LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
5 Ways to prevent data breaches
lauren harris, senior accountant
Large corporations grab the headlines when they’re hit by a cyber attack, but small businesses are far from immune. In fact, hackers count on the fact that organizations with just a handful of, or a few dozen, employees relax their security standards because they think their size puts them under the radar.
Establishing stringent security measures may seem too time-consuming and costly, but ask any business owner who’s suffered a data breach what that event cost them in hours and dollars. You’re likely to become more proactive in your approach to cyber-safety. Here are five things you can do.
Make employees an integral part of the process
Employees can be part of the problem when a data breach occurs (unwittingly or not), so make them part of the solution. Lead by example: Show them how committed you are to keeping your company’s data protected, and ask them to be equally involved. Provide the training they need and follow up on their follow-through.
Set up restrictions
Part of your—and your staff’s—commitment to cybersecurity necessarily requires boundaries. Determine what data and websites should be available on the network (and to whom).
Consider letting a trusted third-party processor handle payments
This can be a cheaper alternative to a merchant account, and it keeps customers’ credit card numbers off your network. But it has its downsides. Talk to us before deciding on a vendor.
Use the FINRA Checklist
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has developed a series of spreadsheets that you can use to gauge your company’s readiness. Maintaining these may be overkill for your small business, but at least look at them to see the actions and awareness they’re suggesting. You can view thumbnails on this page and/or download them.
Bring in an experienced Managed IT team
If you don’t have a full-time IT professional on your staff, it’s probably because your company’s technology configuration doesn’t warrant that constant level of expertise. Compensation and benefits for such an individual can run north of $100,000/year and may not fit in your budget.
Managed IT—the outsourcing of your information technology work—can be an effective compromise between struggling to stay safe and overloading your payroll. These expert teams are there when you need them, but you’re not paying for a full-time employee. Not only can they help you establish a safe cybersecurity profile and set of procedures, but they can also advise you on hardware and software purchases when your current systems aren’t meeting your needs – and help you install and maintain them.
Lutz offers a variety of services that can help prevent a data breach. We invite you to set up a consultation to see if we’re a match. Contact us, and we’ll help keep your company’s valuable information safe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LAUREN HARRIS + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT
Lauren Harris is a Senior Accountant in the Client Accounting Services department at Lutz with over two years of related experience. She provides payroll tax reporting and compliance, as well as outsourced accounting assistance to small businesses through QuickBooks support and training.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- QuickBooks Training & Support
- Outsourced Accounting
- Payroll Tax Reporting and Compliance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Certified Public Accountant
- BSBA in Finance and Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
- Midwest YouCan Foundation, Treasurer
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