GOOD DEEDS: TOP 20 REASONS FOR AN ON-SITE REGISTRY IT DEPARTMENT
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been a soundly managed agency that delivers quality services to the residents of Norfolk County. This quality delivery of services to homeowners and registry users has been a team approach that utilizes an on-site direct report in the Registry budget Registry Information (IT) Technology Department. Two Norfolk County Commissioners, Peter Collins and Joseph Shea, voted to not appoint the Registry Chief Information Officer (CIO) designee who was replacing the retiring Registry CIO on June 30, 2021.
Now the Registry of Deeds and those that use the Registry of Deeds services are fighting to keep the two person on-site funded Registry Department. The Registry CIO position still has not been filled due to votes by the Norfolk County Commissioners the most recent one being another vote earlier this month. These decisions are reckless given the possible bad outcomes that could take place from cybersecurity breaches and ransomware.
The college basketball tournaments just ended so with that in mind let’s look at the top 20 reasons you should want the Norfolk Registry of Deeds to keep its Registry IT Department as it has had for over 35 years. If after reading these reasons and you agree with them please contact the Norfolk County Advisory Board members (click here) who will be voting on this in the budget process. Ask these representatives to support the Norfolk Registry of Deeds by keeping its on-site Registry IT staff under the leadership of a high level direct report Registry Technology expert.
The legal title to your home is authenticated by the land records recorded at the Registry of Deeds. When you go to sell your home and for that matter when you as buyers purchase a home do you want title issues on that property?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) says that the fastest growing white collar crime is property and deed fraud. Do you think that property records that affect your home or business are not an inviting target for hackers and cybersecurity incidents?
The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts which represents thousands of attorneys wrote “Technology has been the foundation of the modernization initiatives that have been implemented over the years at the Norfolk Registry. Technology overseen by the Registry CIO is essential and critical for services to the users and stakeholders of the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.”
The White House has issued documentation that outlines several ways to protect against cyberattacks including checking with your IT professionals. Does it make sense not to have an on-site Information Technology (IT) professional staff at the Registry of Deeds in this day and age?
An arm of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from its Information Technology Division wrote in March of this year “In light of the ongoing geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine, attempted cyberattacks towards state and municipal IT systems are expected to increase over the coming weeks and months.”
Over 205,000 land records were recorded between January 1 and December 31, 2021 at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. Technology allows those recordings to take place and protects the over 45 million pages of images in the Registry internet land recording library.
There is internet land record research at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds via its website www.norfolkdeeds.org. There are land records on line that can be viewed and researched back to 1793 available to any and everyone who has access to a computer, tablet or mobile device.
Modernization Initiatives driven by technology have allowed real estate professionals as well as those interested in historical and genealogical research to use indexes and documents dating back to 1793 at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.
This on-site direct report 2 person IT Department at the Registry has developed a disaster recovery office to keep the Registry operational should there be a fire, flood or some other business continuity interruption.
Besides a dedicated staff it was the tremendous work of the Registry IT Department that kept the Norfolk Registry of Deeds open and operational every work day since Governor Baker declared a COVID-19 emergency on March 10, 2020.
As the Town of Millis Selectboard wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “We stand with the Register of Deeds in his fervent request that the Registry be able to maintain professional, expert and full-time oversight over the county’s land records system. The funds collected by the Registry provide vital revenues to the county as well as the many municipalities that participate in the Community Preservation Act program.”
Over 82 million dollars of revenues were collected by the Norfolk Registry of Deeds between January 1 to December 31, 2021. Isn’t this a target for hackers, cybersecurity incidents and ransomware?
The Norfolk Registry of Deeds works with your community’s Board of Assessors and Assessor Departments to transmit critical records and data. Don Clarke Chief Assessor of the Town of Norfolk wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “The coordination between the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT and our IT personnel has been outstanding in regards to the safe and secure e-delivery of deeds and plans which has allowed this office to stay current in its ownership date and therefore in compliance with DOR regulations.”
The on-site direct report Registry IT staff with its acquired knowledge of Registry operations and technology gives timely responses to the needs and requests of the Registry staff, Registry users and stakeholders as well as the general public.
In Norfolk County you can sign up for the Consumer Notification Service for free. Through the efforts of the Registry IT staff you get notified of any transactions in your name. This will allow you to detect any fraudulent activity involving your property.
The work of the Registry IT staff has allowed the Registry of Deeds to bring the Registry land records out into the community as part of the Registry of Deeds outreach program.
There is a remote electronic recording of land records. A real estate closing that takes place in any location can transmit the required land records to the Norfolk Registry of Deeds via electronic recording. The Norfolk Registry can conduct remote recording for Recorded Land as well as Land Court (registered) land. Not all registries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can do this.
The Customer Service Center at the Registry of Deeds where you can walk in for help or call the staff for help at (781) 461-6101 depend on the technology as well as the work of the on-site 2 person IT Department.
Krysta Hendrix of Reliable Research Solutions, a title examination company, wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “I have experience working in every Registry of Deeds in Massachusetts and can say without hesitation that Norfolk County is the gold standard, most certainly in the Technology Department.”
There are too many possible bad out comes that can happen not allowing the Registry of Deeds to keep its on-site direct report in the Registry budget Registry IT staff. In addition, the Registry of Deeds has dedicated revenues from state law to pay for the positions.
You may have come up with some of your own reasons. Please forward these to me at email@example.com. In any event sometimes those in government make decisions and you just can not help but wonder why. Through your efforts we can work to have a transformative effect with a positive impact on this technology decision.