Accountants and small accounting firms face an ongoing conundrum today when it comes to IT security. They are required to work with online access and cloud-based systems which can be subject to cyberattack and hacking—yet they are expected to guard their clients’ personal data at all times. QuickBooks, the software of choice for many accountants, presents its own set of vulnerabilities when personal data is transmitted online—not due to its weaknesses as a system, but simply due to the fact that it carries personal financial information, which frequently makes it a target.
The people at Intuit work tirelessly to keep user data safe and protect against an ongoing barrage of threats, but what can you do on your end to make sure your client’s information stays secure?
Data Backups/Intuit Data Protect
QuickBooks runs regular backups of user data on mirrored disks, but for additional protection users can implement Intuit Data Protect, a subscription based service that runs daily backups either of QuickBooks or your entire system. Intuit Data Protect is included with certain premium QuickBooks plans, but if your plan doesn’t include it, you can subscribe monthly or annually at a modest cost.
Make Use of Audit Trails
QuickBook implements an ongoing audit trail that logs every action taken on your system. By utilizing the Always-On Activity Log, you can see everything that has happened on your account at any time. This feature can help you identify anomalies quickly and narrow down the source, which can be especially useful if you have multiple team members accessing QuickBooks.
Use Firewalls and Anti-Virus Protection
Make sure your office IT system is fully equipped with a firewall and an up-to-date antivirus program. Taking these steps will safeguard against malware and spyware that hackers might use to mine personal data from your system.
Use Complex Passwords and Change them Often
The “password guessing” software programs that hackers use are becoming more sophisticated, and they are getting wise to little tricks like substituting a “3” for an “E” or a “!” for a “1.” Long-string passwords that do not resemble actual words provide added safety. Use a different password for every account and user, and change them up often. If you have trouble remembering all these passwords (as many of us do), a service like Lastpass can help you manage many complex passwords while having to remember only one.
NetServ is committed to helping accounting firms keep their clients’ data safe while using QuickBooks or other cloud-based programs. To learn more, call us at 1-877-NetServ.