Recently, I had requested bank account numbers and bank routing numbers from a few companies with whom we have just begun doing business. I needed to get these companies set up for on line payments since all of our corporate banking is conducted electronically.
I made my request to accountants, chief financial officers and the like. I got the information I needed but what surprised me about receiving this data was that each person emailed the information to me in plain text with no encryption.
Employees with responsibility for corporate financial data have some of the most sensitive company information at their fingertips every day. Often, I think we neglect to recognize the potential for damage if this data got into the wrong hands. Of course, measures are in place within our office environments and on our computer networks, but security for email is often forgotten.
Although my financial counterparts may not use encryption every day, I would encourage them to adopt a method and learn to use it. If your primary responsibilities focus on accounting in your organization, I urge you to inquire with your technical support staff about an encryption method and then use it whenever you transmit sensitive data through email. If your IT department does not have an accepted encryption method, you can begin to research some common options by reviewing PGP, GPG or the encryption built into Win Zip (just make sure you use strong passwords).
Then you will be doing your part in maintaining your company’s confidential data whenever it travels over the Internet!