Reducing risk: How mortgage, title and real estate companies can build cyber resilience

The rash of recent mortgage and title industry data breaches serves as a sobering reminder of the paramount importance of cybersecurity. In this first installment of our reducing cyber risk series, let’s explore a crucial facet of cybersecurity: bolstering resilience in your critical systems and services. Just like a well-built castle can withstand attacks, having defined resiliency requirements for your digital infrastructure can help reduce risks and protect your business from a potential breach. Here are some tips on how to reinforce your digital castle.

Understanding resiliency

Before we delve into the benefits of defining resiliency requirements, let’s get on the same page about what resiliency means in the context of cybersecurity. Resiliency is your ability to bounce back from cyberattacks or system failures and quickly restore normal operations. It’s like having a sturdy drawbridge that can be raised to keep out intruders or having backup knights ready to defend your castle when needed.

The importance of defined resiliency requirements

Having clearly defined resiliency requirements for your critical systems or services brings a multitude of benefits. Here are a few reasons why it’s important:

  • Quick recovery: Defined resiliency requirements help you establish protocols and processes to quickly recover from cyber incidents or system failures. It’s like having a team of skilled architects who can swiftly repair damaged walls and restore order in your castle.
  • Minimize downtime: By implementing resiliency measures, you can reduce the impact of cyber incidents on your business operations. It’s similar to having a secondary water supply that ensures your castle’s moat remains filled, even if one source is compromised.
  • Protecting customer trust: Building resilience in your systems and services shows your customers that you take their security seriously. Just like a sturdy gate assures the villagers that they’re safe within the castle walls, having defined resiliency measures gives your clients peace of mind.

Defining resiliency requirements

Now that we understand the importance, let’s talk about how you can define resiliency requirements for your critical systems or services:

  • Identify critical assets: Start by identifying the systems or services that are crucial for your business operations. These might include your customer database, transactional systems or communication platforms. Consider what would have the most significant impact on your business if compromised.
  • Set recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO): RTO specifies the time it should take to recover your system after an incident. RPO determines how much data you’re willing to lose during recovery. Define these objectives based on your business needs and constraints.
  • Develop backup and disaster recovery plans: Establish robust backup and disaster recovery plans that align with your set objectives. Regularly test and update these plans to ensure their effectiveness. It’s like having an emergency escape route from the castle that’s well-maintained and ready to use at any time.

Proactive measures for resilience

While defining resiliency requirements is crucial, there are additional proactive measures you can take to enhance your system’s resilience:

  • Regular updates and patches: Keep your systems and software up to date to prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited. It’s like strengthening weak points in your castle’s walls to ensure they can withstand attacks.
  • Implement redundancy: Duplicate critical systems and services to ensure failover capabilities. This way, even if one system or service goes down, another is ready to step up and fill the gap. It’s like having multiple secret entrances to your castle, so even if one is compromised, another remains hidden and available for use.

Some final thoughts

Building cyber resilience is crucial for small to medium-sized businesses in the mortgage, title insurance and real estate segments. By defining resiliency requirements, you can set the foundation for a strong and secure digital castle. Resilient systems help you recover quickly, minimize downtime and build trust with your customers. So, take the time to identify critical assets, set recovery objectives and develop robust backup and disaster recovery plans. Don’t forget to implement proactive measures like regular updates and redundancy. With a resilient digital castle, you can confidently protect your business from cyber threats and ensure the safety of your digital treasures. Stay resilient, stay vigilant and safeguard your realm!

Bruce Phillips is senior vice president and chief information security officer for MyHome, a Williston Financial Group Company.