A C C U R A N T S

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At Accurants, we are passionate about protecting our customers’ data and helping them maintain the privacy of their small business clients. To that end, we have spent hundreds of hours researching and identifying the latest techniques in data security. Here are 5 steps crucial for protecting yourself and your data online:

 1. Create a Bulletproof Password

 It’s no secret that remembering passwords is a pain. In fact, one could argue that having to keep track of dozens of different passwords for everything from bank accounts to email servers is one of the great downsides of the digital era! But your security system is only as good as its’ weakest link, so keep that in mind the next time you use your dog’s name for a password.

Although most of us know that passwords are important, few of us can manage to recall a dozen unique passwords and instead find ourselves using the same pet names and birthdays for all our private logins. Even if we do manage to create different passwords for various sites, they might not follow all the rules.

Here are some of the guidelines for effective password creation:

Password Don’ts

  • Never use the name of your spouse, child, dog, or anything else that could easily be identified with you.
  • Never write down your passwords or store them in a phone or app.
  • Avoid using the same password for every site.
  • Never share your password.

 Password Dos

  • Use a minimum of 8 characters, including a capital letter, at least two numbers, and a special character.
  • Have a different password for each website.
  • Change passwords at least once yearly.

 At first glance, these rules might seem intimidating. However, the team at Accurants has discovered an easy way to create memorable passwords without sacrificing your business’ security. I personally have used this method with great results for many years.

Here are five steps essential to protecting yourself online:

1. Choose a Memorable Base Word and Replace Letters

Pick a word that cannot be directly connected to you but that you can remember. This word needs to be at least five characters, two of which have character counts below 10 (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i). We’ll use the example:

Cocoa

 1. Next, replace at least two of the low character count letters with their count numbers.

3o3oa

  Include a Capital or Two

Capitalize at least one letter.

3o3oA

 Add the current year, this will remind you to change at least yearly.

Add a year indicator to the front or end.

3o3oA16

 Add a Letter Representing the Site

Ensure you remember which password belongs to which site by including a significant letter. For example, you can add a ‘g’ for your Gmail account password.

3o3oA16g

 Add a Special Character

Add a special character to the end of your password.

3o3oA16g*

 Give our password creation system a try – just remember not to share the results. The best way to protect your password is to keep it a secret from friends, family, and acquaintances.

2. Update Your Anti-Virus Software

If your anti-virus and anti-malware software aren’t up to date, you could be putting your system and your confidential data at risk. While Norton and McAfee are widely regarded as the best options for digital security, various free programs exist online for those who don’t have a lot to spend.  Nt only do these systems help protect you from viruses, adware, and phishing schemes, but they also safeguard your online transactions by identifying and blocking unsafe websites.  If you want to protect yourself online, take time to update your OS and software whenever there’s a new rollout.

 3. Be Safe Socially

Because Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous fixtures in our daily lives, many users assume they can post personal information without consequence.  However, the truth is that criminals and hackers utilize these platforms to gain sensitive data such as phone numbers, addresses, and even info on when you’ll be out of the house.  For this reason, it’s important to lock down privacy settings and avoid sharing too much information.  If you’re going on vacation to Hawaii, wait to post those beach shots until you’re back at home, rather than letting would-be thieves know exactly when you’re out of town.

 4. Guard Your Credit Card

A recent report reveals that two thirds of Americans shop online at least once a month.  While there’s no beating the convenience of buying from Amazon and other web retailers, consumers need to take steps to protect their personal data during these transactions. For best results, shop only on sites that display the padlock icon beside the address. Additionally, consumers should look for an HTTPS address before entering credit card info and take time to check all their bills thoroughly. Staying vigilant against fraud is crucial for protecting your credit record and online identity. Never leave accounts numbers on the website for future use.

 5. Migrate to the Cloud

Cloud-based storage solutions like the one offered by Accurants provide numerous advantages over the competition.  With cloud accounting, individuals and businesses can rest assured knowing that important data is protected from both cybercrime and hard drive corruption.  Additionally, cloud security solutions can help companies meet compliance requirements for encryption and access control.

Trust Accurants with Your Business Accounting

Your complete solution for small business accounting, Accurants provides a variety of cloud-based software solutions to handle everything from tracking expenses to invoicing clients. Additionally, we work with clients to ensure their confidential info—and that of their customers—stays secure every step of the way.  For more information about our services, sign up for a free 30-day trial. We look forward to showing you everything Accurants can do for your business.  Accurants utilizes the third party digicerts to validate our security.

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