Any company that maintains sensitive business or financial records needs to take security precautions against the loss or theft of data. Fortunately, most threats to the security of financial information can be neutralized by heeding some simple advice and taking some basic security precautions.
The first thing every company should do is limit access to financial information, especially information which contains sensistive client information, to those who need it. It is amazing how often financial data is available to employees of a company simply because the IT department is only concerned about outside hackers and not internal employees. Keep in mind, only your accounting staff, managers, finance officers, treasurer and those who have a real “need to know” should be able to get to sensitive financial customer data on your computer system; everyone else should be restricted. Believe it or not, the grand majority of theft of financial data occurs in-house, not from outside hackers! Keep it simple and secure — the fewer people with access, the less likely security will be compromised.
In terms of implementing this first piece of advice, the best way to limit access will be with a password protected system. Most password protected systems are cheap and easy to install, and some systems will even let you see who is accessing which information, and when. An added benefit is that password protection can make it easy to track security leaks should they ever occur.
Additional Computer Basic Precautions:
There are a number of additional, basic security precautions that any company which keeps sensitive financial information should follow. To begin, firewalls and antivirus programs are both essential. Firewalls are programs that block unauthorized access to computers; antivirus programs search computers for viruses, worms and other electronic intruders and eliminate them when discovered.
The average company will be able to get by with standard commercial products, and do not need to employ complex, expensive software programs. The standard antivirus programs and firewalls from popular software companies such as SARP ERP; are excellent products that will provide all the protection the average company needs. These products will update themselves against the latest threats on a regular basis.
A good way to make your system more secure is to use two or three different antivirus programs from different software providers. This way you will have two different programs checking your system for threats and eliminating them. There are even a number of free programs you can install, which I would not recommend as standalone products, but in conjunction with a paid product they can do the job well.
Antivirus or anti-malware protection is vital against protecting against hackers who create worms to get inside your computer system, and then either destroy or steal sensitive information.
Trust Your Gut:
A final good piece of advice is to trust your gut. If you think something is wrong or feels different with your computer system, have a security checkup done to see if something is wrong. It is usually better to be safe than sorry especially where financial data is concerned. If you get to the office one day and think your computer system is acting slower than normal, or your web browser is navigating to pages you didn’t ask for, rather than simply gloss over the problems do a security check and make sure your system is safe.
About the Author:
Dyana Womack runs the IT department, and is in charge of computer security, for Premiere Tree Services of San Antonio