Is the real estate industry protected?

Cyber ​​security is omnipresent. ubiquitous? Not quite. And not everywhere.

There are companies and also sectors that present themselves almost like "Gallic villages", to use this vivid Asterix image, in which the message of a powerful threat from the outside has arrived, but they continue to perceive themselves as an impregnable fortress - and hardly anything or at least too little to protect themselves. The "magic potion" is then usually the feeling that nothing will happen, thanks to a decent firewall. The reality often looks different. According to research by the Criminalistic Research Institute of Lower Saxony (2019/2020), more than 59 percent of the German companies surveyed had already been the victim of a serious cyber attack. Strong upward trend.

Black box cyber security

The players in the automotive industry were among the first to take the issue of cyber security seriously and to take stringent measures, both in terms of personnel and technology, more than twenty years ago. To this day, they are among the pioneers in cyber security.  

Hackers are greedy for sensitive data. And the real estate industry also owns and collects these in abundance. Their products are increasingly being planned, marketed and managed using digital technologies. Extensive digital services are provided for tenants and users.

What applies to every industry - with digitalization, cyber attacks are increasing proportionally. For example, phishing attacks are widespread on real estate online portals, where criminals use infected websites to place false rental advertisements. It is not always highly professional hackers, individual perpetrators, who identify and use suitable weak points in their own research, but complex illegal "armies" with worms and viruses that paralyze entire building systems or digitally knock out the company for a long time. 

If you ask your own large network in the German real estate industry, the topic of cyber security, or rather cyber resilience, is still a black box in many places, despite all the warnings - and is often treated as an annoying mandatory task. In addition, studies have shown that 95 percent of all security-related dangers can be traced back to unconscious human – internal – errors. No intention, no ill will, but too inexperienced or not currently trained. A badly set up firewall or a firewall that is full of holes can cause enormous damage.  

Saving at the wrong end?

Is our business truly protected and does our leadership team have sufficient knowledge to properly manage cyber risk? Do the most experienced IT security experts work for us? These considerations should urgently move the real estate industry. The size of a company is not necessarily decisive. Effective defense mechanisms and technologies—proper password management can be a small start—and staff who can devise contingency plans and implement them immediately in the event of an attack or sensitive disruption are important lifelines. If a company saves at the wrong end in terms of personnel, it can take revenge bitterly.

As a personnel consultant, HAGER is a pioneer in supporting the digital transformation of companies in all sectors. Since it was founded more than 25 years ago, it has been a major focus. With foresight, HAGER pointed out necessary adjustments. These are currently aimed in particular at the real estate industry, where people are needed who have excellent digital know-how in order to further advance or build up future readiness and cyber security (security concepts) in the company. Such minds are rare, the most brilliant among them, as HAGER finds them, are not uncommunicative nerds (warning, cliché!) or free spirits, but highly talented and teamable personalities in their talent and knowledge.

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