As an accounting business, we take great pride in our client information security practices. Our team has the ability to work completely virtually. This means that our employees can work from home, their favorite coffee shop, or even while they’re traveling. One of the necessary focus items for all virtual firms, accounting in particular, is protecting client information. As a CPA firm, we interact with many sensitive documents that need to be handled with care. Creating safe practices regarding information and cyber security can be quite simple.
Here are a few ways that will help you encourage these safety precautions:
- Set up a secure cloud or dropbox.
When we became a virtual firm, one of the first steps we took was adding all client documents to a virtual cloud. This means that most documents we come into contact with are scanned and uploaded to a secure, online folder. Having a cloud or dropbox creates a central and safe place for sensitive documents to be stored so that employees may access accounting information securely. We give our clients access to their own personal portal so they can upload their documents directly there. This solution prevents the chance of a breach in cyber security in email correspondence.
- Make sure the network you connect to is legitimate.
When you work virtually, working from home everyday can sometimes give you cabin fever. You’ll likely want to get out of the house and work from a coffee shop or a nice park occasionally. It’s still possible to do this and keep cyber security! If you are unable to use your mobile hotspot, using public wifi is still okay so long as you are careful. Do not connect to just any open wifi network. Someone may be waiting to steal all of the information you are accessing after you connect to their network. When you know you’ve connected to a reputable wifi, turn off sharing settings so what you’re working on cannot be accessed by anyone else.
- When browsing the internet, make sure you use https rather than just http.
Check the address bar where you put a URL to make sure the extra “s” is there. Adding the “s” enables more security by encrypting anything you send or receive from the website you’re visiting. This is a simple step you can take, especially when on a public wifi network, to add another layer of security.
- Utilize your firewall.
Any computer you’d consider using for work purposes likely has a built-in firewall. Use it! It’s there for a reason and is your first line of defense against hackers. If the built-in firewall doesn’t seem good enough, there are many firewalls you can purchase for added security. Though we are not the experts at cyber security, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that our client data is always safe and secure whether it’s accessed in Tucson, Arizona, or Juneau, Alaska.
Accounting is serious business, and we definitely treat it as so. If you have questions about getting a virtual cloud set up or increasing your cyber security, don’t hesitate to contact us.