The nature of property maintenance business requires collection of customer’s personal data, such as phone numbers, apartment numbers, payment details, door codes and email addresses. A lot of the data that maintenance companies collect and store is highly sensitive. This is all the more reason for property maintenance companies to practice special care when processing customer data. The amount of data collected from customers should always be justified and storage of the data should be carefully planned out.
Customer data in 2021 is typically stored electronically, but some maintenance companies still record service requests by hand pf pieces of paper or print out customer data into office folders. Before, it was much more common to record service requests first on a piece of paper and then call an available service technician to handle the assignment. Thankfully today more hassle-free and more secure solutions have become available, such as property maintenance and work order softwares.
Property maintenance companies have to collect detailed customer data in as part of their daily operations, so that work requests can be formed precisely and service jobs are completed accurately. Imagine, if your maintenance service company didn’t ask you for an available time to complete the maintenance, a contact phone number or whether they’re allowed to enter the property with a common key. Below we’ve listed 5 best practices for maintenance companies when handling customer data.
1. Are you printing out work orders on paper?
Some service personnel may still print out the day’s maintenance tasks on paper and to take them to the field and to work gigs with them. Printing customer information on paper and taking it out of the office is a major security risk. Information on pieces of paper cannot be secured with passwords. When the sheets of paper are lost, anyone can access sensitive data that can provide information on door codes, security locks and times, when no one will be at home.
With property maintenance software, work orders are carried by the worker on his or her own mobile phone. Customer data is kept secure from outsiders, when access to sensitive data doesn’t only require a password for the software, but also for the lock screen on the mobile phone.
2. Who has the rights to access and edit customer data?
Typically all employees in a maintenance company don’t need the same rights to edit data and access to all of the data, that the company holds. For example, service personnel in London wouldn’t need access to customers PI in Manchester and vice versa. It’s also important to consider what kinds of editing rights are granted to employees- for example, do you want service men on the field to be able to edit invoices in the property management software? Internal processes should be created to manage the different levels of rights for different employee groups.
When evaluating property maintenance softwares, you should consider the different user access rights levels that the software provides and how well they meet your organizations structure. Some software provides also keep logs of users, who have viewed sensitive customer data. Such solutions could be used to monitor misuse of data.
Old employees usernames and passwords should always be deactivated across all software.
3. Gas station discussions
In smaller service companies service technicians may answer calls from the customer directly, for example during night shifts. The service technician should consider what kind of things they are asking the customer and what they’re repeating aloud in a public place. For example, contact information and door codes should always be requested from the customer in a private place with no other hearing ears around. The same rules apply to your company’s subcontractors, when you’re calling them to pass on work requests.
4. Do you have clear processes and procedures for processing personal data?
Service companies should consider internal operating models for the secure processing of customer data.
- Do key personnel receive enough training on how to securely process customer data?
- How often should staff change passwords and are the passwords in a secure location and or on a piece of paper on the table?
- Do you send attachments that include customer PI via secure e – mails?
- Do you share sensitive data, such as passwords and contracts, with two separate e – mails, so that username and password pairs do not go through the same e – mail for security reasons?
Subcontractors must also take the same measured to process customer information confidentially.
5. New ways to manage customer information
If you do not have a property management system, it may be a good idea to consider investing in one, as customer data will remain secure on trusted and encrypted servers, and access to them will always require a password. If you already have an electronic work order software, it is a good idea to discuss with your service provider, for example, who has access to sensitive data and how well and where the data is protected. It is also advisable to check the agreements and contract chains related to the processing of personal data between the service provider and your company.
Safeguarding data is currently one of the most important aspects of security for all businesses. Hacking and other security-related threats have increased exponentially in recent years. All companies run the risk of getting compromised. Because property maintenance companies have access to a lot of sensitive customer data, a data leak or transfer of information to third parties could be fatal for the companies reputation. It is good to remember that the processing of personal data is also governed by law and GDPR, which has been introduced in all EU countries. GDPR for example defines precise guidelines on the collection and processing of customer personal data and sets requirements for data protection officers.
You can also read more about our VALPAS field force management software.
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