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The New Era Of Work From Home Data Security

Loan Officer Coaching

The unexpected transition to a remote environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic directly affects work from home data security. Nearly all industries have seen an abrupt spike in remote work this past year. This abrupt transition has left many companies scrambling to support a larger remote workforce than ever before. Pre-pandemic, 17% of U.S. employees worked from home 5 days or more per week, however, this number  increased sharply, to 44% during the pandemic.

The quick shift has led to certain security measures and requirements getting pushed aside. This is due to the unexpected nature of the pandemic. With that in mind, cybercriminals have seen increased opportunity to attack remote workers. Their improperly secured connections and technologies are at risk. This new dynamic has created a very vulnerable work from home data security environment. 

Due to these rapid changes, the cybersecurity defenses of many organizations have weakened dramatically. 

Recent Rise in Data Attacks

Cyberattacks rate as the fifth top-rated risk in 2020. As this malicious industry continues to grow in 2021, both the public and private sectors have come under attack.

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report states that the rate of cyberattack detection is as low as 0.05% in the United States. 

As illustrated by the past year, work from home data security is an ever-changing landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic affected all types of businesses, all over the world. They are forced to reconsider their business and security practices.  

So, what exactly is cybercrime? Cybercrime is criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device.

Overall, cybercrime is up 600% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, nearly every industry has had to embrace new solutions to protect their data 

How Can Work From Home Data Security Compromise Company Security? 

The current workplace reality is that, in response to the pandemic, many companies around the globe have rolled out remote working arrangements. As a result, there has been an influx of employees signing in remotely to corporate networks and using cloud-based applications. So, this shift opens new doors to security risks and cyberthreats.  

Organizations have to be wary of the additional risks introduced by work from home arrangements and connected home devices. Blurring the lines in enterprise security, remote devices can infect and then serve as launch points for supply chain attacks.

Security teams and home office users, however, can minimize the risks that come with remote-working setups. 

What Does This Mean For the Mortgage Industry?

In particular, the mortgage industry is embracing digital lending. So, this allows them to provide on-demand service to their clients.  

The nature of these systems makes them incredibly vulnerable to cybercrime. Especially with work from home data security breaches on the rise. Digital lending enables accessibility of personal borrower data on the internet. Also, they are supported by third-party vendors. 

Specifically, business email compromise, the quick shift to cloud services, and improperly secured corporate Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) all contribute to the work from home data security issues.

According to Ellie Mae’s Borrower Insights Survey 2018, 46.5% of homeowners say they are “somewhat concerned” about entering their personal information online. 

It is fantastic that mortgage companies are embracing technology to meet the evolving demands of their clients. But, it is more important than ever to ensure a proper cybersecurity approach occurs.

Tips and Tricks for Ensuring Cyber Security

In the current mortgage market, where costs are constantly rising, the average mortgage company most likely cannot afford to buy or build the data infrastructure, processes, and procedures required on their own. So, that is why it is important for today’s modern mortgage teams to partner with companies. They are ready to help secure their customer and business data. 

Outsource Wisely 

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform helps loan officers to securely manage their client database and interactions. When you use a CRM, such as Jungo, you gain a robust CRM that customizes for the mortgage industry. Also, fully integrated software, like Jungo,  helps loan officers close more loans and delight more borrowers. 

When choosing technology partners, it’s critical to outsource with companies intimately familiar with the complicated world of data security. So, seek mature, experienced, and robust partners who know the industry. 

With more than a decade of experience creating and integrating solutions for the financial services industry, Jungo is the preeminent expert in the field. Streamlined communication, coupled with world-class data security and privacy, will lead to a better sales and customer experience, fewer errors, and employees that work as one cohesive force.

Security Practices for Loan Officers

Most loan officers can agree, data is the heart of the mortgage industry. So, protecting your company and customer data should be a top priority. 

1. Password Consistency

Many mortgage companies work in a way that is fundamentally fractured and insecure. Data resides on many systems, ranging from the loan officer’s phone messaging app, to their LOS, and beyond. Data stores in Word documents on desktops, in Outlook inboxes, and is sent and shared insecurely every day.  So, seek out modern systems that work together seamlessly and, most importantly, securely.

Also, consider using an encrypted password manager. This helps you maintain password integrity across all your accounts and devices without having to remember dozens of complicated passwords. 

 2. Protect All Data

With all the digital information now at hand, the mortgage industry must take a more comprehensive approach to data security. This is due to using firewalls, antivirus, content filtering, and threat detection. 

Encryption is one such approach. Mortgage companies can maintain control of their data, even when it deploys in the cloud or in their data center. Then, a mortgage company can ensure that even after the perimeter breaches, the information remains secure. 

3. Facilitate Precautions 

Be sure to look at your company as a whole. So, implement security awareness training, security policies that enforce across the organization, as well as a consistent process of monitoring and reviews. These are necessary precautions to take. After all, your employees pose the highest risk of data breach.  

The key to security is getting every person to care about it. So, set a shared value within your team for successful work from home data security. Plus, if and when your team does return to a more traditional office structure, excellent data security practices will already be in place!

4. Use a VPN

Connecting to public WiFi networks can be incredibly risky. The biggest threat to Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position themself between you and the connection point. But, sometimes circumstances necessitate that you have to connect to a public network when you’re working on the go or remotely. 

A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) allows users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. 

So, much like a firewall protects your data on your computer, VPNs protect your data when you’re online. This list of top VPN providers is a great place to start learning more about implementing a VPN for your team. 

Bottom Line

Some mortgage companies are getting ready to reopen their standard office spaces in the coming months. However, as the mortgage industry has seen, the possible negative repercussions of the rapid shift to remote working models in the cybersecurity space have risen. 

So, security must be at the forefront of all decisions made by mortgage professionals and their teams. Rather than letting security concerns slow down or cripple your organization, use excellent security as an asset to grow your business. Empower your teams rather than limiting their capabilities. Also, challenge yourself to regularly audit your security infrastructure and make changes as needed.