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Internet with built-in cybersecurity is becoming a compelling amenity for fostering multifamily occupancy

By Alice LaPlante
Woman in her room using data privacy tools

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Owners, builders, and managers of multifamily communities need to demonstrate leadership on cybersecurity. You already know that internet as an amenity is vital to attracting and retaining residents. But can you tout that, in addition to keeping them connected, you’re helping them stay protected, too?

As residents of multifamily communities demand more and more digital amenities from owners, property managers, and builders, internet security becomes top of mind. Your residents need to know their online activities are safeguarded as hundreds of thousands of national and global threats are mitigated.

Relieve their concerns by choosing a Tier 1 internet provider with layered cybersecurity measures. This can be a way to enhance resident satisfaction and ultimately may improve occupancy rates and net operating income (NOI), even in today’s highly competitive markets.

Residents’ new digital existences

A recent report, “DIGITAL 2022 – Global Overview,” found the average internet user spends six hours and 58 minutes online per day. And almost a third (31%) of U.S. adults today say they are online “almost constantly,” according to a Pew Research Center survey.

That’s because the internet has become the place where people both work and play. They log into Zoom calls and they use Cloud-based business apps. But they also access social media, play games, and stream music and video for entertainment—leaving plenty of opportunities for data privacy exploits.

This raises the security stakes for multifamily communities and increases their risk for identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Consumer Sentinel Network report, the number of cases of identity theft more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, with 5.7 million cases and $5.9 billion in losses reported in 2021 alone. According to Cisco’s 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey, 46% of consumers aren’t confident in their abilities to protect their data privacy. More than three-fourths (76%) say it’s too hard for them to understand how their information is being used.

Amid this confusion, consumers are increasingly ending relationships with companies over security concerns. Last year, Cisco found that 47% of consumers surveyed left their internet providers because of lax security.

What you need to know

Increasingly, you need to keep your multifamily residents and staff secure. You don’t want to cut security corners by signing with a low-cost or basic internet service provider that is not providing multifaceted cybersecurity protections.

At a minimum, your internet provider should do these four things.

1. Embed a security framework in network practices

Laptop with privacy warning

The network practices Tier 1 internet providers implement are critical. You should choose a known and reputable multifamily provider that demonstrates how it embeds cybersecurity into the services it offers. Quantum Fiber employs many security practices that include IP spoofing prevention, port 25 filtering, DDoS monitoring, and others to ensure customers enjoy the most secure connection possible.

2. Go beyond a networking-only cybersecurity approach

But networking safeguards will only take security so far. Your internet provider also needs to insert controls where on-premises equipment meets the network. Quantum Fiber does this. Quantum Fiber’s equipment-level security can also curb unauthorized traffic on smart devices that either you or your residents have installed. Knowing that such cybersecurity mechanisms are built into the high-speed—preferably fiber—WiFi installed in the property can allay many of your residents’ internet security concerns.

3. Perform constant vulnerability monitoring and testing

The ability to detect and mitigate threats swiftly is essential. Internet providers should have robust controls and processes to monitor for suspicious threat indicators and take action to mitigate risks. Quantum Fiber, a Lumen Technologies brand, benefits from the company’s ability to actively monitor 200 billion NetFlow sessions each day. Impressive data like this are a key selling point that will draw in new residents and keep current tenants happy.

4. Be vigilant about installing software and hardware updates

Woman using a laptop with data privacy tools

Tier 1 internet providers with robust cybersecurity protections can monitor for vulnerabilities and add a layer of security by issuing automated patches to their equipment at residential communities and businesses as soon as updates to hardware (firmware) or software are available. This is particularly important when smart devices are part of a community’s operations, such as smart locks, smart thermostats, or smart security cameras. Plus, Quantum Fiber equipment has built in protections such as continuously updated firmware/security controls, secure booting, and firewall support to keep residents’ connections secure.

“Smart” amenity offers on the rise

Your residents’ needs are also growing in intelligence. According to Parks Associates research, “Simplifying the IoT Edge: Smart Spaces Best Practices”, high-speed internet is a top-priority amenity for multifamily community residents, and offering residents smart home device amenities on top of fiber can be key differentiators for their properties. Today, more than one-third (34%) of U.S. multifamily communities offer advanced digital services as amenities. By doing this, they improve their own operations, enhance the quality of life for their residents, and remain leaders in fiercely competitive markets.

These smart amenities include everything from smart locks and smart garage door openers to smart video doorbells. More advanced communities might even offer smart lighting and heating. Multifamily residents gravitate toward smart technology, with Parks Associates citing that 43% are already reporting use of smart home devices. They are also willing to pay 10% to 30% higher prices when smart home amenities like automated lighting, smart appliances, high-speed internet, and remote access control are offered at their property—but this makes them tempting targets. By installing a comprehensive array of digital access and convenience amenities, multifamily community owners, managers, and builders can open themselves up to cybercriminals if they aren’t properly protected.

Multifamily property owners and builders collect, use, and store highly sensitive, personally identifiable information, like names, social security numbers, employers, salaries, and more. Yet, every access point—each smart light, smart thermostat, even smart refrigerator—is a potential security vulnerability that can be exploited. A network breach could affect elevators, water, or heating systems. It could open tenants up to identity theft or ransomware demands. It also puts you, the manager of the property, on the legal hot seat, due to numerous emerging state and federal laws about protecting residents’ data. Quantum Fiber understands this, and delivers the robust, layered cybersecurity that can help you mitigate these risks.

Give your residents good news about cybersecurity

Person using a phone and laptop for data privacy

As a multifamily property owner or builder, you know that your residents’ concerns about cybersecurity and data privacy are increasing as more of their lives go online. Offering them a low-bid, low-ability internet service provider without advanced cybersecurity measures likely won’t satisfy them anymore. By working with a Tier 1 internet provider like Quantum Fiber, your multifamily property can enjoy robust, layered protections that can keep your residents safe and your reputation in good standing.

Contact a Quantum Fiber Connected Communities expert to learn about connectivity solutions tailored to your multifamily community.

Quantum Fiber® Connected Communities provides customized fiber solutions for apartments and communities.

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Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2023 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

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