Primarily with out with buyers, we will stop at McDonalds or Starbucks and look up property information. It is searching only, we also carry a small printer so we can print out reports, do contracts, etc.
Debbie Albert, PA
Keller Williams Realty of the Treasure Coast
As the temptation to migrate more resources to cloud computing beckons, the risk increases. Even closed systems have incredibly difficult issues with maintaining security. You and I, are sitting ducks.
The good news is....We are small fish....at this time.
We are more vulnerable to hand scanned credit cards than internet snooping. Yep, that's right, the wait person walking out of sight with your credit card is a much bigger immediate threat. If security is of concern, use the built in encryption capability of your computer. A Jr High geek can find the decryption key but the security is simply in the inconvenience of the extra effort. Internet security is an illusion. The only defense we have is schooling. No, not that kind of schooling This schooling refers to all those little fishes in the ocean, they cluster together and swarm making the individual fishy a difficult target.
What are the choices? Direct calls? As one of my recent blogs highlighted, cell phone are not secure. Land lines? Yikes, I don't even have one of those! There are NO sure-fire solutions....and.....we really have no choice, in this business, but to take the risk.
Next time you are in a hot spot environment, have your computer scan for new connections. Note the 'Security Type' displayed for those 'secure or password protected' servers. Using simply that particle of information you are but one download away from the unlocking the server.
(PS: and if our computer, motherboard or CPU was manufactured in China, you can be confident there is a little surprise waiting to jump into action when called. But we really love those $400 laptops!
To be honest, I don't want to see what's happening behind the curtain. Truly knowing the risk would compel implementing secure methods which are incompatible with the 'instant access' we have all bought into.
At this moment security is are ability to "Swim like little fishes."
In theory, yes - they can hack our phones and probably download viruses into our home and office computers. In practice? Well, it will happen to one of us, sometime. To what end, I have no idea!
NEFAR may not be compatible with phones - it is not a question of 3G or 4G. If I need to login to NEFAR while I'm out I use my hot spot and my Netbook not my phone. Someday NEFAR will work with mobile devices but I have not heard any dates. We should ask them.
It does not appear any of us have experienced any great security breach from our public Wi-FI habits.
Everyone has given some really good answers that are food for thought. I'm not very Tech savvy. Maybe if I do not keep secure data on my everyday moble computers and don't do banking, security will not be an issue. Actually AT&T told me not to do banking on my I-phone or I-pad.
I use my Smart phone the most. When out viewing property with clients it's very helpful to use the Trulia app or the Realtor.com app to quickly get the price and data on properties near the home we are viewing. It seems a Buyer will always ask "what about that home, why aren't we looking at it today? A quick search on my smart phone and I can tell them its only a 3BR or the price is $50K more. If they want to see the home, usually the listing agent data is available. It makes me much more efficient.
I like having my e-mail accessible throughout the day. I also receive leads from my website, Trulia, & Realtor.com via Text on my smart phone.
My lap top is large, heavy and bulky I stopped carying it way before I bought a net book. The netbook works well in hot spots. I like the size and weight of it. It is less expensive that a Tablet or I-pad. I was content using my netbook the past few years.
My family gave me an IPAD2 in July. I absolutely love it. It's like having a big IPhone. Weighs even less than my netbook. If we stop anywhere near free Wi-FI, I can access our local MLS and retrieve additional data on homes. If I am waiting for someone, I can easily answer e-mail (bigger keyboard). I can use it like my kindle to ead a book or play a game. What is really great, it will easily fit in my handbag. I carry it constantly since I received it.
Once you are a certain age you really appreciate the larger letters and numbers. It's much easier to read than my I-phone.
I was a bit disappointed to find that when not in a Hot Spot, I connect to the net using 3G or 4G and not all applications, such as our local MLS, can be used with 3G or 4G. Without investigation, I assumed I could access MLS when not in a hot spot. That is not so. I understand our MLS is working on the capability of modifying our system to work on smart phones, Tablets and I-pad. Maybe in the future.
I have found that the I-Pad can be used easily in a listing presentation. But so can my Netbook. IThe client gets a little more Wow from the I-Pad, if that counts for anything.
I am exploring adding additional security to both my netbook and IPad. I am also going to make my passwords that I use on programs I use from my moble computers more challenging.