If the word “data” instantly puts you to sleep, then you are not alone. So, grab a cup of coffee and some toothpicks. There are a few things you really need to know – it’s about your contact database.
Whether you are a real estate agent or broker, your contact database is the key to your business success, and yet most of us aren’t very good at keeping our database happy and healthy. It’s not your fault – your data has been sneaking around. It’s in your phone, your text messages, your email, the CRM you use for your sphere of influence, and it’s in the 2nd CRM you have for your internet leads. It’s in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It’s in DocuSign, Zip Forms and your transaction management system. And it’s in your own brain.
Aside from obvious inefficiencies, we have another huge problem – data security and privacy. Beginning in May of this year compliance was required under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a Regulation in which the European Commission will strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union. This includes US companies collecting data of folks overseas. There are new guidelines in the US as well, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act in California which requires companies disclose what personal information is collected, sold or disclosed; and allows increased consumer protection about the collection, use and sale of this information.
The real estate industry has a lot of work to do here. As agents and brokers, we obtain personal data from clients including social security numbers, mortgage and banking information, and contact information. With all the data breaches we’ve read about in recent times at major companies, like Target or Facebook, the real estate industry needs to be thinking about this. So, ask yourself “do you and your service providers have procedures and systems in place to ensure the sanctity of your client and agent data to ensure you can easily comply with these new laws?”
I’ve checked the data security policies of several CRMs, and they say they protect the agent’s data but it’s unclear how they will be partnering with you to help you protect your client’s data and provide proper disclaimers. As a broker, perhaps you are wondering if the required oversight of your agents includes data security compliance on behalf of the agents who have their license with your brokerage? What about protections for the agents you are hoping to recruit and the information you have about them in your office database. This is all new territory and I don’t know the answer, but it sounds like a great conversation to have with your legal team. If you’re an agent, you’re probably thinking – “I do my best but I’m just a small business owner and surely that compliance stuff doesn’t apply to me.” Again, I’m not saying it does or it doesn’t. I am encouraging us all to do the right thing. Think about how to ensure your clients data is secure and that you are providing proper disclosures about data usage.
I’m certain that none of our clients would be ok knowing that any one of us, whether it be software providers, like RocketUrBiz or your brokerage or their real estate agent wasn’t on top of this issue. At RocketUrBiz, we are very serious about data security and compliance. All software for individual agents, agent teams or brokerages will have enterprise level data security. We are working on our full compliance statement prior to our products being released for sale. We wanted you to know that we are committed to partnering with you to protect you and your clients data.