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Cybersecurity for accounting firm

Why should accounting firms prioritize cyber security?

If you are the 50% who believe that cyber-attacks are only targeted towards multibillion dollar companies than you are wrong. In fact 85% of MSPs reported Ransomware attacks against SMBs.

A CNBC report states that among small companies, accounting firms are the most targeted. Your firm can also be on the list of the hackers. Whilst adopting digital tools has helped accounting firms increase productivity and efficiencies, the dark side is that it has open up a web of cyber threats and concerns. It’s time for accounting firms to increase their security measures and get ready to tackle the advanced technology and upcoming cyber threats.

Cybercriminals have become sophisticated with their innovative ways to attack companies no matter how secure an accounting firm might be. However like any small business, accounting firms also have weak entry points which are open for hackers to penetrate into.

If your firm doesn’t have proper security measures in place, then you are putting your business at risk of being hit by cybercriminals.  To show you the reality, let’s take a look at the real cost a data breach would have on your business as a result of a cyber-attack.

  • Threat of legal repercussions

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of customers would be likely to end their relationship with a company if financial or sensitive information was stolen. 94% would take, or would consider taking, legal action against any of the parties involved in exposing their personal information

  • Damage to reputation

In today’s digital world news travel at lightning speed, if your firm suffers a data breach your reputation can be hampered among your clients and prospects.  Your existing customers can share negative news among their reference and stop customers from contacting you for their financial help.

Data breach can also have a negative impact on profits and business operations.

  • Financial loss

DID YOU KNOW 43% of Small Businesses paid between $10,000- $50,000 to Ransomware attackers (Source: Dark Reading).

Most cybercriminals plan attacks to export money out of companies. Sadly, small businesses are not immune to these attacks, and are already readily available to give into the demands.
Data breach is expensive and may result in bankruptcy in many cases.

Even if your firm manages to get back the data, the cost for cleaning up the mess is never ending.

  • Loss of data due to Insiders

Anyone from your organisation can be a risk to your firm. For instance a malicious employee exchanging company data to one of your competitor or disgruntle staff sharing sensitive information for personal benefits.

If the organisation doesn’t have any control over the employee’s activity, it can result in loss of their high valve accounting assets

  • Loss of clients financial identity

Accountants and tax professionals are responsible for their clients’ financial information, and ensuring that it is secure. However, with that burden comes the challenge of managing unstructured data which ultimately disrupts productivity?

It is their duty to understand the value of their role in keeping their clients’ data secure.

So what can you do to secure your accounting firm?

To ensure your accounting business is protected against cyber-attacks, you need to focus on technology, policies and people.

  • Backup all business data to neutralise the success, frequently save company data, and keep copies of it, especially on the cloud.
  • Enforce regular system updates as older IT systems offer a good opportunity to implement Ransomware.
  • Regularly update Operating systems as older versions are also vulnerable to attacks.
  • Use Cloud services to retain previous versions of files, and therefore allowing you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form
  • Encrypt files so even if cybercriminals  gets hold of it, it becomes useless to them
  • Activate Firewalls and Anti-virus software and keep them up to date.
  • Automatically isolate infected systems if they have been hit by a cyber-attack so it can be cleaned up properly.
  • Strong passwords and Multi-factor authentication policy to keep remote management and file sharing tools safe from brute force attacks.
  • Data privilege rights policy to limit the number of people having access to data outside of office environment.
  • Internet and Wi-Fi policy which covers use of VPN services to keep connections anonymous so cybercriminals cannot intercept and see what you are doing.
  • Remote working policies to prevent data from being accessed from unauthorized IP addresses, and locations.
  • Implement Security Awareness Training to educate employees on cyber-attacks and how to defend them.

So if you value your business, your reputation and your clients trust then it’s time to take action. The only way to truly combat and prevent your business from cyber threats is to secure the data from the moment it is created.

Don’t wait for the threats to attack your business. Get your action plan today. Contact our data security experts for your own Customised Prevention Plan.

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