The Home Depot® confirmed September 8, that a breach occurred with its payment data systems. This is merely the latest example of data breaches that have made national news headlines. As the nation’s premier provider of property management data solutions, CIC encourages clients to take proactive measures to protect devices and their CIC credentials.

When it comes to data security, a proactive approach that goes beyond the minimum requirements is recommended. Professionals are always on the go and while mobile devices and Wi-Fi hotspots offer many benefits, it is important to remember that vulnerabilities are still there.

Mitigating these risks is easy and taking the time to be proactive can save you from undesirable consequences down the road.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Protection

Wi-Fi Hotspots seem to be just about everywhere these days and it may appear to be legitimate but fraudsters will use create “rogue” networks such as “Café Free” to defraud you. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends not sending personal information such as login credentials to websites unless you are certain they are secure. A good indication of secure sites is to look for the https in the URL. When you conduct business on the go, the use of a virtual private network (VPN) offers a secure way to do so.

Remember that most public Wi-Fi hotspots are not secure and the information is not encrypted. According to the FTC, if a network does not require a WPA or WPA2 password, it is a good indication that the network is not secure. Best practices recommend waiting to run CIC reports until you know the network is secure.

Password Protection

Strong passwords provide a valuable line of defense when it comes to protecting your personal information and CIC credentials. Passwords are required to use upper and lower case text, combined with numbers and special characters. Do not save passwords on your laptop or mobile devices and never share CIC credentials with others. CIC Compliance Department can easily assign a separate login for another employee with the permission of your company’s head designate.

Device Protection

Laptops and mobile devices provide seemingly endless benefits to professionals on the go. Resources are available to lock, locate and clear data from lost or stolen devices. According to the FTC, investing in an alarm or security cable can deter potential thefts. Also, the FTC recommends never leaving your devices alone or even unattended in a vehicle. Particularly if it is a devise used for work, leaving them unattended increases the risk that the items may be stolen and unauthorized access to CIC credentials could occur.

Be proactive by downloading apps such as Find My iPhone, Android Device Manager, Find My Phone (Windows Phone), and BlackBerry Protect (BlackBerry). These apps not only help locate your device if lost or stolen, but remotely lock and wipe clean the contents.

If at any time you believe your security may have been breached, please contact CIC and other services immediately to change your credentials. CIC’s technical support is available 24/7.

About CIC

Founded in 1986, CIC is a leading nationwide provider of data solutions for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), property managers, housing authorities, apartment associations, real estate agents and independent rental owners throughout the U.S. For nearly three decades, CIC has leveraged the use of technology to deliver the most reliable and comprehensive information to clients, and continues to do so, today. By delivering quality affordable data solutions to the multifamily housing industry, CIC is proud to provide clients with applicant information they can trust giving them The Power of Decision. For more information about CIC’s solutions including resident screening, employment screening, wholesale data, screening platforms and property management tools & software, please visit www.CICReports.com or call 888-316-4242.

By: Laura Mowry

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