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Shedding Light on Online Security

May 12 2011

security computer

Shedding Light on Security Concerns

Growing concerns about the security of personal information will impact us all, on both a personal and professional level. As a REALTOR®, it's essential for you to understand these concerns so that you can answer client questions and choose the right technology for your business. If you're aware, informed, and diligent, you can safeguard your data and reassure your clients.

Understanding Client Concerns

You probably have some security concerns of your own. Most likely, they are in line with the concerns shared by the greater population. A fantastic article on Mashable.com offers valuable insight. Just a few highlights: 70% of people are worried about the security of their personal information, while only 67% are worried about national security; although security concerns continue to grow, the number of people being victimized has actually gone down in the last year; concern around Internet security is growing faster than concern about financial security, national security, and personal security.

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As a REALTOR®, you need to be able to answer questions about the security of personal information. By demonstrating your knowledge about technology, you're also making yourself much more attractive to prospective clients. Speaking intelligently about security will help to allay their fears and inspire their confidence. The industry is changing; more information is being stored and exchanged digitally. As this trend continues, security is going to be even more of a concern.

Questions to Ask Vendors

An important part of choosing the right vendor for services, such as digital signatures and online document management/transaction management, is knowing how to ask the right questions. Here are a few you may want to ask:

  1. "Is this service online or local?" (FYI: "local" means that the software will live on your own computer as opposed to being hosted online.) If the information is hosted online, the vendor is responsible for the data. You will have to trust that they will do their due diligence to keep your data secure and will not repurpose the data (post it on another site).
  2. "Will this be a single license or a group license?" If it is a single license, you are the only person who will be using the service. If it is a group license, your information may be accessible to others in your office. You need to decide whether or not you are comfortable with that. More importantly, would your clients be comfortable with it?
  3. "Is there any network traffic? If so, is it encrypted?" Unless the information is being hosted locally, it will need to be sent over a network. It's important that the network be encrypted so that this information is not visible to others. Unencrypted information sent over a network could be visible to anyone else tapping into the network.

To get an idea of the many products available to ensure the security of your sensitive information, you can explore our security products directory. Some good examples of companies offering these products are DotLoop, GoPaperless Solutions, Instanet Solutions, and DocuSign.

 


Authentisign from Instanet Solutions

This online document signing service is maintained on a secure browser. Documents signed are protected using the United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark, a Web-based service that dates and timestamps electronic documents and files. Documents can be distributed online to multiple signing parties, allowing for a speedy and smooth sale process.

DotLoop

DotLoop is designed to help you go paperless while streamlining your real estate transactions. The system integrates online forms and helps REALTORS® manage transactions as well as electronic signatures. DotLoop is also a CRM tool.

GoPaperless Solutions

With eSign Dashboard, eSign Online, and Real Estate Dashboard, GoPaperless Solutions provides a secure way for REALTORS® to manage transactions. Their "wet" electronic signatures are safe and encrypted. Other services include document management, fax and email, online team collaboration, large file transfer, and offsite backup.

DocuSign

DocuSign provides eSignature solutions for REALTORS®, as well as DocuSign for the iPhone or iPad. Your signature is secure and also branded with the REALTOR® logo.

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