Your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. You may have customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers, as well as your businesses accounting data. An intruder who captured all that data could create tremendous problems for you and a lot of other people.
That’s probably the worst-case scenario. But other situations could also spell disaster for your business, which involve losing your company data through fraud, encryption viruses, hacking, or simple technical failures.
We can’t overstate the vital importance of protecting your QuickBooks company file, especially your accounting, customer and payroll information. Whether someone steals it or it’s inaccessible for another reason, it’s gone. Keeping your business going after such a loss would be very difficult – maybe even impossible.
Here’s what we suggest to prevent that.
No business owner wants to believe that his or her employees could use their QuickBooks access to commit fraud. But it happens. Your company file contains credit card and checking account data that could be used for nefarious purposes. As we advocated in many ways, you can restrict user access to specific areas and actions of QuickBooks.
This example if for QuickBooks Pro and Premier. The limitations are very basic, but still should be helpful.
To get started, open the Company menu and select Set Up Users and Passwords Set Up Users. The User List window opens. It should have at least one entry there initially, (Admin).
We often see clients using the Admin Login for daily processing, but it SHOULD NOT BE. This user is designed to be only used for specific tasks:
- Setting Up Users
- Selecting Company Preferences
- Importing and Exporting Lists
- Setting Closing Dates
This is one the main reasons we emphasis the proper setup of QuickBooks, so once the Company File is setup, it is only used typically for monthly closing of the books.
Create Your User Accounts
Even if you are the only one that uses QuickBooks, it is still best practice to create a user for daily processing.The Admin password should only be known by the owner of the business, or their designated staff member.
To Begin … Click Add User and enter the employee’s name and password in the next window that opens, then click Next.
Tip: Your QuickBooks license limits you to a specified number of simultaneous users. If you’re not sure how many you’re allowed, click F2 to open the Product Information page. The number of user licenses you’ve paid for appears in the upper left.
[Special Note: This is the total number of logins to the company file at the same time. You can have many users more but only the number of licenses limit access at the same time.]
On the next page of this wizard, click the button in front of Selected Areas of QuickBooks. The following screens will let you define that employee’s access permissions in areas like Sales and Accounts Receivable, Inventory, and Payroll and Employees. When you’ve clicked through every screen and reviewed the summary displayed, click Finish. Your user will now be able to sign in and access the areas you specified.
You can-and should-take numerous other steps to keep your QuickBooks data safe.
QuickBooks has the ability to backup data to portable drives, and even though this should be done at times, it does not solve the loss do to total failure, fire, or encryption viruses. This should be done by an online backup solution.
We have worked with many options for this, and we concluded that what many offer is too complicated, and requires too much from the user in case of a loss. For this reason we highly recommend Critcical Backup Solutions
This solution not only protects your QuickBooks data, but all your company’s critical data and documents automatically with 10 versions for added protection.
Next Keep Your Operating System and Applications Updates
|Don’t ignore this dialog box.
Software companies’ occasional updates offer more than just adding new features and fixing bugs. They sometimes refresh your software to ensure greater security based on new threats. Don’t forget about those all-important antivirus and anti-malware applications, as well as QuickBooks itself.
Keep Your Networks Safe
Just as a cold virus spreads around your office, so, too, can unwanted intrusions like computer viruses. Don’t allow an electronic epidemic to get started; take steps ahead of time to prevent it:
- Discourage employees from excessive web browsing.
This can be a hard rule to enforce, as some employees probably need internet access for research, and other work-related tasks. Create a firm policy legislating what workers can and can’t do on company-issued equipment (including tablets and smartphones) or any personal devices that use your wireless network.
- Ask employees to refrain from using public networks on work equipment. Enforce the rules vigorously, and make compliance an element of performance evaluations.
- Prohibit Online Radio and iTunes on business computers
Online (free) music contains the highest virus and malware threats of just about any file accesses from the internet. iTunes dramatically affect Windows Based computers performance … stop them from doing this.
- Minimize app installations on business smartphones.
Employees should ask for approval. Viruses and malware get in that way, as well as through some websites and email attachments.
- Use monitoring software.
If you can’t afford to pay for “managed IT” (a la carte, third-party IT services), install an application that alerts you to problems.
Use Common Sense
You can fight data loss and theft by being cautious. Be diligent about backups, and if you create them on a local, portable device, don’t leave them in the office. Remember Cloud-based solutions such as Critical Backup Solutions are better and automatic. Shred papers that have sensitive information on them. Log out of QuickBooks when you’re not using it or when you leave your office. Be aware of who may be around you, looking over your shoulder.
We take data security very seriously in our own office, and we strongly encourage you to do the same. Contact us if you’re at all concerned with your own data safety, and we’ll come up with a plan together.