More and more we now live in a wired and wireless world – whether using computers in our offices or schools, tablet PCs in the home or Smartphones on the move – we are digitally connected in one way or another. We live in an “Information Anytime Anywhere society” and this is a trend that will only accelerate. This may enhance communication, productivity and even our leisure and entertainment needs but also leaves us more vulnerable than ever to breaches in data security and cyber crime.
Data security leaks are not new but increasingly more daring and in the public domain. Data is the lifeblood of any business but even more so within the Real Estate industry. Owner/investor information, access to exclusive property listings or projects is priceless. Individual agents working within the same company are unwilling to share this data, never mind any other company data!
Recent alleged breaches, therefore, have raised an alarm within our industry and made many real estate brokerage owners and managers have sleepless nights. After all, you would not want to share your personal address books with anyone without your knowledge and permission, and the same applies to commercial data! Not only is this ethically wrong, it is also illegal.
Additionally, other UAE real estate industry nuances, such as the frequent movement of agents from one brokerage to another, the same property being listed with multiple agents, exclusive projects being launched almost daily and so on, make it even more paramount for real estate companies to safeguard their information. At the same time, a healthy balance needs to be maintained for your business to remain as agile as possible whilst secure at the same time. The UAE real estate industry is fast paced and competitive and being ready for the next opportunity to stay one step ahead of the game is a must.
How can this balance be achieved? Well, this is where a solid IT infrastructure and proven CRM software solution can play their part. A trusted and independent real estate CRM software will not only keep your data safe but also act as the technology engine to run your real estate business. Selecting the right one need not be a daunting task as long as certain factors are given proper consideration.
Having a peace of mind that your data is not being compromised or being shared without your prior authorization will be at or near the top of the list. An independent company not owned or linked to any real estate business certainly fits the bill as it will have no conflict of interest in any way or any reason to use the data for unauthorized purposes.
Features and functionality will be another important criteria for you as you will want to ensure that the solution you go with does what you need it to. There is a core set of features that most real estate brokerages need and then some items that will vary across companies. Handling everything from managing property listings, uploading to all the key portals with a single click, property management, management of deals, staff performance as well as marketing all within a single platform, you will want to have everything to run your business at your fingertips!
Ease of use will ensure that staff members will not only learn to use the system quickly but also be happy to use it every day – which in the end is your ultimate goal as this will improve productivity and help your business to grow!
Protecting your company information may seem to be an overwhelming task but it need not be. Using the right tools and processes will not only help achieve this but also contribute to improving efficiency and saving costs –a goal of every business owner!
Although unpleasant and potentially very damaging, data security breaches are a real threat and one that we must face head on. Left unprotected data can result not only in losing vital information but a loss of deals, opportunities, people and revenue.
As the old cliché goes, ‘Better to be safe than sorry’
Bharat Kumar is CEO and Partner of SME Professional LLC, a leading provider of real estate CRM software, website development and online marketing solutions in the UAE.