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Improving Cybersecurity Posture

September 2016

Multifamily is a prime target of cybercrime organizations given the amount of confidential information our industry handles. Even though in many cases the customer's confidential data at best resides in third-party systems such as cloud-based service providers and software as a service (SaaS) companies, this doesn't mitigate the risk of the data been stolen while it is being processed.

Cybercriminals could use different mechanism such as social engineering and phishing to compromise a computer or terminal that has access to the confidential data and steal the information without anyone knowing.

In contrast with conventional burglars, cybercriminals cover their tracks as they steal data. Consequently, most data breaches remain undetected for many months. The breach becomes apparent after a third-party organization finds customer data in "black" markets and notifies the victims. In many cases, the third-party organization is the financial institution and in some other cases, are law enforcement agencies.

"Having cyber risk insurance is a must," the Vice President of IT for a Top 10 property management firm says. "As leaders in multifamily, our main responsibility and concern is to do everything we can to keep our residents data safe."

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for all apartment housing organizations. One effective approach to address cybersecurity is to build a strategic plan to constantly and steadily improve the cybersecurity posture of the organization. It is paramount to engage cybersecurity professionals in the planning and implementation of any cyber risk mitigation plan.

"Our industry is a prime target for cybercrime," the CFO of a large Southeast-based apartment management company says. "We have to understand that third party monitoring of our data traffic is now necessary."

Cybercriminals won't stop in their attempts to compromise systems and steal data regardless of the defense mechanism that has been put into place. Firewalls, antivirus and other security systems are inconvenient to the cybercriminal, but are not enough to stop a persistent threat. For this reason, constant 24/7 monitoring of the IT Infrastructure by cybersecurity experts is essential to detect and stop unauthorized activity in your network before your systems get breached.

Abacode's Cyber Lorica platform is a 24/7 monitoring program that combines best-of-breed systems such as AlienVault IDS and SIEM, AirWatch MDM, and custom-built tools provided by cybersecurity experts. It also can help to improve a company's cybersecurity stance through training, assessments, pen testing, information security governance and forensic investigation of incidents.

"When you look at the website, as an industry, we have enjoyed incredible growth and proudly market how large we have grown and how many residents we now house," Kirk Downey, Managing Director, Abacode says. "Cybercriminals see this as home to more than 37 million records. We have to be educated, prepared and equipped to fight these criminals."