How to Protect Your Confidential Information in Accounting Software
Protecting your confidential information is always a top concern when using software that is crucial to the success of your business. Your data is your own. It is up to you to secure it so you can protect your business and your revenues.
Your accounting software should not be communicating with the Internet without your authorization. There are far too many hazards with this kind of "networkable" software, not the least of which is the security vulnerability of having an unauthorized process open to outside access.
Properly designed software will give you the option to turn off network access. If there is no option to turn this feature off, there is always the option of setting your firewall to block it. However, uncooperative software is rarely worth the time or the money. It also creates a security issue. It's always a better idea to find more a more flexible application.
When you put your information in an application, you must be able to get it back out. This is doubly important if you record information you later decide should not be stored in your accounting system. In such a case, the ability to export and/or erase that data will be necessary. If your software package doesn't allow you to do so, then you have a security issue. You can't protect data you can't access.
There are many options for data encryption available today that didn't exist when most accounting software became popular. Make use of the options available for simple encryption and formulate a competent and flexible password policy. Any archived financial information should always be encrypted if possible. Apply the same kind of thinking to your encryption software as you do for anything else. It must be cross-platform. It must make your data portable. It should be easy to use. Software that isn't easy to use is a security risk.
Putting confidential information into your accounting software can be safe provided you follow common-sense security principles.