Data Protection – How Important is it and Does it Really Matter?

Data Protection

Client and prospect data is an essential tool for real estate agents. It helps you understand your audiences so you can communicate with them better. Insights about who your customers are, what they want and their needs are crucial for an effective digital marketing strategy. 

However, not enough real estate agents are taking data security seriously or are leaving themselves exposed to significant risks. Protecting data is important for business interests and agencies have a legal obligation to safeguard sensitive personal information.

 

Is Your Agency Lawfully Protecting Personal Information?

The Australian Privacy Act 1988 governs the conduct of businesses with an annual turnover of over $3 million, which includes most real estate agents. The Act requires agencies to have a privacy policy on their website and make it available to clients on request.

Agencies also face restrictions regarding how much and what kind of information they can collect. You need consent to collect personal information, notify the person why you are collecting it, who else it’s shared with and only collect information that is reasonably necessary for your activities or functions.

 

Strategies to Protect Client Data

There are a number of ways agencies can protect client data, from training employees to be wary of malware, spam and email scams to ensuring you shred sensitive documents and have the right security software in place.

Agencies should use a dedicated server to host their data so individuals outside the company cannot access any of the information. You should also encrypt data stored on servers or the cloud and restrict access to only those who need to use it.

 

Be Wary of Third Party Software

Ensure you undertake proper due diligence when selecting real estate software. Some offer quick, convenient data management and customer service solutions but might share or sell that information to third parties. To ensure complete data ownership and security, use an independent software platform like Plezzel.

Remember that real estate is a relationship based business. Every online enquiry or open home registration represents valuable data you should protect. By letting it get shared or sold on, you are selling you future client relationship and business growth.

By – COO/CFO
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