October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Its purpose is to ensure that Americans have the resources needed to be safer and more secure online. This is a great reminder as scams targeting the real estate industry continue to rise. 

Title companies, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, homebuyers, and sellers are targeted frequently and are extremely vulnerable given the number of different parties on any given transaction. According to ALTA’s 2021 Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Survey, title insurance professionals reported that cybercriminals tried to reroute funds into fraudulent accounts during one-third of all real estate and mortgage transactions. If all parties are not implementing the cybersecurity protections necessary to protect themselves and sensitive information, everyone is at risk. 

We recently connected with industry leaders to ask them about their perspectives on security. Read on to learn 3 tips for elevating security at your organization. 

1. Be intentional about technology investment.

Security needs to be number one for several reasons including the fact that technology is rapidly changing, so you have to constantly keep investing to stay ahead of security threats and find ways to mitigate risks. Being intentional about how you interact with software and hardware every day and mindful of the risks is one way to steer clear of some of the risks.  

—Brent J. Scheer, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Shaddock National Holdings

2. Make sure security risks are considered in every business decision.

Reese Lacasse's Headshot

Security must become part of their DNA and be part of everything they do every day. Just like waking up and brushing your teeth every morning. Everything takes a back seat to security and the protection of our systems and data. No projects move unless the security risk impact has been fully contemplated and understood. Any decision or project, no matter how large or small, must include the thought of “does what I am doing have any security risk, if so, what is that risk, and what can I do to get rid of that risk or mitigate it as best as possible?”

—Reese Lacasse, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, CATIC

3. Create a culture of security.

Unfortunately, it seems we often have to learn our lesson the hard way. Even if security is “white noise,” it needs to remain in our forethought, and we need to make sure we stay on top of this to the best of our abilities. A regular conversation on security around the water cooler is always the best way to keep it light but present.  Other examples of keeping security present are using software tools to “test” our teams, and training through humor is popular to combat this. The bottom line is there are tools out there. It’s our job as leaders to stay on top of the message and keep security relevant and execute training and prevention regularly.

—Brent J. Scheer, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Shaddock National Holdings

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