The Importance of Backing Up Your Financial Data

Although backing up your data may seem redundant and a nuisance, it can save your business a tremendous amount of time and money.

Imagine if all of your company data had been wiped out – billing records, customer records, financial records, vendors, receivables, accounts payable, recent orders, all gone. Catastrophic events, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, or even user error, may be the culprit of your data loss. Unless the correct procedures are followed to prevent the loss of information, your company could come to a screeching halt.

Regular backups are the best way to avoid these detrimental events. Typically, important files should be backed up once a day. Most financial programs will allow automatic or manual backups at a chosen time of the day or week.

Backups can be regularly sent electronically to an offsite location or saved to a USB drive, external hard drive, or burned to a CD and taken to safe place offsite from your business. This safe place is preferably a location with physical access controls or a place that can be locked up. Letting your financial information get into the wrong hands poses a significant risk as well.

These are also good tips to protect your personal information. It is always a good idea to back up your information and to keep it in a safe place. You can never be too safe when it comes to your sensitive, personal or business information.

If you need any further assistance or recommendations or storage and procedures for backing up your financial data, please contact Clint Carder, CPA at 314-576-1350 or at ccarder@bwtpcpa.com.

8 Tips to Maintain Healthy Cyber Security

In the current era of online communications, information security has become a high priority concern for all organizations. As they say, “Any chain is as strong as its weakest link.” Any non-compliance with information security policies could jeopardize your organization resulting in financial, regulatory, operational, and legal risks.

Here are 8 basic steps towards achieving the goal of robust Cyber Security for your organization without spending a fortune:

  1. Spear Phishing and Social Engineering attacks have started becoming more commonplace. Verifying the email headers like “To” address, “From” address, etc., would help in determining the authenticity of the emails.
  2. Follow the Security classification of emails. So, classifying emails with confidential information as “classified” is important. Do not download any suspicious attachments from emails.
  3. Offer basic information security training to your employees to educate them and avoid risky cyber behavior.
  4. Encrypt all the sensitive data before you store. There are plenty of free encryption tools available as well.
  5. Never share business Wi-Fi with guests. If you offer free Wi-Fi service at your business, make sure it is running on its own network, not your primary network.
  6. If your company has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, set strong application control policies and ensure that online encryption is provided.
  7. Have a Security Audit intermediately. Threats and risks constantly change and your business needs to adapt quickly to stay informed and ahead of the curve.
  8. Finally, the most basic, but vital control, is to have a strong password management practice.

 

Cyber Security is very important to a company. Not only do you have to worry about your own information, but you also have to protect your client’s information. It is not something that should be taken lightly. You have a responsibility to your clients to make sure you are backing up their trust in you and your company.

If you have any questions about cyber security, please contact Manasa Vangala at 314-576-1350 or mvangala@bwtpcpa.com.

Securing Your Financial Information

Are you worried about getting your identity stolen? Are you doing everything you can to make sure that your financial information is safe?

As your accountant, BWTP P.C. takes every precaution to ensure the safety of your financial information. Even the most strict security procedures cannot prevent all instances of identity theft, mainly because the majority of the vulnerability lies with you.

Here are some quick tips that will assist you in the prevention of identity theft:

Always Use Secured Networks When Accessing Financial Information

Logging into your bank account over a local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi is not recommended. These hotspots have lowered the security to make it easier to access the connection without much trouble. Consequentially, this gives the opportunity to individuals that can access your connection. Encrypted wireless networks or your mobile carrier network are recommended instead of unsecured networks.

Be Aware of Exactly What You’re Downloading

Take precautions on what information you download. Free software and files from an unknown source should be avoided. These programs and files can contain malicious software that can access your other files on your computer. This spyware, after being installed and run, can access your sensitive information and relay it to the host site. Download from trusted sources and making sure you have current anti-spyware software will help prevent these intrusions.

Do Not Fall for the Convincing Email Phishing

“Phishing” is the activity of defrauding an online account holder by posing as a legitimate company. Most of the time it is easy to spot a phony email trying to get pieces of sensitive information. Be wary of what institution the emails are coming from. Typically, no financial institution will ever ask for a PIN, password, or other sensitive information through email. Take the 30 seconds to research the sending if there is any suspicion. Also note, the IRS will always mail you a letter, they will NEVER contact you first through email or by phone.

Keep Your Passwords Secret and Make Them Strong

Do not keep your passwords stored on your computer and make sure they are strong and kept safe. If it is necessary to write the passwords down, keep them in a secure, private location. Using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols will also increase the security of your information. Avoid using easily-guessed information or details about yourself for passwords and PINs.

Be Sure to Shred

When disposing of any financial information, shredding the documents to avoid the dumpster-divers can be an easy deterrent. On top of being wary of emails and phishing, old-school dumpster-diving is still a threat today. Shred any documents that you are getting rid of to add another layer of security for your private information.

 

Please do not hesitate to call Clint Carder at (314) 576-1350 if you have any questions or concerns about the security of your financial information.

Client Portal Training

In this video, Howard Brown, the Creator and Founder of Doc.It, walks you through using our secure Client Portal to transfer information to us or receive information we are sending you.  Enjoy!