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5 Ways to Protect Your Invoicing Process from Data Breaches

Data security is a top concern for businesses—and for good reason. In fact, 43% of companies had a data breach in the past year, up 10% since the previous year.

Security breaches have a direct impact on profit. Target’s profit nearly fell 50% after their credit card breach and other organizations that were hacked also suffered greatly.

Now more than ever, CFO’s need to work hand-in-hand with their IT counterparts to ensure their organization has top-notch security.

However, only 27% of companies didn’t have a response plan or team in place to respond to these breaches, and only 30% of companies believe they are well-equipped to handle a breach.

When it comes to something as significant as invoicing, maintaining data control is vital to alleviating the risk of intruders. So what can you do to ensure data security for your billing?

abstract image of four blue locks and one red open lock with digital numbers in the background

1. Have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Back up your data. When the power goes down and your invoices cannot be accessed, how is your accounts receivable department prepared to get the bills out? Delays in invoicing can have an impact on both process efficiency and a company’s financial health.

In the event of technical malfunctions, a proper back-up plan will ensure you don’t lose important information. Be prepared to smoothly implement your plan in emergency situations by employing a well-trained disaster recovery team. Keep copies of customer and company data, so you can continue “business as usual” – even in a hectic environment.

2.Ensure compliance.
Comply. Both you and your customers want to operate in a secure environment. This is especially true in the 21st century, when many businesses are viewing and paying invoices online. Review the security standards outlined by institutions such as The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), and make sure you comply with their standards. If your invoice-to-cash process is outsourced, work with a company that is SSAE16 audited.

3.Enforce strict privacy policies.
Maintain a strict policy of respecting the confidentiality of your customers’ data. Mandate that all employees with private data access sign Confidentiality Agreements. Keeping A/R teams trained on the importance of Rights to Privacy will limit customer issues and sustain control of security procedures.

 4.Encrypt customer data.
Ask your IT team to encrypt all sensitive information and use extensive firewalls for electronic information. For paper bills and documents, shred any paper you print on behalf of your customers.

In addition to encryption and firewalls, take additional measures to protect sensitive credit card and ACH payment information. For example, when displaying private information to a customer or employee, protect card numbers and account numbers (replace numbers with X’s). Never store the Card Security Code number printed on the back of credit cards.

5.Ensure accurate bill delivery the first time.
Use advanced bar coding and scanning technology to ensure the correct bills are being distributed to the correct recipient with zero interruptions. This same bar coding can help you track each and every invoice from processing to delivery to your customers local post office.

Article by: Chrissy Werner, Sr. Marketing Manager

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