In today’s connected world, housing providers represent more than just brick and mortar establishments; they are repositories of valuable data. As custodians of substantial amounts of intellectual property, financial information and tenant data, it falls to them to protect these ‘crown jewels’ with the utmost care.
Not just technology
However, safeguarding data is a multi-faceted challenge. It goes beyond the mere deployment of the latest technologies; it requires a holistic approach involving people and processes, and setting up the right business policies and directives first. Once these foundations are laid, effective communication across different business units is essential to grasp the potential risks and implications. Likewise, understanding the nature of the data at hand is crucial to proactively safeguard sensitive information. In short, people and policies first.
For housing providers, the first vital step is to understand the nature and quantity of the data they hold. This involves identifying where the data is stored, who has access to it, and how it is being used. Performing a paperwork exercise of a data map is the best approach. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of their data landscape, housing providers can design and implement effective data security strategies.
Asking the right questions
A generic approach to data security is not enough and housing providers should consider several key questions. Do mandates for data protection and governance differ by location, data type or other factors? Is data resilience a regulatory requirement, a cyber-threat mitigation or both? Answering these questions demands cooperation with legal, risk and compliance teams. While IT and information security teams may have responsibility for implementing controls and protection measures, these must align with the organisation’s wider responsibilities and contractual obligations.
The advent of remote working has added extra complexity to data security. With an increasing volume of business-critical data and a shift towards remote working, it is vital to enable a rapid sequence of identification, triage and action against suspicious activities.
Overcoming your data challenges
Microsoft’s compliance solutions, coupled with offerings from Quorum Cyber, can equip housing providers with a comprehensive toolkit to monitor, manage and secure their data across multiple platforms and locations.
In conclusion, data security demands an integrated approach, combining technology with robust processes and human expertise. By understanding their data landscape and implementing bespoke security measures, housing providers can protect their ‘crown jewels’ more effectively and fulfil their obligations to their tenants.
Graham Hosking is the data security solution director at Quorum Cyber.