How Safe is your CRM Data? Part 2 of 2

I would like to take a moment to ease some concerns about data loss…

that are either outright wrong, or simply overstated. They are that your data is not safe with a Web based solution. So just how safe is your CRM data?

There are actually two sub-categories here. Some people are afraid that the web based provider may steal their contact database, and sell it. There was an instance back in the 90’s when a major franchise provided a Web based solution for its agents, and unbeknownst to the agents, the people in their contact database were suddenly being deluged with e-mail and postal mail, soliciting the franchise’s mortgage company, title company, insurance company, etc. In that case, the franchise claimed a right to the data. Whether or not the franchise was entitled to use that database is not relevant here. It is just very different than a third party vendor doing it. Maybe that event is where this, what I consider to be irrational fear, came from.

A franchise using the data in their own CRM is considerably different…

than a Web based CRM provider actually compromising their user’s databases by selling the database, or soliciting to it. If they did that – their business would be over! It’s that pure and simple. They would be found out in short order, and their business would be done. For what? For a few measly dollars that they could get for the sale of that data. I am sorry – I just don’t see it. Is it possible? Sure. Is it probable? Most certainly not. If it were that probable, it would have happened by now. Is it possible that it has happened, and I just haven’t heard of it? Sure, but I doubt it. People love to recount such horror stories and I’ve spoken to thousands of people for over twenty years, one-on-one and to groups. I have never heard of it happening with a third party vendor.

Another possibility is that a disgruntled employee could steal it.

Again, that is absolutely possible, but has not happened to date to my knowledge. It takes a great deal of time and effort to develop and market a CRM solution. To then allow such a thing to happen is extremely unlikely at worst. Having worked in that environment myself, I can assure you that it never even comes up. It’s not even a thought by anyone. The risk reward is just not there.

Additionally, people are concerned that their online database will simply be hacked, and marketed to. Is this possible? Sure. Is it probable? With safe crm databaseno statistical data to support this supposition whatsoever, my guess would be that it is about as likely as your personal hard drive being hacked, and having your contact database stolen from it. Very low odds. Also consider that Top Producer would be a perfect, well known target. Given that it has the largest market share in real estate CRM, to my knowledge it has not happened to them since they went online with their data in 2003.

With regards to an online solution simply losing your data…

they always have at least one redundant set of servers – a backup. That said, my advice has always been to do a monthly export of your data from a Web based solution. This leaves nothing to chance. While that export will not be a copy of all your data, it will be all or most of your contact data, normally including names, phone numbers, addresses, notes, categories, etc. 

There is actually another topic that bears discussion here.

That is the heavily blown out of proportion, and just plain misrepresented, topic of contact CRM solutions that hold your data hostage. Each Web based solution is very different with regards to how much data they make available for export, but all of them enable you to export at least some basic contact data. The answer to quelling that fear is simply to find out, before you decide on a solution. Exactly which, and how many fields are available for export from your chosen solution. Also consider weighting what data is most important to you. As long as you have the primary contact information, you have your inventory. As long as you have your sphere of influence’s names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses, you have far and away the most important information. Everything beyond that may seem absolutely necessary, but if you think about it, not having it would be a nuisance, but it would not put you back to square one, as losing your inventory would. Note also that even if you could export your sales and listings, emails, templates, etc., that you would not be able to import it into any other real estate CRM to any significant extent if at all. 

In summary, do an export of your contact data at least monthly. That way you can always go back to that if you make a mistake the CRM company can’t fix. If you ever need help with disaster recovery, if there is a way to help recover, I’ll find it. It’s always worth a shot to review everything together to look for ways out of the mess! Contact me!


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