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For commercial real estate professionals, this holiday season can be a time for vacation, spending time with family, and ignoring e-mail. For cyber-criminals, it’s time to attack businesses. The total spend of IT security worldwide has been $80 million in 2015. Cybersecurity has been a hot topic in recent months within the industry as many are still unaware of the financial and physical threats. Criminals are actively looking to exploit technologies by defacing websites, exfiltrating sensitive information, and cause large scale cyber-terrorism on corporate organisations. What better time to attack unwatched areas of a commercial real estate professional’s work or personal life?

Here are a few tips to take action to protect your security while still enjoying the holiday season:

  1. Execute Business Guidelines. Every employee should be educated about cyber security guidelines over the holidays; that’s just a great way to better protect your network and prepare to fight back through training and awareness. Moving forward, everyone should be more diligent. At various departments, embed these business guidelines among your supply chain service providers, contractors and consultants for the holiday season. Maybe even consider breaking the guidelines into areas such as device use, employee and supply chain requirements and on handling of sensitive data. That way, when they are briefed about these guidelines, they are able to have more time with family and they’ll be more apt with their security.
  1. Check Security Logs And System Architectures. Don’t slack off within these areas just because the real estate office is empty over the holidays. Make sure passwords created are not poor. Spend time on monitoring security logs, understanding the system architectures and watch network traffic. Understand the levels of risk severity associated with attacks. Attackers use times when people are on vacation to transfer out caches of data which has been stolen. It’s on those days when no one is in the office which cyber-criminals can hack, leaving systems compromised while still undetected.
  1. Protect Your Network. Update and protect your network. Attackers love to slip into a network where they can easily authenticate access of systems which hold sensitive information. Chances are there is valuable information already in your network and an attacker is waiting to use the credentials. While company users may be on time off for the holidays, look into different products to invest in protecting your company’s network, devices and software and devices.

During the holidays, everyone knows its no fun to work, but criminals never stop, so we can’t stop either. A typical company’s IT budget had spent only 4% on their security in 2015. Commercial Real Estate professionals need to understand that cyber-attacks are an imminent threat. Ensure your strategies, security protections and disaster recovery response plans are in place, be aware and proactive, don’t be so trusting anymore and hope for the best this holiday.

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