Data Is Safe Using Mobile Technology

When we were told by the late Steve Jobs of Apple and others in the know that the technology we had in the palms of our hands would quite literally transform our lives, some of us dismissed the bravado, whilst others embraced this new mobile technology and began downloading hundreds of apps… Let’s face it, for most of us, the world of ‘apps’ consisted of little more than Angry Birds to entertain the kids and fat face booth to make already unflattering photos appear significantly less attractive. Thankfully, fast forward only a few years and we’ve now ventured way beyond this frivolous and seemingly pointless fun and mobile technology has most certainly began to transform our lives – not only on a personal level, but it has slowly but surely crept in to the way in which we do business too.

The surveying industry has not escaped the infiltration of mobile technology with an increasing number of us (said to be about 10-15% of surveyors) now turning to our iPads and mobile phones to carry out elements of our jobs, often more quickly and efficiently than we did with traditional methods. However its adoption has opened up a number of common concerns; one in particular is that of data security.

Where is Your Data Stored?

If you are using mobile technology to collect and manage your data and produce surveys such as condition assessments, dilapidations and valuations, you must know where and how your data is being stored to ensure it is safe and the process is compliant with your PI insurance policy.

Data extracted with mobile technology goes ‘in to the Cloud’ where it is stored.

But data in the cloud should also be backed up to secure storage vaults.

Most RICS approved PI insurance policies will not cover loss of documents that are…

‘stored on a computer system unless those documents are duplicated on at least a daily basis, with the intention that the duplicate can be used to restore the documents in the event of loss or damage.’

Data and documents must be backed up as well as saved in the cloud. For added peace of mind, backup data should be replicated between geographically diverse data centre facilities.

Not all mobile tech providers back-up your data, so this is something you should consider.

Who Can Access your Data?

Only defined users should have access to the data and all information related to user access to data should be encrypted by “SSL”, which guarantees that only authorized people can retrieve your data.

Data will then sit there permanently and will never be deleted unless instructed to do so, which in terms of compliance and Professional Indemnity insurance is better protection than any handwritten document that may have once been produced on site.

You should always check the status of data ownership and IP as some software providers own the data, which may prevent you from meeting the contractual and confidentiality conditions set by your clients.