Data Security

I recently read a reprint of an article in The General Ledger that I would like to share with everyone.

Emails With Sensitive Data. Customer, client or vendor emails may contain SSNs, EINs or bank account numbers ripe for identity theft. When you type in an email address, Auto-fill may complete the wrong addressee, leading to sensitive correspondence being sent to the wrong person.

Encrypt sensitive email. G-mail autoatically tries to encrypt your outgoing and incoming emails using Transport Layer Security (TLS). If you use G-mail and want to know if an email is encrypted, go to the upper lefthand corner of the message and click on the small down arrow. However, if an incoming email is from a service that that does not support TLS, both outgoing and incoming emails may lack encryption.
You can also encrypt a single Outlook email--or all Outlook emails. To find out how, push the F1 button and type "Encrypt email" in search box. 

Documents with sensitive data

To protect sensitive data in Word Docs:

  • Click the Office button, then Prepare, the Encrypt Document; then
  • in the dialog box, type a password and hit OK; repeat the password when asked.
Anyone who tries to open the doc will be asked for the password. 

To protect sensitive data in PDFs.You can use Adobe Reader to encrypt PDFs, but Adobe Acrobat makes it much easier. To encrypt a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat: 
  • under the File menu, click Properties;
  • click the Document Properties folder;
  • click the Security tab; and 
  • on the Security Method drop down select "Password Security" and type in the password to be used to encrypt and decrypt the PDF file. 
You can also encrypt entire drives (several versions of Windows have this capability built in), encrypted, rather than password, individual files or use a service (such as Symantec) to transfer files securely. Once you encrypt either a file or email, do not make the mistake of then sending the encryption key in another email- any email or file can be hacked. 

~Original Source:   Ted Needleman, "Simple Steps to Data Security," Accounting Today, April 2016, SourceMedia, Inc, One State Street Plaza, New York, NY 10004
~Reprint Source:  The General Ledger, April 20, 2016, Volume 33 A 6


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