Today, we’re sharing a special blog post from AtHomeNet’s Southeastern Region Account Manager, Dawn Smith. She recently traveled to Union County North Carolina to participate in a discussion panel focused on internet security–a hot topic for everyone in the community association industry!
I recently had the honor of being asked to participate in a discussion panel at the Union County Neighborhood Leaders Forum (UCNLF) Annual Meeting in North Carolina. The topic – Internet Security. I had the honor of sharing the stage with Tim Sellers of Sellers, Hinshaw, Ayers, Dortch & Lyons, P.A. and Erin Sweeney, CMCA, Regional Account Executive Mutual of Omaha Bank Community Association Banking.
The meeting began with a discussion about recent points of interest regarding legislation that is currently being discussed, pertaining to homeowners associations in North Carolina.
The topic of Internet security turned out to be quite intriguing due to the fact that it was shared from 3 different perspectives. Each panel member spoke for approximately 10 minutes. The depth of information shared was amazingly informative and sparked a great deal of awareness about what to consider when selecting a website for your HOA, when financial transactions are involved and what to be aware of from a legal perspective as a board member of an HOA.
Here are some highlights from the discussion panel:
The Internet and technology are always changing and evolving. Security is being challenged by financial predators but the Internet is here to stay. It is an amazing tool for business, banking, managing your communications and other aspects of our lives in so many ways. No matter what you use the Internet for, it is important that you make educated choices and protect your information with the best tools currently available.
Your HOA website should provide a method of protecting your content from the general public. Throughout the United States, laws aimed at protecting residents and their personal contact information online are evolving. When choosing a website for your HOA you will want to make sure you have the ability to control the visibility of content and accessibility. You want to have full control over which information is released for public access, search engines and web crawlers and which information should remain behind a secure login. As a board member or administrator on the website, you must be selective as to which information can or should be posted online. If you do not have permission to post an image or photo, do not post it. Information about delinquencies is never to be posted online.
If you are building an eForm to collect information about an event, do not ask residents for credit card information unless you have a secure online payments service. Without a secure, professional service, this could be a risk because once the eForm is submitted, the credit card information is then emailed from the website, to the recipient and email is not a secure method of transferring financial details. Financial transactions should be conducted only on a secure connection. Protecting any type of HOA documents from the general public is advised. You should also be able to control the level of security on your website information. For example, do you wish for a document be visible only to a resident, to all residents or only to board members?
The Annual UCNLF meeting was a great success and the information shared in this setting is invaluable. It is important that HOA board members and property managers become involved with organizations like this in their area. If you are in the Charlotte, NC area I would strongly recommend that you visit them online and become a member today.