Make sure that your QuickBooks company file is secure. It has your most sensitive information.
The most important information for your business is your customer list. And, the bank card numbers, social security numbers, and both vendor and client records have to be protected from hackers as well as unauthorized employees.
Big financial institutions and corporations are not the only ones who are targeted by hackers. In fact, you may be a much easier target for intruders to target. It is precisely because small business owners believe that no one is interested in their data they fail to take the steps to protect their data. Thus, small businesses are commonly victimized with data breaches and theft or destruction of their valuable information.
Running antivirus programs and scanning for malware are basic steps as well as protecting all access with passwords. But, you can do more. Here are our suggestions.
The first important step in protecting your data is to have all employees use their own unique user names and passwords. When everyone uses the same login information you do not have a good way to know who was responsible when something goes wrong. And, when you do this, you can also restrict each person’s access to those areas of the business where they have duties.
You can assign levels of permission in QuickBooks by going to the Company menu and clicking Set Up Users and Passwords followed by Set Up Users. Doing this brings you to the User List screen. When you arrive here you should have Admin status. Start by clicking Add User. Then enter both user name and a unique password. You can always come back to make changes. Next, Add this user to my QuickBooks license by checking the box in front.
Note: To double check the number of users your license allows, simply click F2 and it will be listed in the upper left-hand corner. Contact us if you need help adding licenses.
Now, click Next. You will see three options:
If you grant access to us, we will be able to access all necessary information but not any sensitive customer data.
For now, choose the second option and click Next. Now you will see (as in the image above) that you can choose the level of responsibility to give the employee. Choose the one that you want for the employee and click Next. The following nine screens have to do with specific QuickBooks areas and the activities in those areas.
Note: To change your own password (which should be done at least every three months), go to Company, Set Up Users and Passwords, and Change Your Password.
Your company file should be routinely backed up on a CD, thumb drive, or other external storage device. And the device should be kept in a secure location safe from theft, fire, and other risks. To back up the company file, go to the File menu and then Back Up Company. Click Create Local Backup and you will see this window.
First, make certain to choose Local Backup. Now choose the Options button at the bottom of the screen. Click Browse to view your PC directory and choose the right destination. Make sure that the two boxes on the bottom remain checked. This will give you backup time stamp along with file name and will also keep you from making more than three backup copies.
The QuickBooks default setting is that every fourth time you close the company file it will ask if you wish to back up the file. You can change this setting if you wish. To do so, do not change the Complete verification option and then click OK and Next. Choose to save your backup copy and then click on Next again. On this screen, you will be able to schedule backups of the company file. When you are done, click Finish.
A smart choice is to also save a copy of the company file in the cloud. Intuit’s service for this can be purchased for $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year. You will get 100 GB of storage which is usually plenty for the company file and sufficient for other important business files as well. We prefer this solution for our clients but if the cost is an issue, please be sure to back up to a portable device that you can store in a safe location.
Caution: You may already have storage in the cloud with someone else. Please contact us before assuming that it will be safe to copy your QuickBooks files there.
Other ways to protect your valuable QuickBooks data are these:
It is really easy to relax and not follow these steps. But, when you establish routines and follow them, your data will be much safer. Think of sloppy behavior in this regard like leaving home with your front door open and a big sign outside saying “come in and take what you want!”
If you need to discuss ways to protect your company data, contact us today.