5 Tips For Protecting Your Business And Personal Tax Data
With the ever-evolving world of security, it is essential to keep a watchful eye on new procedures and tips to protect your data from the explosive growth of attacks. These 5 tips will keep you ahead of the hackers and protect your data.
Change your password and make it strong
A strong password, one with uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols are great for protecting data but generally hard to remember. Another tip here is to use a phrase and change some letters to numbers or symbols, for example; instead of the phrase Thesmallbrowndog, use Th3sma!lbrownd0g this makes remembering them much easier. Or better yet get a password safe such as LastPass, they even have a free version. With a password safe, you only have to remember one password. The one you log in to activate the safe with. Then it will autofill all of your passwords once you have input them. Most of them also have a random password generator that you can use to create passwords for any sites you need to secure.
Consider dual authentication
Chances are you may have already used Dual Authentication without knowing what it is or why. Most banks now require it. Dual Authentication is a 2 step login process such as a password and a code that is sent to you by email or text. This form of login can stop hackers in their tracks because they may have your password, but without your phone or email account, they can't get the code. Yes, it does take a few extra seconds to log in to sites but it is a great way to keep data secure, and most software now offer some form of additional security measures.
Encrypt the computer that stores your data
Encryption generally helps in the area of theft of equipment. If someone steals your computer and they can't get in because they don't know your password, they can pull out the hard drive and plug it into another system and get all of your data. This is where encryption comes in. If your hard drive is encrypted the thief can't get to your data without the encryption key, they will only be able to access a scrambled hard drive.
Use safe networks to connect to online tax software
I know a student that was testing security at a local coffee shop. He made his phone into a hotspot with the same SSID (Wireless Access Name) as the coffee shops. Then he waited. With the program he had on his computer, he could see all the data for anyone that connected to his "fake" access point. This is a simple hack.
If you're going to do online tax, banking or other online software that should be private, don't connect to a public network and think you'll be safe. Use your own cellphone as a hotspot or use your own home or business network.
Backup your tax data
Probably the most given advise from IT professionals, always have a way to get back to where you were. Backup your data on a regular basis. Or as we like to say, backup your data as often as your willing to lose it. This means, if you can lose a days worth of data, then back up every night. If you can only afford to lose a few minutes or hours, then make sure you are backing up more often.
These tips work great individually, but I would recommend using them all together, the more you layer your security, the harder it is for hackers to get to.
As always if you have any questions or would like to talk about any of our services, please contact me directly at 520-751-0888
Greg Durnan is the Owner/President of AcaciaIT and very active in the business community of Southern Arizona. One of the founding members of the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce and Chair-Elect of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce he is very concerned about the needs of businesses in Arizona. He also strives to educate clients on Computer and Network Security through Lunch and Learns, articles, and webinars.
On the weekends he enjoys spending time with his wife and son at their ranch in Vail and working with horses.