“Do not underestimate the value of the data you hold”, comes a warning from the ATO, along with a list of things businesses can do to help secure sensitive information.
“If accessed by the wrong people, information about your staff or clients can be used to commit fraud in their names, and pose a threat to your credibility,” the Tax Office said in a recent note.
“If your data is lost or compromised, it can be very difficult and costly to recover.”
It listed the following points as steps that leaders and owners of all businesses, regardless of size, should be taking to secure important data:
- Ensure your passwords are strong and secure, and use multi-factor authentication where possible. Regularly change passwords, and do not share them.
- Remove system access from people who no longer need it, and limit access to only those needed to do their role.
- Ensure all devices have the latest available security updates and run weekly anti-virus and malware scans.
- Do not use USB or external hard drives from unfamiliar sources.
- Use a spam filter on your email account and do not open any unsolicited messages. Be wary of downloading attachments or opening links in emails you have received, even if they’re from a person you know.
- Do not download programs or open attachments unless you know the program is legitimate.
- Secure your wireless network and be careful when using public wireless networks. Avoid transacting online where you are using public or complimentary Wi-Fi.
- Be vigilant about what you share on social media — try to keep personal information private and be aware of who you’re interacting with.
- Monitor your accounts for unusual activity or transactions.
- Use a PO Box, or ensure your mail is secure.
- Do not leave your information unattended. Secure your electronic devices.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
Ask the Experts: Does automation stack up financially?
By Christopher Overton
Opinion: How bad do things have to get?!
By Adam Zuchetti
Business lessons from the All Blacks
By Steve Stanley