Online real estate company eRealty, now part of the Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, is the first brokerage Web site to earn the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Secure Designation, Prudential announced today.

NAR developed the Realtor Secure program in December to certify that policies and procedures are in place to protect real estate information and systems from internal and external risks and prevent business interruptions.

The program aims to raise the security consciousness of Realtors and is based on proven security models in other industries addressing the confidentiality, integrity and availability of real estate and customer information.

The program uses third-party security consultants to evaluate technology security based on industry best practices. To obtain certification, an MLS or broker must meet the criteria as outlined by NAR in a three-step process: Self-review, independent third-party evaluation and final review/certification by NAR’s technology center.

Only two MLSs, Realcomp in Michigan and MLS of Northern Illinois, have earned the Realtor Secure designation so far, according to Mark Lesswing, NAR’s vice president of the Center for Real Estate Technology.

“In this digital age, brokers need to commit to security at this level so they can keep up service levels, protect information and earn consumer confidence through this channel,” Lesswing said.

Prudential Financial purchased eRealty and its Internet technology in January. Prudential plans to take eRealty’s virtual office Web site technology nationwide and thus enable Prudential’s 46,000 real estate brokers and sales associates to take advantage of it. The goals are to improve those brokers’ and associates’ abilities to obtain business from the Internet, communicate with online prospects in their preferred way (i.e., through e-mail) and convert them into the closed transactions even many months later, based on eRealty’s experience with the technology.

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