With all data held on your internal servers or your cloud, keeping this information secure is a technological challenge. As you hold sensitive company information, you need to consider information security strategies as a matter of urgency.
Why is information security important?
The security of your clients’ information is vital for the success of your business. You need to assure clients that information held will be confidential, safe from external threats and available for onward transactions and communications. You will struggle to function as an accountant if this trust is not guaranteed and if you cannot access historical data in the continuation of work with a client.
As a professional and respected company, you want to be seen to be doing the right thing for the sake of your reputation and brand. However, doing the wrong thing with data can also get you into significant legal trouble too.
Useful security strategies
There are some simple quick fixes that you can apply to your information technology infrastructure in the first instance. You can patch your system in a timely manner, restrict user access to trusted professionals, change passwords regularly, segment your network, upgrade the software to the latest version and remove all data you no longer need. Such housekeeping can go a long way to making your information secure.
There are other strategies that you should consider. You might want to educate your client, for instance. Although you will have worked to limit your liability, you do not want the weakness in your security to be between you and your client. Therefore, a conversation about how to maintain information security could offer significant peace of mind to all parties.
You also need to make it your responsibility to be aware of the security of your accounting software. As with the communication with a client, a strong relationship with the vendor of your software closes the potential holes for losing data. You may want to subscribe to security advisories from your software provider to ensure you are aware of issues and fixes. With the Internet of Things, you may need to consider the potential risks of internet-connected photocopiers and printers too. A simple solution would be to keep printing off the internet and only on your internal network.
Finally, moving your data to the cloud is much more secure. This might sound counter-intuitive. However, data stored on a closed network is much more likely to be lost. You will need to be 100% sure that this internal network will remain functional when you need it – without major interruptions. If this sounds too much of a risk, then research the security features employed by cloud providers and see why this makes a much more sensible option.
Information security is essentially your business security. If you cannot be trusted to hold client data, then you are unlikely to be trusted at all. With these simple measures, you can go a long way towards keeping your business safe from this potential threat.