How Arizona’s Thriving Cybersecurity Landscape Benefits Real Estate

Steve Zylstra
President and Ceo, Arizona Technology Council


As we continue to transfer more information to the internet, it’s critical to prioritize cybersecurity. The news headlines continue to remind us that nearly all the information in today’s world can fall victim to a security breach. Now that our world is becoming increasingly connected through devices of all shapes and sizes, the safety of our identities must not be ignored.

Thankfully, because of Arizona’s military community, our state has gained the experience necessary to excel in cybersecurity. It began with InfraGard, a nonprofit organization that serves as an outreach between the FBI and the private sector. Frank Grimmelmann, the private sector interface to the Arizona chapter of InfraGard, and Anthony Farinacci, the InfraGard coordinator at the FBI, created the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance (ACTRA). This alliance allows corporations to sign nondisclosure agreements to share cyber threat information in real time. If a member is attacked, that member immediately sends information to other members to prevent those members from becoming victims as well. ACTRA has been so successful that it has branched out into six other states and plans to expand across the nation.

Our increased reliance on the internet means all individuals and business sectors, including real estate, need to prioritize cybersecurity. According to the National Real Estate Investor, 50 percent of real estate businesses believe they are unprepared to handle a cyberattack. This is largely due to a lack of federal regulation requiring real estate professionals to adopt cybersecurity protocol. Because there is no legal pressure, real estate largely falls victim to less-than-adequate cybersecurity standards.

One of the most common threats that real estate businesses face is business email compromise (BEC). While BEC can happen to anyone in any business, it has become increasingly common for criminals to target real estate. BEC typically occurs in real estate through emails from senders pretending to be contractors or similar service providers requesting payment for their work, with the goal of receiving a wire transfer. Although BEC is the most common cybersecurity threat, real estate businesses must also be cognizant of vulnerabilities regarding cloud computing vendors, in addition to various types of malware.

Fortunately, there are several things businesses can do to help protect against cyberattacks. These include training employees to identify potentially risky emails, considering cybersecurity insurance, and backing up systems. Additionally, there are several Arizona organizations that excel at advancing cybersecurity within our community. They include Terra Verde, CyberScout, AZORCA Cyber Security, and Phantom. These organizations are dedicated to providing the leading cybersecurity products and services necessary to maintain our continued economic growth. The Arizona Technology Council has a cybersecurity committee and holds two annual events — the Cybersecurity Summit and the Cybersecurity Lunch Forum — that include content from many of these leaders in cybersecurity.

In early March, Governor Doug Ducey created the Arizona Cybersecurity Team (ACT) to further assist Arizona companies in preventing cyberattacks. ACT is comprised of a well-rounded team of experts from state, local, and federal governments, as well as private sector and higher-education leaders. The organization’s objectives include strengthening cybersecurity workforce development and education, and increasing public awareness on the best practices of cybersecurity.

In addition to ACTRA, ACT, and Arizona’s leading cybersecurity companies, is an incredible resource for Arizona organizations, particularly those looking to hire cybersecurity talent. The website was launched in 2017 and is a product of the Arizona Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative, with support from the Arizona Technology Council. It is comprised of businesses that handle cybersecurity as a component but not the sole function of their operations. This group not only addresses a current talent shortage in the cybersecurity field nationwide, but actively works to reduce it by developing education strategies to align programs with employer needs and capacity, increasing workplace experiences for job seekers, and leveraging supply and demand data to strategically plan for a more secure future.

“Although taking the proper steps toward reducing cybersecurity risks can seem daunting at first, the Arizona technology community’s  wealth of cybersecurity resources can help make this process substantially easier.”

Although taking the proper steps toward reducing cybersecurity risks can seem daunting at first, the Arizona technology community’s wealth of cybersecurity resources can help make this process substantially easier. Our leadership in the cybersecurity sector provides real estate businesses with the unique opportunity to leverage ACTRA and the Arizona Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative, in addition to top-notch companies that can significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

For more information on the Arizona Technology Council’s cybersecurity committee, please contact Ron Schott at or visit Also, visit for more information on ACTRA and for more information on the Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative.