The third annual National Tax Security Awareness campaign started yesterday. Through December 7, it will highlight a daily security topic and mark the launch of a special @IRSTaxSecurity Twitter handle that will keep you aware of emerging threats throughout the 2019 tax filing season.
For almost two decades, Altima Business Solutions has been designing, implementing and safely maintaining financial management systems for small businesses. We understand these threats! Here are some basic steps to protect yourself:
- Secure your networks
It’s critical that you secure your network, both electronically and physically. Unless you are an expert, make sure to consult with one. Don’t know anyone? We can recommend these two locally owned firms:
- Understand security rules and follow them
Phishing emails: Phishing emails account for such a large portion of cyber attacks, 90 to 95 percent per IRONSCALES’ 2017 Email Security Report, because companies fail to teach employees about the danger:
- Do not provide password or any other personal information. Reputable institutions do not ask for it via email. They use secure messaging.
- Do not open any attachment from an unknown source.
- Do not click on any embedded buttons or links, especially those that say “unsubscribe” or “remove me from this mailing list.” Instead, block the sender.
- If in doubt, call the sender.
Password: According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, “81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords.”
- Use long and unique passwords
- Issue guidelines for your employees
- Vary your passwords to make it tougher for cybercriminals to use credentials stolen from one site to access your data on another.
Usernames: The same principle as with passwords apply for usernames
- Avoid using your primary email as username whenever possible
- Using different logins
Lock all your devices: Your computer, laptop and tablet require you to login to access the information. What about your smartphone? Make sure to lock on your screen and apps.
Two-step verification: An application may require you to provide your password in combination with a passcode sent via text to your smartphone. This is a very secure way of access.
- Backup, backup, backup and recover
Don’t forget to back up all of your work using an offsite storage. More importantly, make sure you understand how fast you want to recover it, if it becomes necessary. Recovery is a critical piece of your security strategy so plan for it.
- Keep your hardware and software up-to-date
Up-to-date operating systems, web browsers, application software, desktops, laptops and mobile devices will help protect yourself against the most recent threats.
- Beware of public Wi-Fi
Make sure you’re connected to a private, secure Wi-Fi access point, before accessing sensitive personal and financial information.
There is already so much to worry about when owning a business, like keeping it financially stable. More than just keeping an accurate set of books, we are always on your side! We align your financial resources with your business goals to better manage and fund your cash flow.
Worried about cash flow? Contact our Finance Experts today
Carine Dieudé is a Partner & Director of Strategy at Altima Business Solutions, On-Demand Business Experts always on your side: Capital, Profit, Critical Path, Sales and Operations. Board of Directors for Girls inTech Phoenix and Chair of the Mentorship Committee.