MLS data security still a big problem

by THE WAV GROUP on May 7, 2010

Recently I was asked by a broker client of ours to review a product that they were considering implementing.  Without belaboring before getting to the point, upon investigation with the MLS, I learned that the vendor was not an approved data vendor in their markets.  Further questioning of the vendor revealed that they way they access the data required for their product is to use an MLS username and password provided by the broker.  After falling out of my chair, we notified the vendor and the MLS.  Clearly, the subject MLS does not have data security that prevents password sharing or any other unauthorized MLS access.  If a consumer’s confidential information were misused by unauthorized MLS access, the MLS could be up the proverbial creek.

shared passwordsToday, Clareity Security released a press release that indicated that on average, 35% of MLS access is through account sharing!  Furthermore, implementing security results in an average of 12% increase in membership activations when security is implemented and policy enforcement begins.  Obviously, your results may vary – but it seems like any MLS without a security solution in place should re-examine their consideration.  I was never a big fan of the hardware solution offered early on in MLS security offerings, but the software solutions available today give tolerable levels of security, without the pains and expense of the hardware solution.  Take a look at the Clareity press release that follows and pay close attention to the data they have gathered.  Its quite telling.  May 7, 2010 –
Scottsdale, Arizona.  Clareity
Security, the market leader in Strong Authentication and Single Sign On (SSO)
solutions for the Real Estate industry, has rapidly evolved its offerings to
support the changing needs of the industry.  In the past twelve months, Clareity Security has implemented
the Scout for SAFEMLS solution for customers needing a software based solution
to combat unauthorized account sharing.
Scout for SAFEMLS provides this capability by seamlessly detecting and
automatically remediating unauthorized account access while creating minimal
inconvenience to a customer’s subscribers.   Scout for SAFEMLS is the
only solution that positively identifies individual users and solves the
computer and device sharing problem that other security solutions, such as
certificates, cannot.   In addition, Clareity Security’s SSO solution has been
deployed in many organizations to facilitate more convenient access to mission
critical applications and to facilitate data sharing between multiple listing services
using different platforms.

 

Customer response
has been overwhelmingly positive and Scout for SAFEMLS is now deployed for 30
customers with an additional eight customers to deploy in the next few months
bringing the total SAFEMLS customer base to nearly 70 MLS organizations in the
US and Canada. 

Customer success, measured at
various points in the detection and remediation cycle, with Scout for SAFEMLS
is based on the ability of each organization to build and enforce custom
remediation policies meeting its individual needs and objectives.  For many MLS organizations, this has
resulted in not only improved security posture, but also heightened revenue
assurance for their organization.
The chart below demonstrates the account sharing detected by Scout for
SAFEMLS across various customer sites, and account sharing is prevalent,
regardless of the size of the MLS.   On average the amount of account sharing is above
35%.  Remediation has been proven
effective both in terms of a reduction in sharing activity and an increase in
membership activations.  An effectiveness
analysis of the automated remediation policies demonstrates a twelve percent
(12%) increase in new user activations combined with an eleven percent (11%)
reduction in account sharing within the first 30 days of policy enforcement.

 

Clareity Security
continues to work diligently on future releases and enhancements that will meet
the ever changing needs of our customer base and add value beyond security and
revenue assurance.  The Scout for
SAFEMLS product has the capability to gather and deliver rich analytical
information on subscribers, helping our customers to better understand their
user base and revenue trends and opportunities. By profiling member demand over
time, MLSs can begin to make more accurate predictions of membership numbers,
understand usage and demand for additional product offerings, and make better
decisions on where to invest resources for training, support, and product
development.  “We are proud of our
ability to respond quickly over the past year to changing demand and market
conditions.  Scout for SAFEMLS
represents the next generation of end user authentication for online systems
designed to deliver outstanding security and revenue assurance to the MLS while
having minimal or no impact to the end user, especially the 65% that are not
sharing their accounts” stated Gregg Larson, CEO of Clareity Security.

 

About
Clareity Security:

Clareity
Security, located in Scottsdale, AZ is the leading provider of security
products and services for the real estate and mortgage industries. It’s
SAFEMLS® and SAFEACCESSTM products help MLS organizations and real estate
professionals easily and effectively safeguard sensitive consumer information
against unauthorized access and provides next generation strong authentication
solutions for secure online transactions. Additional information is available
at http://www.ClareitySecurity.com.

 

Contact:

 

Amy Geddes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
480-444-0014

Amy.Geddes@ClareitySecurity.com

 

 

 

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