What Best Practices Can You Put in Place to Protect Your Customers’ Data and Yourself During Audits?
As an employer, protecting your customers’ data is one of your greatest responsibilities. When people decide to do business with you, they are trusting you to protect their personal information from getting into the wrong hands and being used for adverse purposes. Having confidential information stolen means that customers may decide to give their business to your competitors for better safeguarding. For this reason, you want to implement best practices to protect your customers’ data during audits.
Securely Store and Protect Data
Data security keeps private information safe from unauthorized users. It also protects against ransomware or other attacks that prevent access to information or fraudulently alter data. Data protection ensures that data remains accessible after system or component failures or natural disasters. Both data security and protection ensure that data is reliable and available when needed. Data storage security policies need to be written and enforced to ensure security and protection. For instance, role-based access control, multi-factor authentication, and using strong passwords restrict who has access to confidential information. Encryption should be in place when data is in transit and in the storage systems. Data loss prevention solutions also need be in place. Storage systems should be surrounded by firewalls, anti-malware protection, security gateways, or other strong network security systems to prevent cyber attackers from accessing storage devices.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multifactor authentication (MFA) requires more than one method of authentication to verify a user’s identity for a transaction. MFA combines two or more of the following: what the user knows, such as a password; what the user has, such as a security token; and what the user is, such as a fingerprint. Using MFA makes it more challenging for an unauthorized user to access a physical location, computing device, network, database, or other target. Even if one factor is breached, others must be as well to break into the target. For instance, when swiping a debit card, a PIN must be entered. When logging into a website, an additional one-time password must be entered.
Increase Security Audit Activity
Because you are responsible for information security, conduct annual security audits. Potential investors or customers may insist on seeing security audit results before doing business with you. You may decide to hire employees with security backgrounds and certifications and/or pay for independent security audits. Work with seasoned auditors who rely on experience more than checklists. Detail your requirements and objectives for conducting an annual audit. For instance, a basic approach may include gathering information about your company, researching security recommendations and alerts for your platform, testing to confirm exposures, and creating a risk analysis report. Involve your business unit managers in the entire process to ensure the audit is properly conducted. Evaluate the entire audit report. Use your audits to establish a security baseline. Measure your annual progress toward security and follow the auditor’s advice.
Partner with Marco Management Solutions
Marco Management Solutions, a division of Marco & Associates, can place you with the seasoned accounting professionals needed to prepare your company for an audit. Our experts work with you to develop a complete understanding of your business’s needs to provide the qualified expertise you need. Contact us today.