October is Cybersecurity Month. This Cybersecurity Month, it’s time to take an inventory of the features of the software used in your accounting firm that offer digital protection. While it’s easy to slack on security features because you think your firm is too small for a hacker to target, the opposite is true. 43% of cyber attacks are on small businesses because hackers know they have weaker security systems in place.
Here’s the thing about cybersecurity: it isn’t about finding one solution. It’s about numerous tactics that all work together to create a more secure ecosystem for your data and hardware. Among other things, you need safe passwords, staff training to recognize phishing attacks, multifactor authentication, updated software, and secure ways to share information.
The last tactic doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Accountants need to be able to send and receive sensitive data when working on a client’s taxes in a way that protects client confidentiality and your business from malware, supply chain attacks, social engineering threats, fraud, and other risks. Sharing sensitive data can be made safer when you use popular tools, but not every file-sharing and e-signature system is the same.
Our advice: drop the generic solutions and look for software that implements these critical security features. Let’s discuss!
7 critical security features for secure file sharing and e-signature
Don’t let your clients’ sensitive information fall into the wrong hands. Make sure you use secure file sharing and e-signature software with these seven critical features.
1. End-to-end encryption
Emails are the riskiest way to share sensitive information. Even if you secure your server, once you hit “send” on an email, it’s vulnerable to hackers.
That’s why it’s so important to share files via services using end-to-end encryption.
End-to-end encryption means that before your information is sent, it’s encrypted on your server. It stays encrypted while it’s being sent to the recipient’s system. Only the recipient can then unencrypt the information and read it. No third parties can access the information as it’s traveling to its destination.
2. Granular permissions
Even within your accounting firm, not every team member should have access to every document.
Only accountants working on the specific account should be able to read a client’s personal information. This is where secure file-sharing tools come in handy.
When you use secure file sharing in tandem with your document management software, you can implement granular permissions that dictate who can share the files with the client or relevant team members. These granular permissions prevent someone who doesn’t work with the client from accidentally opening the file and exposing sensitive data. You can even keep whole folders secure with granular permissions.
3. Sharing large files
Large files can be a pain to share. Because they take a long time to transmit, it’s easy for them to become corrupted during the file-sharing process.
That’s why, even if your large files don’t contain sensitive data, it’s better to use a secure file-sharing platform. Secure file sharing can handle large files without exposing them to security risks. On the other hand, if your large files do have sensitive information in them, secure file sharing keeps it protected during the vulnerable uploading and sending processes.
4. Legally binding signatures
From a cybersecurity standpoint, you need to ensure that all documents were actually signed by your client, and not by a fraudulent source. Some people like to use Apple’s signature feature in Preview to sign documents, but it isn’t legally binding or secure. As an accountant, you need tax documents and other sensitive paperwork to be permissible in court (even though you hope it doesn’t come to that).
Implement e-signature software that follows the guidelines outlined in the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). These include:
- The signer’s identity can be confirmed or authenticated using a digital marker, such as an IP address
- The parameters of the transaction are communicated and the signer undeniably intended to undergo the method of signing
- The signature associated with the document is verifiable and has evidentiary documentation
5. Bank-level security
When you’re dealing with a client’s financial information, consider the fact that you have the same information that their bank does. So why wouldn’t you be looking for tools that provide you with the same level of security?
Many secure file-sharing and e-signature platforms offer this high degree of security for their users. For example, Mango offers bank-level protection with encryption protocols developed by the NSA. They use the SHA-256 encryption algorithm to protect data transfers between your computer and the server, and documents are stored behind a certified firewall and encrypted when in their cloud.
6. Expiring access
If you don’t want a client to have access to a signed document indefinitely, use expiring access deadlines. This means they can open a secure document and sign it within a brief window of time. If you have a client who frequently forgets to sign, this can encourage them to sign within a reasonable amount of time. It also protects the documents from being viewed for longer than a set period.
Secure your file sharing and e-signature with Mango Practice Management
Mango’s secure file sharing and e-signature tools were made by accountants, for accountants, so they know exactly what you need to protect your clients’ sensitive information.
Mango offers robust security features, including:
- The bank-level SHA-256 encryption algorithm
- Secure file sharing straight from your email
- Optional client portal for additional password protection
- Unlimited secure storage space and file size
- Legally-binding e-signatures with a digital audit trail
- Knowledge-Based Authentication to verify signer identity
- SSL-encrypted payments in our client portal
Plus, Mango’s secure file sharing and e-signature are just one part of Mango’s robust practice management system. Get every piece of software you need in one place, so you don’t have to waste time jumping between a bunch of different programs.
Boost your cybersecurity with help from the expert accountants at Mango—schedule a demo with us today.
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