Is your condominium or homeowner association identity as important as your personal identity? You bet it is! Yet, many Board members aren’t aware of the dangers lurking online. Technology has added a lot of convenience to document storage/retrieval, website updates, communications and more. If your Board doesn’t follow online security guidelines, this convenience may come with a hefty price.
Mistake 1: One person manages all online work for your association. If you have a small association, it’s easy to let one tech guru handle all online projects and communications. This person may move, get sick or have another emergency in which he/she cannot perform the duties. At least two homeowners need to have documented login information and sufficient skills to manage online projects/communications.
Mistake 2: Weak Internet passwords can put your association at risk. Create strong passwords by using a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. Check your password strength. It’s a good practice to use different passwords for social media, document storage and financial records. Consider changing your passwords as Board members change or at least every six months.
Mistake 3: Board members file association passwords in their computer browsers. Because computer viruses have the ability to access account passwords in browsers and documents, passwords should never be stored in your computer. Explore the options of web-based and desktop password managers. These services offer convenience with encryption that can be accessed via a master password.
Mistake 4: A past Board member owns your Google listing. The person who sets up or claims your listing is the owner for your association. If this person moves or becomes unable to manage the listing for your association, it can be very difficult to obtain. Establish a Google account for your association so that you own and manage your local listing, online documents storage, social media communications and other online business via an association account.
Mistake 5: You delay or ignore security software upgrades. Every Board member needs to recognize the importance of timely computer upgrades. New viruses emerge frequently, so you need to upgrade your software when you receive the notice to be protected. Better yet, set your program to auto update so upgrades happen automatically while you sleep.
Mistake 6: You skip the extra authentication offered on many websites. Many websites offer security questions, texts and codes for additional verification. In addition, some platforms remember the device or location that you use for login. Taking advantage of the extra authentication can be cumbersome, but additional security to protect the identity of your association is worth a little extra time.