Electronic Delivery of Confidential Information
Great care should be taken in selecting the method of electronic delivery to prevent creating a situation where there could be hacker access to the information and also to provide significant ease of use by the recipient.
Most of the delivery of confidential financial information is done via Web portals. Virtually all confidential financial information that falls into the wrong hands (hackers) occurs when the bad guys hack into a server that has that information on it.
The best way to protect confidential financial information is by direct delivery to the inbox of the recipient via email. Because of how email is delivered and received, it is virtually impossible to intercept (as opposed to U.S. Mail), because it is split up into multiple packets with each packet taking a different route to its end destination, where it is then reassembled. This is vastly superior to Web portals for ease of use and security. For the cat’s meow in security, email can also be password encrypted.
Managing electronic delivery through email is significantly easier for the employer and recipient. The employer can send email messages with Carbon Copies (Cc) and/or Blind Carbon Copies (Bcc), which allows for automatic distribution to multiple people in one pass. For example, through Cc or Bcc, the employer, accountant, and/or spouse can be sent a copy of the paystub and they can simply save the electronic file attached when they choose.
By using email, the employee can forego the added step of logging in through a web portal which requires a unique username and password.
The same premise of using email as the most secure means to deliver financial information or electronic letters carries forward through other business documents such as Financial Statements, Bank Reconciliations, Accounts Receivable Statements, Memo's to employees and schedule of Accounts Payable which can be sent electronically via PDF files.
There may be multiple business partners, investors, bankers, or others who need access to a business’s information. Through automated email messages containing PDF files (optionally password encrypted) as attachments, all can be simultaneously and securely emailed at one time. Having report delivery via email fully automated (requiring no human intervention) allows the delivery of these reports without any errors as to who the recipients are and what the reports contain.
Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology. Ken attended Oxford and Southern Illinois Universities and earned degrees in Accounting and Business Education, with a minor in photography. Ken has designed payroll and accounting software and systems since 1981, is a frequent presenter for national association CPE seminars, a contributor of editorial content for well-respected accounting publications, and speaks at state and national accounting professional events.Ken's blog postings provide readers with insight into how technology trends (i.e. Google, Microsoft, Apple, the FCC, Verizon, the Internet, Web Apps, Web security, etc.) will impact payroll and accounting professionals and business owners.