highly favorable business process does not require face-to-face interaction. As a result, this removes the geographical restrictions and this means that property management deliverables can be done at a fraction of the cost of an in-house property management assistant. In essence, hiring property management virtual assistants gives you access to world-class talent at a rate you can afford.
In addition, outsourcing property management tasks offshore significantly increase your business’ bottom line while reducing operational and overhead costs. Indeed, these are among the main benefits of hiring real estate virtual assistants.
Learn more about the benefits of hiring a property management virtual assistant.
Property management business owners who are new to outsourcing could easily get enticed by the idea of hiring a VA, rendering them to hire a team of VAs instead of one real estate virtual assistant at a time. But hold up, it’s best to consider these 5 things to know before outsourcing to a property management virtual assistant before joining the bandwagon.
You may also want to learn what other Property Management jobs can be outsourced.
Needless to say, there are risks associated with employing property management virtual assistants offshore, too. In today’s article, we will focus on one of the most important risks to note when outsourcing property management assistants offshore – a breach of data protection.
Causes of Breach of Data Protection
#1: Human Error
Like any employees, Property Management Virtual Assistants are not immune to making errors. Unfortunately, this is considered one of the biggest sources of data breaches. Data breaches can occur when real estate virtual assistants:
- Use weak passwords
- Send sensitive information to the wrong recipients accidentally
- Falls for phishing scams
- Shares login credentials and/or account information
#2: Virus, Malware, and Ransomware
Malware is software that is specifically designed to gain unauthorised access to your computer software and disrupt or damage files as a virus does. It can be the cause of a data breach not just in your personal home computer, but also to your company as it can target your company’s systems.
Hackers get smarter by the day by modifying existing malware programs, making them unrecognisable to anti-virus programs.
Ransomware, on the other hand, will leave you unable to access your computer or any specific file it targets.
#3: Insider misuse
Insider misuse may be closely related to human error but this is more malicious in nature. While human error is considered an innocent mistake, malicious intent or insider misuse is a deliberate abuse of your company’s system for personal gain. This activity is usually executed by an authorised user who your company has placed trust in. Unfortunately, catching insider abuse is quite difficult and more likely to be exposed only during forensic examination of the abuser’s devices, usually, once they have left the organisation.
If the idea of outsourcing real estate virtual assistants is starting to rub you the wrong way, you should know these 5 things before outsourcing to a property management virtual assistant. Fortunately, there are offshore staffing solutions partners that make data protection one of their top priorities. One of the noteworthy outsourcing partners, Purple Powered VA, guarantees that their Real Estate Virtual Assistants follow best practices in data protection. And these best practices are listed below:
Data Protection | Best Practices For Real Estate Virtual Assistants
#1: Data Breach Protocol must be established
A property management virtual assistant’s job revolves around sensitive data, so it is of paramount importance to guard this information at all times. At Purple Powered VA, breach of data protection is never welcomed, nor expected. However, they make sure that there is still a data protection protocol in place. If a data breach occurs, there has to be a data breach protocol for your virtual assistant to follow. Evidently, the first step is for your VA to put an end to it. Next, clients must be immediately notified so you can consult with them on the right actions to take to protect their data in the future.
On a lighter note, Purple Powered VA is using Flussos to manage daily tasks. Flussos is created for businesses to have a process that helps their team to be consistent on every management task.
#2: Keep your VAs’ work PC protected with Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Ransom Software
Computer viruses, malware, and ransomware have the ability to delete, damage, and steal your files. It is best to educate yourself about the different types of viruses, malware, and ransomware so you can protect your sensitive data with the right anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware. In these cases, prevention is better than cure because these viruses can spread and attack your company’s systems without you realising until it’s too late. Site restrictions can be set up on your real estate virtual assistants’ work PCs to be able to reduce the risk of browsing unsecured sites or downloading and/or installing files or software applications that could harm your company’s system.
#3: Use a Password Manager to keep all your login credentials safe and secure
Weak passwords like birthdays, the name of your daughter or son, or anything that is personal to you could be your one-way ticket to getting your devices or files hacked. A password that is found in the dictionary could be a culprit as well. More often than not, to create a stronger password, it has to be a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust your brain to remember every password, so your files might be left untouched by yourself and the malicious hackers.
Utilising password managers gives you the freedom to store passwords for different accounts without having the need to memorise each one. There is no need to reuse your login credentials either. All you need is one master password, and then you can sleep soundly knowing that your passwords to important accounts, tools, and software will be safe from malicious hackers. Password managers nowadays include another security layer, such as encryption and decryption processes.
#4: Maximise the use of 2-Way Factor Authentication
With all the countless signups to new websites and subscriptions, you run the risk of hackers getting unauthorised access to your information. And more often than not, this threat is due to the use of the same login credentials across multiple platforms. While it is highly discouraged to use the same login credentials to all accounts, site accesses, and subscriptions, it has become the norm to avoid forgetting them.
For this reason, the narrative has shifted to an additional security layer called 2-Factor Authentication. In essence, 2-factor authentication makes it more difficult to access your account in order to prevent unauthorised access.
A notable example is logging in to your account and being asked to supply a verification code that is being sent to your mobile device via SMS. The verification code will only be valid for a short period of time and can only be used once. You can only log in successfully if you provide the right verification code. Another example is the use of fingerprints or facial scans. Needless to say, the risk of a data breach is extensively reduced by helping to weed out unauthorised access to your accounts. Email notifications may also be sent once your account has been logged in to an unrecognisable device.
#5: Utilise Cloud Services
Storing pertinent data online helps VAs reduce the risk of exposing or losing physical documents. Cloud services have proven to be essential and effective in keeping files secured. In addition, they help VAs to easily manage files compared to processing physical files. That being said, you must choose a safe, trusted, and secured backup platform first before storing your data in the cloud.
#6: Other data protection methods must be maximised
It’s important for VAs to understand that while the abovementioned best practices for data protection could prevent a data breach to a great extent, the one who processes the data is always responsible for its protection firsthand–indeed, the VA themself.
For instance, Real Estate VAs must limit sensitive data file-sharing. Make it a habit to read reviews on any new software applications for real estate virtual assistants that you intend to use to avoid data protection breaches.
Now that you’ve learned about the best practices for real estate virtual assistants in data protection, it’s best to also know the best practices in managing property management VAs.If you are sold and want to hire your very own real estate VA, learn about the costs that are associated with outsourcing property management assistant roles.