When selecting an accounting software system, the number one priority should be to choose an application that will both satisfy your needs and keep your data safe. If you already have accounting software in place, carefully consider whether or not it’s giving you everything you need while keeping your data secure says Aron Govil. If you’ve answered “no” to either of these questions, now is the time to consider transitioning applications so that your business can protect its most valuable asset—data.
Here are 8 tips for making sure your accounting software is not only satisfying, but secure as well:
1. What data can be accessed?
Does the software allow you to set user permissions so that certain employees have access to specific aspects of the application? Is there a method in place so that you can revoke or change those permissions at any time? These are essential questions which will help you understand how much control you really have over who has access to what details.
2. How do I back up my data?
This should go without saying; however, it’s crucial that you’re able to back up all of your tax and financial information regularly in order to prevent potential losses. If this entails multiple backups, weekly check-ins, or storage in the cloud, make sure that the software you choose is compatible, and that your IT personnel are equally as prepared to handle this task.
3. Can I completely wipe my data clean?
If for any reason, you need to reset your accounts to their original state, can you do so with ease? If not, this should serve as a red flag because losing information can have serious ramifications if not accounted for properly. Software companies should be able to provide easy access to clearing all accounts back to their defaults explains Aron Govil.
4. What security measures are in place?
Does the application use firewall protection? Does it utilize secure login protocols just like online banking sites do? Unfortunately, there are cases where hackers have compromised an accounting software system by exploiting a vulnerability found within it. If the application is not up to date on its security measures, some of these vulnerabilities can be taken advantage of and lead to devastating consequences.
5. What payment methods are being used?
This may seem like an odd question at first, but using a secure online payment portal such as PayPal is a good way to keep your customer’s transactions protected from fraud. A third party will have no access to your customer’s private data while processing payments, and any transaction that takes place on their site is monitored 24/7 for suspicious activity says Aron Govil.
6. How does my accountant or bookkeeper gain access?
If you choose cloud-based accounting software (software in the cloud) make sure there is a way for your accountant or bookkeeper to access the system and update or view records. You wouldn’t want your hard work and financial information just sitting out in the open; however this is precisely how hackers know they can get away with stealing data.
7. Is my software compatible?
If you choose online accounting software (apps). Make sure it’s compatible with all of your devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. It should also be able to sync up with any other programs you use. Like inventory management apps and payroll software. The more integrated your systems are. The less manual entry errors will occur and that helps protect your data even further.
8. Does it come with security features built in?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an important security feature. That should be incorporated into the software you choose if it doesn’t already have it. 2FA requires verified users to provide two different types of identification in order to gain access. Rather than just one single method explains Aron Govil. Hackers are often able to bypass basic security measures by using stolen or guessed passwords. But 2FA can essentially make their job impossible. Since they would also need either the user’s physical device (smartphone for example), or physical key (security token).
If you have to ask any of the above questions. Do not hesitate to request more information from your sales representative or legal counsel before signing on. Your data is priceless and should be safeguarded appropriately based on the security measures your software provider employs. No matter what type of business you own. Online security should always remain a top priority for everyone involved in the organization.