Balanced Beans is pleased to announce that we are Accounting Data Security Standard (ADSS) accredited.
The ADSS is a standard focussed on the management, storage and sharing of sensitive data and passwords within an accounting firm. It is a global accreditation reserved for firms who uphold the highest standards of data security.
What does this mean for Balanced Beans clients?
ADSS is a trust mark for our valued clients that your data is of the utmost importance.
At Balanced Beans we respect our client data and use the gold standard in data security platforms for accounting firms, worldwide – Practice Protect.
While the requirements of certification have been satisfied, we pledge to continue to always engage best practice security and data protection practices.
Is your business focussed enough on cyber security?
We live in a digital world where our company’s data and (crucially) our client’s data is under constant attack. Hackers are always looking for new ways to break into your systems and databases and this has resulted in many significant data breaches in recent years.
When your security is breached, and your data is compromised, it isn’t just an IT issue. It’s a breach of trust between you, your customers and your suppliers – one that can be hugely damaging for your brand reputation and the perception of your business and brand.
So, why are so few companies taking cyber security seriously? And what can you do to enhance your cyber security and protect your valuable data?
How to boost your security measures
If you lose your data, you also damage your business. So protecting the safety and security of your data and systems has to be a top priority for any business owner. Here are some actionable strategies to boost your cyber security.
- Make cyber security a company-wide concern – if a data breach occurs, there’s no use blaming the IT department after the fact. Cyber security has to be a concern for the whole business and something where you have clear advice, processes and training in place for. The better your people are prepared for protecting the company’s valuable data, the less chance there will be of a security error or accidental data breach.
- Keep devices and computing hardware secure – where your employees are using laptops and work mobile devices, it’s vital that they keep this hardware safe. Don’t leave computers unattended in laptop bags in a coffee shop or bar, and don’t leave your phone unsupervised on a hot desk. Offer secure lockers and desk drawers where laptops and devices can be secured and always think about the security implications of leaving your hardware anywhere other than in the office.
- Use a secure network connection – when connecting to work applications, databases and shared folders, always use the company network or an approved virtual private network (VPN). By using a secure network connection, you greatly reduce the chances of your data being intercepted and stolen, with VPNs allowing employees to log in securely when off-site or working at a client’s premises.
- Save important data in the right place – you should have clear protocols regarding what kinds of data can be saved, and where this information should be stored. If employees are storing spreadsheets full of confidential client information on their laptop hard drives, you are only one lost laptop away from a security breach. Set up clear guidelines on which drives and folders to use, and make sure only the right people have access to any confidential folders and content.
- Use proper authentication and encryption – use multi-factor authentication for access to all your cloud tools. And make sure you have proper data encryption of any confidential information that’s shared. By putting the best possible security steps in place, you greatly reduce the risk of a slip-up.
- Consider the security threat of Working from Home (WHM) – with so many employees now WFH there are extra threats to factor in. Good cyber security at home means using a secure VPN, keeping laptops safely stored, always using the latest versions of applications and not sharing passwords with family or flatmates etc.
- Install anti-virus software on all devices – Every business needs to prioritize top-of-the-line protection from viruses and other malware. Even a single nefarious attack can do tremendous damage both personally and professionally. Read on to learn how you can protect your assets from the shadier corners of the internet.
- Log all security breaches – if the worst-case scenario does happen, make sure to log every single security or data breach and be transparent about what’s happened when communicating with customers, suppliers or employees who may have been affected. The sooner all your stakeholders are aware of the issue, the sooner you can work to resolve the problem and limit the potential damage.
- Obtain Cyber Insurance – Expenses for accidental data breaches and cybercrime cam be expensive: data recover costs, investigation costs, legal claims and rectifying any losses suffered by your clients or customers. Cyber Insurance coverage will help cover these costs.
Read more on this topic at the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Speak to an IT security expert and protect your data.
Keeping your data safe and secure is now a foundational need for any business.
We recommend clients liaise with a cyber security expert who can assess your online security. They will be able to review your current systems, networks and security practices and advise you on any key actions needed.
There’s a common perception that engaging an expert and implementing comprehensive IT security to protect against today’s sophisticated threats and attacks is a difficult and expensive task.
This mindset has left some businesses vulnerable. While its true that some measures can be costly, many of the recommendations outlined above are simple and affordable. The cost of a breach can be far higher.