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Stephen Lim, CPA, CA
Henry Yan, CPA, CA

The Ascent Team
Suite 105- 3380 Maquinna Drive
Vancouver, BC
V5S 4C6, Canada
Tel. 604.291-0366
Fax. 604.291.0367

Protecting Your Computer Data

The rise of paperless processing and remote access to computer systems has made increased computer security imperative. Establishing an effective password system can help keep your data secure while allowing you greater control over the access to your company's vital information.

Your best weapon to combat illegal access is a password system. Once it is installed, take the following steps to support it and ensure its effectiveness:

Create password guidelines.. Clearly worded and easily accessible password guidelines can nip a computer security problem in the bud. Keep in mind that an outside hacker does only 15 percent of computer break-ins - 85% of such security breaches comes from inside, usually from disgruntled employees.

  • Make and enforce rules about not using easy-to-guess passwords. Experts suggest passwords be a minimum length of six characters, using numbers (or symbols) as well as letters to make guessing nearly impossible. Try to avoid easily obtainable information such as birthdays, anniversaries, initials or motherís maiden name.
  • In the office, donít allow passwords to be written down. Instead, have your employees memorize them or use a special computerized password program to keep track of them.
  • Suggest that employees change passwords regularly - many businesses do this every 90 days.
  • Erase default passwords and carefully monitor guest passwords or stations. Remember to promptly delete former employees' passwords.

Create a clear access rights policy and be sure everyone knows what it is. Certain levels and certain positions will have rights to specified parts of the system. Review log-in registers to see if a change in pattern pops up. Investigate anything suspicious immediately.

Control remote access. An off-the-shelf program, such as a firewall or encryption program, will add the security you need. A firewall system will allow access only to specific programs from the outside. Unfortunately, itís often the protected information your workers need. Encryption programs use codes to "scramble" data. Although persistent hackers can crack codes, these programs can make your information relatively safe.

If you take these steps to better your company's data security, you can be certain that the investment will pay off in the end. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our office.

The information presented in this document is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon to replace professional advice. Before acting on this information, talk with a professional advisor as laws and regulations are constantly changing. Readers accept full responsibility; no document found here is a substitute for a consultation.

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