Accounting Security Tips to Reduce the Risk to Your Company

Data security is an important topic of discussion, especially since many businesses manage most of their transactions through online platforms. Not only do you need to consider the security of customer payments that are processed, but you also need to think about accounting security offered by the outsourced team that you’ve hired.

Data Breaches and Business Targets

It seems like there are always news headlines announcing the latest data breach. Hackers target businesses with the goal of stealing financial information or personal details about clients or employees. Then, this data can be used for profit by selling the information to the highest bidder.

Large companies are often targeted because of the mass amounts of data that are available through a breach. Even though you might think that you won’t be a target since you have a small business, the truth is that there is always a risk for small- and medium-sized businesses. The risk goes up whenever you are turning information over to an outsourced company or transmitting data through software programs.

Proactive Approach for Data Security

Instead of assuming that your business is safe from these threats, you should always be on the offense to protect your data and business assets. Never make false assumptions about the security of your systems. It is important that you do regular assessments to determine how effective your current security protocols are at protecting your company and your customers.

If you wait until a data breach occurs, then you could be facing an expensive, messy situation to solve the problems. A better solution is to spend a little money right now on the right software programs and services to ensure that you have security controls in place before a breach occurs. These proactive steps will help you avoid the possible problems that can occur if someone breaks into your digital system.

Hiring a Trustworthy Team for Accounting Security

The first step you need to take is to evaluate the security of the outsourced team that you are hiring. Don’t make the mistake of choosing an outsourced accounting team with a questionable background. For example, if the company doesn’t have a proven track record, then you don’t know what you are getting yourself into.

Do your research to make sure that the accounting services are highly rated. Researching the company in advance can save you a lot of grief in the future.

You can research the company by asking for information from the accounting team. Also, complete a search online for the business name to see if you can find any reviews or business listings that indicate the reputation of the company.

Security Begins in Your Office

Even if you are hiring an outsourced team that you can trust, you should always remember that the most important layers of security should begin in your office. Inspections should be done of all areas where information is transmitted to identify any potential leaks. For example, you should have an expert evaluate your data generation, storage systems, and data collection processes to make sure that the information is passing through a secure network.

Potential leaks in the system might be identified in the form of outdated software or poor management in the office. One common issue is insufficient control over employee access to the system. Employees shouldn’t have free access to sensitive information unless that access is required for the person’s job description. Just because the person belongs to a department, doesn’t mean that they require full access to all of the information.

Also, be careful about contractors or vendors who have access to your data systems. Too often, these providers are offered record access when the information doesn’t have a direct connection to the transactional relationship.

Never make the mistake of allowing employees or contractors to use the same credentials when accessing financial information. If everyone is using one username and password, then it might be difficult to identify the source if a problem occurs.

Why Accounting Security is So Important

Keep in mind the reason why most hackers are trying to access information: they want to gather details about personal information or financial accounts. Even if you have a small business, your system is always at risk because of the information that it holds: credit card numbers, bank account details, social security numbers, passwords, and more.

Most companies have digital files with demographic information about their employees, executives, and even their customers. If a hacker can gain access to the information, then it is a goldmine of information that could be sold for profit.

Tips for Accounting Security

Here are a few tips that can be implemented in your business practices to improve the security of your company information:

  • Necessary Information: You should only gather information that is necessary for the employee or the services that are provided to the customers. There’s no reason to gather additional sensitive information if it isn’t required for the situation.
  • Security of Professional Service Provider: Talk to your service provider, such as the outsourced accounting team, to find out more information about their security practices. You will be handing over access to sensitive financial information, and you need to be sure that they have protocols in place to prevent a breach of information.
  • Firewalls and Software Protection: These firewalls should be installed on every computer and electronic device that is used when accessing business information. Additionally, you might consider implementing a monitoring gateway so that you know who is accessing the information and when the access points occur. These proactive steps reduce the risk of exploitation of both internal and external vulnerabilities.
  • Computers and Networks: Consider the ways that data could be removed from the office. One option is to disable the USB, CD, and DVD functions on computers to prevent employees or contractors from downloading the information. It can be helpful to have several layers of authentication to avoid remote access as well. Date transfer should always use 128-bit encryption.
  • Data Recovery Plan: If a problem occurs with the systems, do you have a back-up plan in place to recover the information? It can be a headache for your team if you can’t recover employee or customer information that was saved on the computer or in the cloud.
  • Physical Security: Also think about the security of your office. Could someone walk into the office and access paperwork or files that contain sensitive information? All access points into the building need to be secured. Additionally, data entry and exit points need to be managed. If you have hard copies of the files in the office, then these things need to be kept under lock and key. A locked filing room or secure filing cabinet are both good options to consider.
  • Employee Screenings: Every employee should be screened in the recruitment process. If someone is going to have access to sensitive information in your company, then it is important that the proper screenings are completed to avoid issues. Extensive background checks can be used to reduce the risk that a person with a questionable history is accessing financial
  • Employee and Management Training: It is common for companies to have security and systems training that is offered at the beginning of employment. But this new-hire training isn’t enough to ensure long-term adherence to the security protocols. Consider ongoing training to ensure that everyone is up-to-date on the latest technologies and strategies that apply to your data security.

Security for Technology-Driven Systems

Most businesses rely on technology systems for basic processes and ongoing strategies that keep the company running. As a result, security is more important than ever to ensure that you are avoiding potential issues that could arise with a data breach.

There’s no question that investing in the right security protocols, software programs, and outsourcing teams is a good step to protect your company and customers. These investments not only help you reduce the risk of stolen information through a security breach. But some industries are required by law to maintain high standards for security. For example, HIPPA requirements ensure that medical businesses have consistent practices in place to protect sensitive information found in patient files.

When you do the work to choose trustworthy software and service providers, then you can have the peace of mind in knowing that your confidentiality remains intact. Implementing these steps allows you to rest easy since your critical data is protected. As a result, you can turn your attention and focus on the core business concerns that need to be addressed.

At Easier Accounting, we maintain the highest levels of security and confidentiality to protect your sensitive financial information. We understand that you are entrusting us with your information. So, we are diligent about our systems to ensure that your information is protected. If you are looking for an outsourced accounting team that you can trust, then we invite you to contact us for more information. We will gladly answer your questions and explain the services that are available for your company: (888) 620-0770.