M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — June 18 - July 22, 2021 — 31A


M id A tlantic R eal E state J ournal

By Nick Ottum, CPA, MBA, Withum Cybersecurity for Real Estate Companies

c ybe r s e cur i t y pr o - grams. Even with the best security programs in place, there is still a risk that cybersecurity attacks will suc- ceed, so firms should consider having business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place should the worst happen. That being said, effective cybersecu- rity programs can significantly mitigate the risk of successful attacks. Some of the most com- mon security programs for real estate entities include: • Cloud security platforms. C ont. from page 22A The Durs t Org . unveils plans for 26 - s t o r y Ph i l a . project 26-story project, located between Vine and Callowhill Streets PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Durst Organization unveiled detailed plans of their development of a large parking lot north of the Ben- jamin Franklin Bridge into a mixed-use residential project that will continue the transfor- mation of the Delaware River waterfront into an attractive destination for neighbors and the broader region. The 26-story project, located between Vine and Callowhill Sts. on the west side of Co - lumbus Blvd., will provide a new park for the community, improved connections to the historic Wood St. steps and Delaware River trail and long- term preservation of a key archeological site. The development, which will be constructed on a 1.6-acre parcel The Durst Organization purchased from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in 2019, is a critical component of the DRWC’s Master Plan for the Central Delaware and the continued revitalization of the waterfront. The 26-story project, de- signed by Handel Archi- tects , will include 360 apart- ments and will be oriented to provide stunning views of both Center City and the Ben Franklin Bridge. MAREJ

• Internal controls and best practices relating to the use of different software platforms, especially those involving wire transfers and programs con- taining confidential informa - tion relating to tenants, prop- erties, bank information, and more. • Email best practices train - ing and guides for all personnel. • Password strength and periodic change requirements. • Up-to-date antivirus soft - ware and firewalls, as well as regular updates to operating systems. • Cybersecurity education programs for personnel.

There are many different combinations of security pro- grams that may be right for a company, so how to make a choice and how much to pay? Generally speaking, 8% of revenue should be dedicated to information technology (“IT”), and 10% of that amount should be dedicated to cybersecurity. As for how to choose security programs, or how to gain fur- ther insight into the strength of the programs that are currently in place, companies should involve a reputable third party that specializes in cybersecu- rity. Even if an IT function is in place, and whether or not

that IT function has capabili - ties in the cybersecurity field, an objective set of eyes will al- ways find something subjective eyes gloss over. A third-party cybersecurity specialist can take on the form of a hacker and perform penetration test- ing to help identify the weak points in computer systems and build a suitable cybersecurity infrastructure designed to be prepared for attacks by hack- ers. This healthy external view is the best way to prepare for in- evitable cybersecurity attacks. Conclusion The year is 2021 and cy- bersecurity is a hot topic. For

real estate professionals, it is time to ask, “Is our company prepared for a cybersecurity attack?” Whether the answer to that question is yes, no, or unsure, it would be beneficial to gain the insight of a repu- table third-party company specializing in cybersecurity in order to be certain the answer to that question is yes. Real estate industry competition is always changing, so we must welcome the newest competi- tor to the field and prepare for them appropriately. Nick Ottum, CPA, MBA is Staff Accountant at Withum. MAREJ

Tax Issues/ Accounting Spotlight in the July 23 - Financial Digest Deadline July 9 We invite you to submit an article and inform our readers on tax issues that may affect the commercial real estate industry. Such topics might include:

How to protect your assets Discover effective cost recovery solutions What are the latest tax issues?

Editorial Requirements include: 550 word article wrapping around a half page ad with all author’s headshots on the cover of the spotlight.

Please send tax spotlight material to: Lea Christman, Publisher, lea@marejournal.com or 781-740-2929

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