For large-scale enterprises, outsourced management and business accounting services can be quite a godsend. Not only do these services make legal compliance much easier, they also cost less in the long run. However, the issue of data security understandably pops up in such discussions, and with good reason. By letting your tax consultant in Toronto access your financial documents, you are essentially giving them the keys to a considerable chunk of your corporate secrets and confidential data. Thus, it helps to know the most effective ways to ensure your data security.
Here are four things you should expect from your service provider (or at least remind your service provider to do):
Establish stronger security and authentication protocols.
You place all of your data at risk with something as frustratingly easy to avoid as a weak password. Make it harder for anyone to guess your password by avoiding generic words, numerical or alphabetical sequences, and other letter-number combinations that somebody else would have a decent chance at guessing.
You can also ask your service provider to use software that locks your data after a set number of incorrect password tries. It also helps to have multiple layers of authentication, like a number sent to your mobile phone that you have to enter after typing in your password. Lastly, don’t use a single password for all your logins. At least make it a bit more difficult for hackers to penetrate your system – don’t give them the opportunity to steal all your data with just one lucky guess.
Try data encryption.
With data encryption, your data gets transformed into a code that a person without the right key cannot decode. Even hackers wouldn’t be able to get through this, since the information they’ll get would be in a “language” that they won’t be able to understand. One option is to use apps that come with built-in encryption features. Another would be to advise your accountant or consultant to encrypt the entire disk drive to make sure that none of your financial statements would fall into the wrong hands.
Don’t collect and keep more data than you actually need.
Storing so much data can have its downsides, too — and chief among them is enabling hackers to actually steal something from you. Make sure that before your consultant works with your data, you’ve already removed all information that’s unnecessary for him or her to complete his tasks, but might serve as bait for hungry hackers dying to get a piece or two of your financials. Minimize the amount of data you work with; keep only what is absolutely essential to your business, and feel free to junk the rest.
Be religious in updating your software.
Lastly, an updated computer is a safer computer. By installing the latest updates on your machines, there’s a greater chance that it’ll be well-equipped to handle some of the newest threats that may come its way. Always check for the latest versions of the software that you use, and advise your consultant to do the same.
Before you seek assistance on tax preparation in Toronto, you should know the qualities you want to see in a consultant… and the qualities you absolutely do not want to see as well. Take a look at our whitepaper on ineffective finance and accounting teams (and how to spot them). You can download it for free through the image below.