Are My Computer Systems Protected?
Anti-virus software – a must!
Today most of us use our computer systems in all aspects of our business. If devices are not protected, thieves and fraudsters may deposit malicious viruses in your computer, steal your information even send spam that looks like it came from you.
By using safety measures and good practices you can protect your computer systems and your business.
Many computers, especially those running a Windows® operating system, are at risk of contracting computer viruses. While some viruses are merely annoying, others can cause severe damage to your computer and may corrupt data beyond repair. Keeping a close eye on the health of your operating system and software is an important way to protect your computer from viruses.
Anti-virus software will help protect your computer as well, by maintaining a database of viruses and eliminating threats to your system as they arise, along with running periodic whole system scans. Anti-virus software can only effectively work if you keep it running at all times and update it frequently. Most software will automatically tell you when it needs updates. If you cannot afford anti-virus products, consider using anti-virus freeware from a reputable source.
Back-ups – not just optional!
It is vitally important to have a series of backups for your accounting system. With QuickBooks Desktop/PC versions we suggest using the system provided in the software: File > Backup Company > Create Local Backup and select the Complete Verification option weekly, no less than monthly. We also suggest keeping a staggered set of backups, for instance, keep every year once you have entered all the information and keep every month of the current year. We suggest this because nasty little things that corrupt files sometimes hide for a while before they surface.
If you are using a system to back-up your entire computer automatically it is important to verify that the QuickBooks Company file is included in the backup. We have seen situations where the location of the QuickBooks file moved or was not included in the list of files to be backed up. It is also important to periodically test the backup system by downloading, restoring and opening the QuickBooks file. BEFORE YOU DO THIS, MAKE A BACKUP USING THE SYSTEM IN QB DESKTOP AS NOTED ABOVE. BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL TO RENAME THE DOWNLOADED FILE AND DO NOT OVERWRITE YOUR CURRENT FILE.
For QuickBooks Online, there is not a system to back-up the software as it is cloud based and the provider (QuickBooks/Intuit) manages this for users. That said, just to be safe, we suggest a quarterly export of the General Ledger to Excel (monthly if you have a lot of transactions).
We also strongly recommend storing these backups at a different location.
Here are some additional ways you can further protect your computer systems:
- Connect to a secure network
- Enable and configure a firewall
- Remove unnecessary software
- Use a secure web browser
- Update often