Guest post by, Tom Stanford, Founder & CEO of Nuvolo Technologies

The corporate real estate industry is in the midst of a data revolution.

New PropTech solutions have made it possible to capture and analyze nearly any metric across an entire portfolio. This means CRE professionals have access to rich information from a variety of data streams.

During the pandemic, with the rise of remote and hybrid work, they’ve utilized this abundant data to make key decisions about their properties. Equipped with insights about space utilization, lease payments, asset costs and more, many of them have been able to right-size their portfolios and realize significant cost savings.

But of course, the increased ability to collect this data also comes with a greater need to protect it. While having access to new data streams is exciting, security cannot be overlooked. After all, a single breach has the potential to disrupt business operations entirely.

Let’s take a look at what CRE leaders should be considering when it comes to their enterprise data security.

Why Data Security is No Longer Just an IT Problem

Before the age of Internet-connected devices, managing data security was a more straightforward task. IT departments had tight control over enterprise data because it was contained locally on computers and laptops.

Now, PropTech software systems have fostered connectivity and data capture for a much wider variety of devices. These assets—which can include HVAC systems, building controls, badge scanners and more—are delivering a constant stream of data about a company’s physical infrastructure and operations.

This creates two glaring security issues that can easily slip under IT’s radar:

  • The possibility of a network breach via building technology systems and devices. Hackers are more sophisticated than ever, and they can gain remote access to crucial building operations technology. For example, Google Australia’s building management system was easily hacked by two researchers who exploited a vulnerability in the platform the system was built on. These types of hacks can occur outside the careful watch of IT departments, which may lack visibility into network-connected building management systems and devices.
  • Unseen vulnerabilities via third-party vendors. Having multiple systems in place often means multiple parties have access to the data captured by those systems. And sometimes, in the case of third-party vendors, a breach of their network could lead to a breach of one of your PropTech systems. In fact, the hack that compromised the credit and debit card information of 40 million Target customers in 2013 began with the hackers obtaining the network credentials of one of the department store chain’s HVAC vendors.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration is Key

We’ve entered a new era for CRE technology—one where IT can’t be expected to secure all the disparate data streams within the organization.

PropTech systems are capturing data from network-connected devices in buildings and spaces across the entire enterprise. Keeping this data safe and accessible will require deep collaboration between CRE, IT, facilities teams and HR.

That’s why many firms are now consolidating their data into a single integrated workplace management system (IWMS). This gives them the advantage of housing all their key real estate and facilities data on the same platform—providing greater cross-departmental visibility and enabling easier collaboration.

Plus, it helps keep more crucial data in-house, reducing the risks associated with hosting that data on the servers of third-party providers.

The Final Word

It’s an exciting time for the CRE industry. Innovative software systems are making data capture and cost savings possible on a scale never seen before. Through close inter-departmental collaboration, real estate teams can help protect their data to ensure business continuity and make the most of these valuable insights for their organization.

About the Author:

Tom Stanford is the Founder & CEO of Nuvolo Technologies and has more than twenty-five years of experience in building new technology ventures. Tom is responsible for overall leadership and management of the organization. His new venture development activities include SaaS, enterprise software and professional services. Tom holds a graduate and undergraduate degree from Northeastern University.