LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Keep Financial Data Safe: 5 Tips
AMANDA HARPSTER, CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES MANAGER
When a major corporation that has data of several hundred thousand customers suffers a data breach, it’s big news. But no business is too small to get hacked. In fact, smaller companies are sometimes considered easy prey because thieves think they’re not as well-protected as industry giants.
It’s much easier to prevent data theft or destruction than it is to recover from it. Here are some of the steps you can take.
1. Bring in a security expert for a company session.
Make it mandatory for employees. Sometimes it takes an outsider with professional credentials and a supply of horror stories to encourage staff to take this critical topic seriously. Your security professional should emphasize how dangerous seemingly innocuous tools like email and web browsers can be.
2. Keep all local software and web applications updated.
Yes, it’s a pain, and it takes valuable work time. But updates of operating systems, web browsers and productivity solutions are about more than new features and bug fixes. They can build in solutions for security issues that have been discovered and repaired.
3. Be vigilant about network security.
As you know, your computer network is only as strong as its weakest link. If an employee clicks on an attachment that contains a virus or otherwise compromises his or her PC, it may affect others on the network. So:
- Look at monitoring software. There are applications that will keep a close watch on your network operations and let you know if problems crop up.
- Consider hiring a specialist. You don’t need to have a full-time IT staff person to staff safe. Managed IT firms provide important services
- Create a policy for non-work-related web browsing and email use. There is network software you can customize to keep employees from straying off approved areas of the web. Make it clear there are consequences to infecting your company’s computers.
4. Protect everything.
Your local software may be particularly vulnerable, especially if it reaches out to the web for some functions. Ask your financial adviser to recommend the best anti-malware and virus protection solutions, and read reviews written by trusted sources. This is not as area where you should comparison-shop by price. If employees are interacting at all with your office network via mobile devices, make sure they’re protected, too.
5. Be aware that internal data theft and other malicious activity can occur.
You shouldn’t apologize for doing stringent background checks before you hire staff and for implementing in-house security policies. Data breaches are becoming a common occurrence.
Because you’re charged with protecting the financial data of your company and its customers, you must take exceptional security measures. Let us know if you want to explore our outsourced IT services or any other aspect of financial management.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AMANDA HARPSTER + CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES MANAGER
Amanda Harpster is a Client Accounting Services Manager at Lutz with over 14 years of relevant experience. She focuses on QuickBooks support, tax and payroll compliance, and small business consulting.
AREAS OF FOCUS
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Intuit Certified ProAdvisor, QuickBooks
- BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
- St. Patrick’s Parish, Volunteer
- Cub Scout Pack #409, Treasurer
- Ponca Hills Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, Member
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