If thieves were spotted in your neighborhood, you would take extra care to lock your car, lock your windows, and shut your blinds at night. Being aware of the risk motivates you to take action.
What if I told you there truly are thieves in your area? If you use the internet for business, there are hackers in your neighborhood.
That is the downside to the connectedness of the internet. As a business owner, it is vital that you and your business partners, including your accounting advisor, take action to protect your personal and corporate financial information online.
Here are some smart ways to secure your financial data online:
- Be sure that your network is secure. Don’t leave access to your Wi-Fi internet wide open. Require a password for anyone to use it. If you are a business that has customers visit your location, you may want to use two networks: one open for guests and one password protected which the employees use to do business. Keeping the two networks separate protects your corporate financial information.
- Do not keep your passwords automatically saved on your phone or computer. It may seem terribly inconvenient to have to re-enter your password every time you want to login to a banking or financial app or account, but all it takes is for your phone or laptop to be lost or stolen to realize that the extra minutes are worth the security of your financial information. How can you remember all those logins and passwords? You only have to remember one if you use an app like the LastPass Password Manager App. This app keeps your passwords and logins handy, but secure.
- Get rid of the password paper trail. One client had a family member attempt to hack into his financial information. It wasn’t hard. The client had left a post-it note by his computer with his financial account passwords of which the family member tried to take advantage. Thankfully, the client had a financial advisor who was suspicious about the way the family member was contacting him and the financial advisor alerted the client.
- Use unique passwords. The most secure passwords are random with letters, symbols, and numbers. Don’t use personal information for passwords like the date of your anniversary or your spouse’s name. Use a different password for each account.
- Change your passwords regularly. Some cybersecurity experts recommend changing your passwords every month. Others recommend every three months.
- Arrange for your banking institution to notify you when your account balance is below a certain amount or when there is a large transaction made. Many banks already have this feature but have the conversation so you can know for sure.
- Update the operating systems on your phone and your computer. Updates from the operating systems often include security updates. If you don’t have the latest updates, your financial data will not be as protected as it can possibly be.
Another way to secure your data online is to partner with an accounting advisor who takes cybersecurity seriously.
All the accountants at MSM Advisors know that cybersecurity is not just for the IT department. Each team member takes personal responsibility in protecting the financial information of each client.