Information security is an important issue, and your HOA management portal might not be top of mind when you think about the risks associated with a data breach. Yet, as a recent Los Angeles Times article on HOA data vulnerability points out, when a homeowners association data portal or website is hacked, it can have devastating consequences on the community and result in a loss of trust in the HOA board.
“Data security is not an afterthought to us. We take it very seriously,” explains Sarah Touchi, Director of Information Systems at Keystone Pacific. “We set up and monitor strict systems that protect confidential homeowners association management documents, payment portals and personal identifying information.”
A Strategy for Protection
Reliable information security systems should be put in place from the get-go, but also monitored and maintained regularly. At Keystone Pacific, we utilize a complete set of robust tools designed to protect information by eliminating failure points. We also work closely with data protection experts to make sure that all our systems are current and our security policies are based on best practices.
Here is a partial list of the ways we keep your data safe:
- Firewalls with advanced security in place, including geo-filtering and content filtering
- Encrypted communication to remote access servers
- Two-factor authentication on servers
- Antivirus installed and monitored on all servers and workstations
- All Windows and security patches kept up to date and monitored
- Full backup of all systems with crucial system backups performed hourly
- Full set of all systems kept offsite and updated nightly
One Community Website: Two Types of Information
Your community’s website is likely divided into two parts: a public-facing section that includes information that should be easily accessible, including community bulletin board information such as announcements, trash pick-up schedules, events, reminders, and quick-reference rules for common areas.
On the other side, your website will contain information related to your homeowners association corporation–including minutes and governing documents–to which only members of the association should have access. This password-protected area might also include HOA management resources for use by the board, which might feature information and documents that are subject to corporate privilege or attorney-client privilege, including delinquencies, legal actions against members, work orders, violations, architectural applications and board packages. Due to the highly confidential nature of this type of information, robust access restrictions should always be in place.
Protecting Member Portals
Strong data security requires a balance between convenience and protection. We offer an online portal for members of Keystone Pacific-managed HOAs to perform many self-serve functions, including paying assessments, reviewing balances, opting into e-statements and changing billing information. We take strong measures to ensure that access is password-protected and this sensitive information is always encrypted.
Management Company Involvement
As the keepers of a trove of critical confidential information, your homeowners association management company should be diligent about data security. “At Keystone Pacific, we view data security as a process that requires ongoing involvement,” Touchi explains. “We provide frequent training to our staff members to help them be on the lookout for particular conditions that might indicate an attack on data security.”
If your management company is tasked with maintaining your community’s website and other digital assets, ask your manager to outline the security measures in place for your protection. Don’t hesitate to issue a request to your management company to go into detail about their data protection systems. If their specifics are hazy or they can’t articulate a coherent process, consider looking for a new management company.
Data protection is an important part of today’s HOA management. For questions about how your community can best protect homeowner or association information, call Keystone Pacific at (949) 833-2600.