“There are regulations for HIPAA and [protected personal information]. If it’s PPI, there’s even additional regulations if you’re a public company versus a private company, as far as disclosure, and even that depends on the state,” he said.
He added that if a builder discovers a data breach, “the first call you should make, after you call a cybersecurity firm, is to call your insurance provider and ask them what you need to do because they’re going to have the legal stuff laid out for you.”
Protecting data is more than just establishing processes for safely storing and sharing information. Keimig noted that poor data practices can also put businesses at risk from within.
A business’s trade secrets or intellectual property could be exposed in more traditional ways when employees leave the company and take that information with them. The most effective way to argue that information used by former employees or partners is a trade secret is to have treated it as such all along.
“In other words, if that trade secret information is just generally available on the network to anyone who has access to the network, that’s a factor that makes it look not very confidential,” Keimig said, noting that she’s seeing more litigation over these types of disputes.
McLaughlin noted that the challenge for small businesses is that they usually don’t have the infrastructure in place to backup their data.
“You want to make sure that if you’re a small business, and you’re using cloud storage, you have a separate backup of that cloud storage,” he said. “Having separate storage, offsite storage for those files, is key to restoring if a breach happens.”
[Related: Building a network of success]
Cybersecurity in the age of the connected home
Your homebuyers are connecting everything in their homes, and each of those devices is a potential entry point for a hacker. The market for smart home tech and Internet of Things is growing, and while it’s easy to joke about hacking a refrigerator, the fridge isn’t the target; it’s the gateway to the rest of the home’s network.
While builders aren’t responsible for their homebuyers’ bad habits, they can add an extra layer of service by educating buyers on cybersecurity. Whether it’s a brochure on how to protect your devices from cyberattacks or a referral to a bona fide cybersecurity provider to conduct a safety audit, showing customers you care about them even after the job is done is a great way to generate referral and repeat business.