New Data Encryption Standards:

How to comply with new data security standards.
What is Mass. Data Encryption Law 201 CMR 17.00?
Does CheckWriter help with compliance?

Arizona was the first state to enact a data security law regarding transmission of information outside the company's network, but now Massachusetts has passed the Massachusetts Data Encryption Law 201 CMR 17.00.

What is this law in a nutshell?:
It states that all 'sensitive' information stored on a laptop, or in an environment where employees, or anyone else, will have access, must be secured with a minimum of a password protection using at least 7 characters.

Failure to comply can result in fines of $5,000 per breach.  This means if you have a copy of an older CheckWriter where the database does not have a password protection, or if you don't use your password protection and you have a version that does support it, you are liable for the information if it is stolen.

Liability Example:

Lets say you have CheckWriter 5.1 or older, with no password protection on your PC at your home and you have 250 clients in your database.

Next, your daughter's boyfriend opens CheckWriter with no password when he is using your machine to do homework.  Then he copies the data to a thumb drive and brings it to school the next day to sell it to his brother's friend for $100.

Next, the data is used to compromise one or more client's account information and the kid is caught by the police with the thumb drive containing unsecured data that was obtained from your machine.

Next, the assistant district attorney will then add up how many records were in your database, (250), and multiply this, "number of violations" by $5,000, to get the fine of $1,250,000.000 ($1.25M).

This example can apply to a disgruntled employee, a remote support contractor, an "IT guy", the DSL service tech, cleaning staff, or anyone else that has access to the PC with CheckWriter installed.

Benefits to using 7.1 with password protection and encrypted backup:
Comply with local, state and federal laws that are hitting the books.  Be sure your software is up to date and you use a password with at least 7 characters to protect your data.

If you have multiple users, be sure to upgrade to the Network Edition which allows individual lock out functions for sensitive data as required in the new Data Security Laws.  Here are the Massachusetts requirements.  This does not just apply if you are in Massachusetts, but if you have the records of anyone from Massachusetts.

17.04:  Computer System Security Requirements

Every person that owns, licenses, stores or maintains personal information about a resident of the Commonwealth and electronically stores or transmits such information shall include in its written, comprehensive information security program the establishment and maintenance of a security system covering its computers, including any wireless system, that, at a minimum, shall have the following elements:

(1)        Secure user authentication protocols including:

(i)         control of user IDs and other identifiers;
(ii)        a secure method of assigning and selecting passwords consisting of at least seven letters and numbers;
(iii)       control of data security passwords to ensure that such passwords are kept at a location separate from that of the data to which such passwords permit access;
(iv)       restricting access to active users and active user accounts only; and
(v)        blocking access to user identification after multiple unsuccessful attempts to gain access or the limitation placed on access for the particular system;

(2)        Secure access control measures that:

(i)         restrict access to records and files containing personal information to those who need such information to perform their job duties; and
(ii)        assign a unique identification plus a password, which is not vendor supplied, to each person with computer access;

CheckWriter Software Upgrade:
CheckWriter software can help you to comply with these standards and regulations if you upgrade to the new 7.1 version.  The Network Edition can help to assign multiple user logins with separate permissions.  The Single User Version will allow full compliance with current and proposed laws.

Click the upgrade link at the top of the page to take full advantage of the protections provided by the 7.1 version.  It could save you millions in fines.

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