Oct 28, 2013 Dave King
Despite the wide variety and high volume of data breaches that led to significant financial losses for organizations in the public and private sectors over the past several years, businesses continue to be behind the eight ball when it comes to information governance and security. ACH cards and wire transfers have become the targets of choice for hackers, especially considering how many small business owners use these services and do not secure them.
Companies of all sizes need to pay close attention to accounts payable and receivable throughout the year, even if the general payments are conducted on an automated basis. Without oversight and security protocols, organizations will be poorly positioned to combat the increasing risk of cybercrime and stand to lose substantial dollar amounts.
What needs to be done?
Decision-makers should always remember that the most simplistic and traditional security measures are often effective. Although hackers have certainly taken new measures to circumvent old security structures, they will struggle to breach a company that has honed in on the basics and perfected floor-level security.
When formulating an accounts payable and receivable security strategy, executives and small business owners should keep these considerations in mind:
- Automation: Automated payments such as ACH cards can take some of the daily stress off of the accounting department. However, automation does not mean that the company can simply sit by and not keep track of payments. Instead, accounting professionals should be responsible for regularly checking payments to ensure a hack has not occurred.
- Software: Security software such as data loss prevention programs and firewalls are often the most effective solutions for accounts payable and receivable security. Studies indicate that these traditional pieces of software can prevent the vast majority of hacks and breaches.
- Training: Regardless of which employees might be handling payment processing, businesses often benefit from wide-scale training initiatives that teach the best practices of financial data management. Once policies are formed, companies should consider holding educational activities to keep staff abreast of both risks and security best practices.
A recent American Banker article explained that the billions of dollars lost following ACH card and wire fraud events will only continue to rise and spread to new industries if organizations do not take the necessary precautions immediately. Many companies cannot afford to lose their trust with target markets or large dollar amounts and, as such, decision-makers should view such security measures as continuity buffers.