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Securing your Financial Data Online

Published on 15 April 15
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Unfortunately in todayâs climate there are many unscrupulous people who try to get their hands on personal and financial data. In your business you probably store your own details, including accountancy and taxation records, alongside those of your clients, vendors and any employees. This is sensitive data and therefore it is of the utmost importance you do all you can to protect it.
Run Backups Daily

The first step is to ensure that all your data is backed up daily and that the back-ups are either stored off site, in case of fire or break-in, or you opt for backups via the cloud. Ideally you should do both. In addition, your backups should be set to run automatically to avoid human error.

If you or your employees use laptops which are not connected to the network regularly you need to ensure there is a method in place to back these up as well, either via the cloud or an external backup drive. Again, automatic methods are the safest.
Securing your Financial Data Online - Image 1

When you select a cloud storage provider always check they can provide stability and they should also offer additional security in terms of encryption options. Choosing a long established company which is known for reliability, over one with the cheapest price, is a wise move.
Secure Document Storage

As your business grows you will amass a large amount of documentation in both hard and soft format. You can store these on site but you need to consider what protection is in place should there be a break-in at your office or fire or flood damage. The most secure option therefore is to opt for a document storage service which will give both you and your clients, peace of mind.
Keep Hardware Secure

When you are away from your business it is important to keep all of your hardware secure. This includes not leaving mobiles and laptops unattended anywhere or locked in the boot of your car. Further, any device which travels with you should be password protected and set to lock after remaining inactive for one minute.
Install Anti-Virus Software

Install anti-virus software to guard against all types of malware. This software should include a firewall, real-time scanning and should be set to update automatically. When you are choosing anti-virus software make sure you research the subject and opt for the best line of security for your budget. Resources such as PC Magazine and AV Test are good places to start.

In addition, there is also specific software which guards against malware and phishing attempts on your financial data. Consider this option as an additional line of defence.

Utilize Strong Passwords

Remind all staff they should choose robust passwords which are around 20 characters long and should comprise a combination of small and capital letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords should be different for every application and website they access and need to be changed regularly. You can set a reminder on your network to let people know to update their login for this, on either a monthly or quarterly basis.

If you have a Wi-Fi network running in your company ensure it has been password protected to guard against any attacks. Also be very wary of accessing company data from free Wi-Fi sources in places like coffee shops, as you donât know how securely they are protected.
Be Careful What You Open

Many phishing attempts for sensitive data are made through email and some of these are now created so professionally they look genuine. Always be careful about any links you click from unknown sources and guard against downloading attachments from email or website, as these are the perfect transport for malware.
Guard Against Vulnerabilities

Operating systems, software applications and web browsers are updated frequently by their creators to guard against security vulnerabilities. The internet is an ever-changing landscape and hackers are always seeking new ways to infiltrate systems. Where possible set your updates to run automatically so you can always be sure you are running the latest, most secure, version.


Unfortunately in todayâs climate there are many unscrupulous people who try to get their hands on personal and financial data. In your business you probably store your own details, including accountancy and taxation records, alongside those of your clients, vendors and any employees. This is sensitive data and therefore it is of the utmost importance you do all you can to protect it.

Run Backups Daily

The first step is to ensure that all your data is backed up daily and that the back-ups are either stored off site, in case of fire or break-in, or you opt for backups via the cloud. Ideally you should do both. In addition, your backups should be set to run automatically to avoid human error.

If you or your employees use laptops which are not connected to the network regularly you need to ensure there is a method in place to back these up as well, either via the cloud or an external backup drive. Again, automatic methods are the safest.

Securing your Financial Data Online - Image 1

When you select a cloud storage provider always check they can provide stability and they should also offer additional security in terms of encryption options. Choosing a long established company which is known for reliability, over one with the cheapest price, is a wise move.

Secure Document Storage

As your business grows you will amass a large amount of documentation in both hard and soft format. You can store these on site but you need to consider what protection is in place should there be a break-in at your office or fire or flood damage. The most secure option therefore is to opt for a document storage service which will give both you and your clients, peace of mind.

Keep Hardware Secure

When you are away from your business it is important to keep all of your hardware secure. This includes not leaving mobiles and laptops unattended anywhere or locked in the boot of your car. Further, any device which travels with you should be password protected and set to lock after remaining inactive for one minute.

Install Anti-Virus Software

Install anti-virus software to guard against all types of malware. This software should include a firewall, real-time scanning and should be set to update automatically. When you are choosing anti-virus software make sure you research the subject and opt for the best line of security for your budget. Resources such as PC Magazine and AV Test are good places to start.

In addition, there is also specific software which guards against malware and phishing attempts on your financial data. Consider this option as an additional line of defence.

Utilize Strong Passwords

Remind all staff they should choose robust passwords which are around 20 characters long and should comprise a combination of small and capital letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords should be different for every application and website they access and need to be changed regularly. You can set a reminder on your network to let people know to update their login for this, on either a monthly or quarterly basis.

If you have a Wi-Fi network running in your company ensure it has been password protected to guard against any attacks. Also be very wary of accessing company data from free Wi-Fi sources in places like coffee shops, as you donât know how securely they are protected.

Be Careful What You Open

Many phishing attempts for sensitive data are made through email and some of these are now created so professionally they look genuine. Always be careful about any links you click from unknown sources and guard against downloading attachments from email or website, as these are the perfect transport for malware.

Guard Against Vulnerabilities

Operating systems, software applications and web browsers are updated frequently by their creators to guard against security vulnerabilities. The internet is an ever-changing landscape and hackers are always seeking new ways to infiltrate systems. Where possible set your updates to run automatically so you can always be sure you are running the latest, most secure, version.

This blog is listed under Data & Information Management and IT Security & Architecture Community

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