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How to Secure Your Business’ E-Invoices

E-Invoices are an innovative way for business to communicate electronically and get paid for their services. Utilizing this online platform, however, also comes with risks. If your e-invoices are not properly secured, they may be intercepted and tampered with by hackers. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your invoices and sure that they are delivered safely.

Why Do They Need to Be Secured?

There are a range of reasons that e-invoices need to be properly secured. E-invoices contain sensitive information about your company and the receiving company that you don’t want unauthorized third parties having access to. Phishing scams and tampering are just two of the activities that hackers may engage in if they gain access to your invoice. Phishing involves fraudulent emails that look authentic being sent out in an attempt to gain private information such as credit card or login details and passwords. If an email that claimed to be from your company was distributed with this content, it could severely damage your reputation and disrupt the operation of your business.

Tampering is another scam to be wary of. Hackers who intercept an e-invoice may change certain aspects, particularly amounts owed, to trick customers into paying large sums of money that they do not owe. Both of these scams must be avoided at all cost to protect your company’s reputation, financial information, and ensure the successful and accurate transfer of money. There are a variety of steps you can take to do this. You must be able to authenticate the invoice (from both a payer and payee end), protect it from tampering in transit, and ensure that the correct person has received it.

How Can You Secure Them?A group of business people pointing at a laptop as they secure their business e-invoices.

So what exactly can you do to guarantee that your e-invoices are sent and delivered safely? Being aware of the security measures available to you and what you should be doing to utilize these effectively is crucial. There are several stages of e-invoice processing and you need to have a plan in place to protect the content of the invoice each and every step of the way. Here are a few precautionary actions to consider implementing.

Secure Network

One of the best ways to ensure that your e-invoice is safe is to join a secure network such as PEPPOL. These networks issue their members with unique IDs with which to send and receive invoices. PEPPOL IDs, for example, consist of a chamber of commerce number, a VAT number, the companies bank account number and a government identification number to ensure that there is no confusion or miscommunication.

These IDs will help the receiver verify that the invoice is genuinely from your company. The international networks allow for companies and government bodies worldwide to securely send e-invoices as well as other sensitive documents.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are one of the most innovative inventions for ensuring the authenticity of an e-invoice. With many security features in place to guarantee the legitimacy of a signature, they are one of the most effective methods for protecting yourself online. To sign an e-invoice using a digital signature, you first need to get a digital certificate from a legitimate body such as a government organization or bank. The digital certificate will contain a private key which is 100% unique to you.

When an invoice is created, the mathematical algorithm will generate a unique numerical value for the invoice which is encrypted by the key. This value is the document’s digital signature and will stay with it, protecting it no matter where it is sent or stored.

The private key will be accompanied by a public key which is used by your customers to decrypt your invoice’s unique numerical value and verify that it is from you. It will also verify that the contents of the document have not been tampered with since it was sent.

SSL CertificateA woman pointing at a computer with an encrypted lock on it securing her business e-invoice.

The use of SSL certificates is another way for businesses to encrypt the data in their e-invoice. SSL certificates, or Secure Sockets Layer certificates, have become a must-have for any website or online platform that gathers sensitive information.

The certificate contains a public key that encrypts the data and a private key that deciphers it. Whenever data is being transferred via the internet, SSL certificates are essential for keeping out unauthorized third parties and preventing fraud.

Build Trust

The final thing to do when aiming to protect your e-invoices is to ensure that you are building a trusted network of businesses who are receiving and sending invoices. When you know and trust the businesses you work with, you will be able to identify any issues faster and verify that invoices that have been received are accurate.