From my point of view, being a leader is mainly about inspiring people to not only feel they have the tools to do their jobs, but to inspire them to think outside the box as if they own the company themselves. Finally, we’re able to demonstrate and show more about our companies through big data than ever before. But big data only becomes relevant (big) when you apply it to what means and matters to the people that work at your company —those doing the jobs necessary to keep not only the clients, but the people they work with moving forward and happy.
No offense, but no matter how big your data is, it might not be doing what it could be. In actuality, its massive size can really be a barrier to getting the most out of the information it contains.
Have you ever wondered if the data we're receiving is accurate? Likely you haven't, because we have an inherent trust in software applications that they are smarter, faster and more efficient
What we’re finding very interesting, and a new dynamic that’s super heavy with consumers and banks, is the importance of cyber security for real estate. While this subject probably isn’t something that gets a lot of attention prior to advances in real estate technology, it has now become something that requires attention by all parties. Why you ask? Because we are now, finally, seeing all-in-one products that will tie into your accounting systems, but will also tie into your treasuring and banking systems as a whole.
We Are FINALLY Embracing Technology...Now We Have to Worry About Cyber Security?!
These great advancements are amazing and help push our industry into the right direction, however, this also means that cyber attackers are trying to snatch the same information that you’re trying to protect. Let’s prepare for them by implementing safeguards.
Especially in the real estate industry, there are challenges that center on cyber and physical security issues in many aspects during our business transactions. Here are some of the areas to pay special attention to:
- Traditional cyber security issues surrounding email, social media, file storage through cloud platforms and other business applications.
- Real estate specific issues including property management, lease, finance and tenant related activities. With personal information being given during the property management process, this information is often targeted through those same systems. Advances in technology also provide for cash management applications to allow ease of payment for tenants. These applications can be vulnerable to attacks as third-parties usually design them.
- Working in smart, “connected” buildings offer an additional threat. While smart buildings offer many advantages such as lowering electricity costs, reducing carbon footprint to ultimately reduce costs and create savings, potential attacks could range from something as simple as turning off the lights or more potential serious damage. It is important for building systems to be locked down.
- Emerging systems in technology allow for applications such as facial and fingerprint recognition and wireless activity umbrellas. With these advances it also means having a proper team with the knowledge and skills to implement and maintain these sophisticated applications.
Hackers are Everywhere!
The fact that we now conduct a lot of business online, through web browsers and other vehicles through the Internet, it’s obviously much bigger now than ever before - yet we have to keep the momentum moving forward, to keep it moving as things happen. As smarter technology is developed to increase the ease and effectiveness of the way we do business, hackers are also becoming more sophisticated in the digital world. The positive note to this is that each time something happens, the technology we use to protect us is also restructured and upgraded to protect against it happening again. It’s almost like a battle between the good and bad and each time, we make it harder and harder for the hackers to get our information!
With 42.8 million detected incidents reported according to The Global State of Information Security®Survey 2014, this is a big issue that we need to watch out for and implement standards into our corporate framework.
The Financial Industry Gets It...
Most companies in the financial and banking industry have ramped up their spending to help combat hackers and cyber-attacks and over the years, with continuous advancements in technology, this amount will no doubt increase tremendously.
This means banking industry leaders are increasing security in the following areas:
- Due diligence: adding in on-site assessments of third-party vendors
- A more stringent procedure policy: making sure there are established minimum security requirements for organizations and subcontractors, regular audits and a requirement of notification should their third-party vendors have a security breach
- Security safeguards: encryption and multi-factor authentication
- Liability protections: having cyber insurance and indemnification clauses in their vendor contracts
- On-going cyber security audits
Get a Plan Together
While we can’t protect against every possible attack, having a plan in place and proper measures can keep us prepared for attacks. This enables us to protect our clients and our industry. Take into consideration these areas as you prepare your plan. Whether you decide to hire a Chief Information Security Officer or bring in consultants, planning a defensive strategy is required to stay one step ahead. For more information check out Homeland Security’s website: https://www.dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity.
Have you heard the saying “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”? The amount of data available to the population is at an all time high. Clients, employers, associates and other companies research us, form opinions on us, and decide whether they want to work with us. Why can’t we do the same thing with them? We can. Data mining is known to some as “knowledge discovery” dating back to the 18th century. It can be defined as the process in which we find trends and patterns in large amounts of data to be used in the future to improve strategy or to understand the needs of our clients better. Why do we want to find patterns or trends? Because it takes our business to the client and increases our bottom line by saving costs in areas such as marketing and more cost-effective corporate real estate strategies to make proactive knowledge-driven decisions. Data mining provides models that are both descriptive and prospective to help address why things happen and what might happen in next or in the future. It can find opportunities for improvement and offer better planning for future projects. Data mining offers a way to find prospective clients, maximize the utilization of advertising by targeting key areas to market, and to better predict their behaviors. It can even identify high-risk clients, profitable and unprofitable customers or identify fraud or unusual behavior. By using this information, companies are able to save time and money by targeting their exact audience at the exact place.
To better gauge businesses, the data collected from mining use key performance indicators “KPIs” such as revenue, cost targets, profit targets, number of customers, and employee turnover rates (to name just a few). These key performance indicators drive business performance and productivity by analyzing the data and applying the information to changes or updates in business plans. What gets measured gets done. Many companies use the data collected to generate more sales. For example, Amazon.com uses data mining to dig deeper into understanding their customer’s buying patterns. Based on previous purchases, Amazon.com was able to add additional purchase suggestions for their buyers. Amazon.com was able to increase their sales by 15%.
In marketing to our clients, we need to know: Where are the leads coming from? Where should we put our ads? What kind of people are responding? For apartment owners, for example, this information can be invaluable. The three main things renters search for when looking for apartments: They want to know how many bedrooms, how much will it cost, and what area will they be living in? What they REALLY want to know is: What kind of people live there? Would they fit in? More agencies are using the availability of technology to collect data about habits and status to present an almost V.I.P. list to target, cutting down on time spent.
The most effective way to begin the data mining process is to create a goal statement. Are you looking to “attract better tenants” or maybe you want to “predict the likelihood that a commercial tenant will have a late payment within the next 6 months”? The ability to save your clients time and money is a great skill not just in commercial real estate but also as a business strategy in your company.
Real estate data and analytics should be considered an essential component of how companies make capital investment and occupancy decisions to improve their overall productivity, according to some experts, helping to deliver results, decrease spending and increase productivity. Data mining can be as simple or as complex as you choose. The advantages, if done correctly, include better customer service, better productivity from your team, better target marketing campaigns. It’s your call to make, but let me tell you now, that this will give you an edge up on your competition that isn’t using data mining in their business strategy. In short, this can be applied anywhere in your business plan, take the reigns now and take control of your market. Though real estate is the last to adopt the use of data mining, the time has come where you need to do it or if you don’t, you will be left in the dust.
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