The eFax Blog

Security Threats to the Real Estate Industry | eFax Corporate  

September 19, 2017 - by eFax Corporate Team

The real estate industry is particularly susceptible to security breaches and hacking. And without the right security protocols and protected communication methods in place, a real estate agent’s clients’ personal information could be breached by unauthorised personnel either intentionally or unintentionally.

Real estate companies need to make sure that their communication systems are compliant with industry regulations as well as in line with security and privacy best practices.

Failure to do so could result in:

  • Corrective disciplinary action
  • Resolution agreements
  • Fines
  • Criminal penalties
  • Litigation
Real-Estate Agent Talking With Client

Community Fax Machines: A Security Threat

With traditional fax machines, confidential information can be leaked or compromised quite easily. In most offices, documents are regularly left lying on top of machines, where they can easily fall into the wrong hands.

Delayed faxes are often left unattended on the fax machine’s tray until someone comes along to retrieve them. Faxes that have been discarded in recycling bins can be fished out and stolen when no one is looking. And if a fax is inadvertently delivered to the wrong “in” box, it can easily become lost and confidential information revealed.

Consider the following scenario, an employee is about to use the company fax machine but notices a printed out confidential report containing a client’s sensitive financial data. In order to fax their document, they place the confidential report to the side, on top of other documents and papers, which get shuffled around throughout the day.

As a result, the client’s confidential documents are exposed, putting their customer confidentiality at risk. In offices with a standalone fax machine, data breaches like this occur with alarming frequency. With its fully exposed paper trays and open-end layout, it’s not possible to guarantee the security of sensitive data that comes through an office every day.

With this kind of legacy infrastructure in place, unauthorised personnel can gain access to private data and easily copy or scan this information. The real estate industry has long recognised this weakness and has actively encouraged businesses of all sizes to consider cloud faxing as an alternative to traditional fax.

Businesses that are not compliant with such security measures will need to ensure that their communication processes are brought into the 21st Century to avoid fines and penalties, or a PR disaster for the company.

Below are the top three benefits of cloud faxing in relation to the real estate industry.

1. Modernisation

Real estate agents handle a wide range of sensitive data such as inspection reports, credit checks, invoices, references, financial forms and tax information. Because of this, they risk severe repercussions if there is a security breach, and there are regulations that require the protection of this confidential information. As privacy regulations expand, real estate firms need to adapt and comply, adopting a safer, more secure method of sending, saving, and organising sensitive data. Non-compliance can result in a variety of penalties as well as legal proceedings, such as non-compliance hearings and other corrective procedures.

Many real estate businesses find themselves moving their aging analogue faxing infrastructure to a modern cloud faxing solution – but what does such technology mean for your business? And how can it be seamlessly integrated into your company’s current infrastructure? Like corporate email, cloud faxing is streamlined and easy-to-use.

In fact, making the switch to eFax Corporate couldn’t be simpler; the set-up process only takes a couple of minutes to complete and there’s no expensive hardware to purchase, lease or install.

2. Boost Company Responsiveness

Moving to a cloud fax solution offers real estate organisations many benefits. Not only is security and data privacy enhanced, staff responsiveness and productivity can also improve significantly.

From contracts, and loan applications, to high-resolution property pictures, online faxing means a real estate firm can send and receive information quickly and securely from anywhere. No more waiting in line, paper clogs or busy signals to deal with either. Instead, the real estate agency can enjoy seamless, hassle-free faxing.

With eFax Corporate, faxes are sent securely through email accounts as attachments using common file types such as .tif, .pdf and .efx. Learn more about how cloud faxing works. Confidential information can be sent securely and safely via any internet-enabled device via email.

This is especially convenient for real estate agents who spend a lot of time on the road at viewings or meetings. Traveling with smartphones, laptops or tablets means that, they can easily stay on top of their faxing needs, and close deals in a faster and more efficient manner.

3. Reducing Fax Costs for Real Estate Agents

Switching to a cloud faxing solution with eFax Corporate offers an immediate reduction in the costs, as you will eliminate the need to replenish ink, toner and printer paper. Instead, you can instantly save your fax documents to your computer.

Plus, reduced paper usage improves data security as it is less likely that confidential information will be left around the office. Cloud faxing has also been proven to cut costs in terms of hardware maintenance and reducing time needed for IT resources. The initial installation process for eFax Corporate is straightforward and, with the administrative controls being managed online, paper waste is reduced, with minimal IT involvement.

With this back-end administrative portal, any real estate company can easily add new fax numbers or new administrators as needed. Similar to email, most technical issues can be identified and fixed within the system, without requiring outside IT assistance.

If a technical issue occurs which cannot be easily rectified, the eFax Corporate customer care team can assist.

Real-estate Agent Presenting New Home To Clients

The Future of Real Estate Faxing

The humble fax machine has now been relegated to the history books and, while it served its purpose well in the past – enabling users to send data securely, it is now time for real estate agents to future-proof their faxing.

By signing up for eFax Corporate, real estate companies have the advantage of advanced TLS-encryption which will protect your data while in transit, and with 256-bit AES encryption, keeping your data secure while at rest too. As an additional layer of security, all faxes are instantly saved and stored for auditing purposes.

If the transmission of a document is ever questioned, the eFax Corporate account administrator has full access the real estate company’s fax history and will be able to quickly locate and track any sent or received faxes.

Summary

For the property industry and real estate agents in particular, cloud faxing is the natural progression of a company’s communication infrastructure, allowing confidential business transactions to be closed faster and more securely than before, while simultaneously ensuring that communications are compliant with the latest regulations.

Much like other industries, such as healthcare and finance, real estate agents are responsible for fully protecting the sensitive information that passes through their hands. Failure to meet such requirements can result in liability for fines or worse if a security breach were to occur.

With cloud faxing, users are certain of regulatory compliance when they send or receive faxes. It is common knowledge that the real estate business is one of the most at-risk industries when it comes to security breaches.

Modern businesses need a modern solution to the challenges they face. This is where eFax Corporate comes into the equation. A cloud-based, paperless faxing solution can keep your organisation in check with legal regulations, cut costs, as well as increase overall staff productivity--both now and in the future.

Find out more about online faxing for estate agents or explore your faxing options with us by getting in touch.