Defending Your AccountMate Against Ransomware

In AccountMate SQL, AccountMate SQL/Express by Kevin Stroud

Dear AccountMate Clients,

While ransomware style viruses, that deny you access to your data unless/until you pay, have been around for decades – the rise of digital currency like Bitcoin has made them more appealing to extortionists in the  last few years and they’re now one of the major technology business disruptors.

Once upon a time, for an infection to get into your network someone had to be lured into opening an e-mail attachment or downloading a malicious program – and we’ve had numerous clients fall victim to these “CryptoLocker” attacks over the last several years.

However the recent “WannaCry” virus exploited a flaw in the operating system to gain entry, so no end-user activity at all was required – and, again, we’ve had clients hit…

While we’re not IT network-support people here, we do have relevant suggestions on how to defend your AccountMate system against the ever evolving ransomware threats:

  1. Run current versions of your software – and install updates as they’re released!  Ransomware is now exploiting system access flaws which have since been patched.  As an example, the point-of-entry for WannaCry had been patched in Windows 10, so those systems were immune from infection.  However Windows XP systems and Windows Vista/7/8 systems which had not been updated were ripe for the taking.  So for REALLY old systems then there wasn’t even a patch, systems several years old still needed to be updated, and only very recent systems were natively protected in this case.  There are similar issues in Microsoft SQL Server which directly impact you!  Are you running AccountMate/SQL V8.2, or earlier?  Then you’re, at minimum, incompatible with Microsoft SQL Server past the “2008” version – for which mainstream Microsoft support ended nearly three years ago – and NOW is the time to get current to avoid being a victim of what evil lurks in the hearts of men…
  2. Have regular automatic backups with off-site storage – and confirm they’re working!  Often, such as with WannaCry, even if the ransom is paid the files aren’t recovered – so there literally IS no solution short of restoring from backup.  If your backups aren’t current then you’ve lost days/weeks/months of business information that you’ll never recreate 100% correctly.  If your backups are on the system that’s been compromised, then the backups themselves are often encrypted and thus inaccessible to be restored from.  The keys to a complete AccountMate backup system includes:
    1. Regular, automated, FULL backup – at least nightly – of both the data and front-end financial management programs – which retains several “versions” of the backup as you might not immediately recognize some problems.
    2. Off-site rotation of the backup media or use of a cloud storage location – at least weekly – to outside the physical location of your office (think “in the event of a fire”).
    3. Occasional verification that the backup is “restorable” – at least every other month – which is a great opportunity to update your AccountMate “test company”.

So please, Please, PLEASE… get/keep your systems up to date and review your backup procedures as the ransomware threat certainly isn’t going away any time soon and it’s results can be catastrophic…

Finally, while not a substitute for an automated backup, you might be interested in our NexSQLBack™ utility – which is end-user friendly tool for saving a snapshot of your data just prior to performing your month-end closing, or starting a physical inventory count, etc.

Regards,

Kevin E. Stroud
NexLAN, LLC
https://nexlan.com


Integrated Level 3 Credit Card Processing

I made a pretty big deal in last month’s NexLAN/AccountMate NewsLine regarding the newly implemented credit card processing  interface providing “Level 3” functionality – and we’ve had dozens of clients already jump aboard.

Why?  For the simple reason that the processing rate for Business credit cards is typically 2.5% to 2.8% – but with “Level 3” data provided (which is basically “line item detail”), that processing rate can fall as low as 1.75%.  The actual amount and percentage you would save depends on how many of the credit card payments you process are “business cards”, but we’re seeing a decrease in credit card transaction fees of between 10% and 25% across the board – with several clients saving in excess of $50,000/year.  Cash in their pocket!

There’s only ONE AccountMate-integrated credit card processing solution that provides this level of detail – and we have it.  So if you’re interested to see how much you would save, hit me with copies of the most recent two or three months of your current credit card processing statement.  The analysis is free, and the offer that I’ll buy you a lobster dinner (actually overnight live lobsters to you) if this doesn’t save you money still stands.


Data Wizard Update for AccountMate/SQL V10

A few months ago I wrote about how Sometimes It’s The Little Things of having key fields of customer, vendor or item numbers not to your liking.  The solution is the FREE “AccountMate Data Wizard” which allows you to change these key fields – either one at a time, or even en masse.

With the release of the latest version of The Data Wizard, it also now allows changing of employee numbers in the Payroll module.

And did I mention it’s free?!


Core Product Training in June

AccountMate regularly offers the Core Product Training class at their offices in Petaluma, California.  These are always HIGHLY rated by attendees, with the next one scheduled for Wednesday-Friday, June 7-9.

The three days of classroom training is applicable to both first-time and existing AccountMate users – and don’t forget that if you have an active Lifecycle Maintenance Plan, it includes one training seat per year.

Contact us for additional information and see the course description here.


AccountMate/SQL V10 Sample Reports

If you’re running the AccountMate SQL or SQL/Express platform and on the Lifecycle Maintenance plan, then you have the option of upgrading to the latest version.

While we’re happy to provide the “What’s New?” document, some people like to see things firsthand – so be sure the check out the AccountMate/SQL V10 Sample Reports here – and note that new and enhanced reports are tagged as such so you can easily identify them.


Tech Note: Understanding Standard Cost Methods

AccountMate/SQL supports three variations of standard cost inventory valuation: Standard, Standard with Specific ID, and Standard with S/N.

The following Tech Note discusses how to set up inventory items to use these methods, when cost variances are realized, and the transactions that give rise to these variances.  The document also lists the changes in existing functions and reports as related to implementing the standard cost feature.

Article # 1335: Understanding Standard Cost Methods in AccountMate


Tech Note: Understanding the Positive Pay Feature

More and more clients are taking advantage of AccountMate’s Positive Pay Features in the Bank Reconciliation module to prevent corporate check fraud.

The following Tech Note has been updated to explain how the process works, and how easy it is to implement.

Article #1246: Understanding the Positive Pay Feature


Technical Tips

Versions: AM10 for SQL and Express
                AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
                AM8 for SQL, Express, and LAN
                AM7 for LAN

Module: PR 

Q: An employee’s deduction from several payroll transactions is link to an Accounts Payable vendor. I am now in the process of creating an AP invoice for the deduction liability. What report should I use to determine the total amount to be remitted to the vendor?     

A: Generate the Deduction Liability Report; this report provides information about the deduction liability from paid paid employee transactions. The report displays the check number, vendor assigned to the deduction record, vendor’s bank routing and account number, and deduction amount.

■ ■ ■

Version: AM10 for SQL and Express 

Modules: AR, SO, IC, PC 

TIP: In AccountMate 10.1 for SQL/Express you can now configure AccountMate to use multi-level pricing based on both price codes and order quantity breaks. With this new multi-level pricing combination, you can configure multiple quantity levels for the same price code in the Inventory Multi-Level Price Maintenance window. In previous AccountMate versions you can only configure multi-level pricing either by price codes or by order quantity breaks.

Note: The new multi-level pricing combination is available if the Price Control module is activated.


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