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Why it’s Time for Accounting Firms to Prioritize Cyber-Security

by blindertech
Why it's time for accounting businesses to prioritize cyber-security

Accounting firms are essential to the economic health of our country.

They manage the financial data of various businesses and assist them with tax preparation.

With such a critical role in our economy and access to so much data, accounting firms are prime targets for cyberattacks, even more so during these trying times.

As a result, accounting firms’ cybersecurity practices need to strengthen.

Cybersecurity has evolved into a necessary practice for businesses of all sizes, particularly in the accounting industry.

As cyberattacks increase in frequency, hackers recognize that vulnerable systems containing critical financial information can become easy targets.

Accounting cybersecurity practices ensure that sensitive data is protected, not only for your firm’s compliance purposes but also for the safety of your clients.

Contents

Why should Cybersecurity be a priority in accounting? 

The top accounting firm Cybersecurity risks

  • Accounting Business is Vulnerable
  • Financial Loss
  • Risk to Clients
  • A threat to your business reputation

Best practises for Cybersecurity in accounting firms

  • Network Architecture
  • Backups
  • Email security
  • Passwords and authentication
  • Encryption
  • Patch Management
  • Access controls
  • Audits
  • Employee Training

Conclusion

Why should Cybersecurity be a priority in accounting?

Are you not upset enough by the news headlines about cyberattacks sweeping the country?

Simply because these are multibillion-dollar corporations does not ensure the safety of your accounting firm.

While those corporations are more vulnerable, your accounting firm is also a prime target for attackers.

Accounting firms are the most frequently targeted ones. As such, it is wise to maintain constant surveillance.

Organizations’ productivity has increased as a result of technological advancement. Still, the probability of new threats and concerns has increased as well.

The risks associated with failing to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in accounting on a given platform are significant.

Accounting firms are at risk of losing revenue, clients, and reputation without robust protections.

A cyberattack on a business can result in significant downtime and costly expenses associated with notifying clients, analysing the attack, attempting to fix the business, and paying for tracking.

A dedication to accounting cybersecurity is an intelligent choice that will ensure the security and protection of data, systems, and sensitive documents.

As a result, accounting firms’ security parameters must evolve to fight technologically advanced and novel attack methods.

The top accounting firm Cybersecurity risks

Accounting Business is Vulnerable

Hacking techniques are constantly evolving as hackers develop new attack vectors.

Regardless of how secure your accounting firm is, the possibility of a data breach will always exist. 

A new method of breaching your firm’s security system may emerge at any time.

Accounting firms must constantly monitor and upgrade their defence systems by the latest cybersecurity trends and standards.

Financial Loss

The majority of cyberattacks intends to withdraw funds. These refer to as ransomware attacks.

A data breach is costly; it can result in significant financial losses, which may force your business into bankruptcy or have other dire consequences.

Additionally, your income will suffer significantly due to your clients’ loss of trust. You will have difficulty acquiring new customers.

Even if you successfully defend your data, cleaning up the mess can cause significant financial instability.

Risk to Clients

Financial loss is only one of the consequences of a breached security system. 

If accounting firms cannot ensure the security of their client’s information, serious consequences may follow.

Additionally, small accounting firms may go bankrupt if their data security breach. 

Accounting firms and CPAs have access to confidential financial information. They must appreciate the critical nature of their role in safeguarding their clients’ data. 

They should take all necessary precautions and put them into effect to ensure the safety of their clients.

A threat to your business reputation

In today’s digital world, where a piece of meaningless news can quickly spread across continents, your company’s reputation should never compromise.

Customers can quickly share any bad news or information about a data breach.

It will have a damaging impression on your profits and may also have a long-term effect.

As a result, you need to adhere to the most current cybersecurity standards.

Best practises for Cybersecurity in accounting firms.

Network Architecture

Your business networks serve as a lifeline for devices, people, and data.

Your network architecture must be configured, coordinated, and connected so that it satisfies both security and operability requirements.

Continuously monitoring activity and quickly detecting intrusions helps mitigate the risk and impact of a cyberattack.

Backups

It would help if you established a backup strategy for your data, operating system, and applications.

This strategy is advisable in a cyberattack and if a natural disaster disrupts physical locations or damages servers.

A redundant backup strategy ensures that data and information are securely stored and backed up regularly in the cloud.

In a cyber incident or other incidents, virtualization enables backups to access in minutes.

Your accounting firm, particularly during tax season, requires a tested backup strategy if data is compromised.

Backups performed regularly also ensure that little data lose in the event of an incident.

Email security

Email is being used more and more for business purposes.

However, email is a primary vector for phishing attacks, in which attackers send a bogus email, frequently containing an urgent request for action.

When an unaware reader clicks on a link or an attached file, they can initiate a cyberattack by embedding files in devices. Thus, networks can activate later to steal data or shut down systems.

To safeguard email, ensure that your IT team educates employees and employs anti-malware, anti-phishing software to block email from reaching inboxes.

Passwords and authentication

Your accounting firm’s password policies should be robust.

Need employees to change their passwords regularly and enforce strong passwords that include numbers, special characters, and upper and lowercase letters.

It is critical to adhere to guidelines regarding length and complexity.

Multi-factor authentication is also critical, as it requires a user to authenticate in more than one way before they can access systems, applications, websites, and emails.

Multi-factor authentication typically entails submitting a known factor, such as a password, and an unknown factor, such as a system-generated passcode, Captcha, or a third-party verification application.

When multiple factors use, hackers, for example, find it much more challenging to gain access to your information systems using stolen passwords alone.

Encryption

Encryption protects data from external forces.

Typically, accounting firms prioritize data encryption during transit, such as using encrypted email systems.

However, data should be encrypted while in transit, as well as while being stored in systems or on devices.

Patch Management

Whether you use internal IT staff or a third-party provider, ensure that your software and hardware are patch and update preferably automatically.

Updates are frequently released to address security vulnerabilities, and failing to apply patches can leave your business vulnerable.

 

Access controls

Ascertain that your access management strategy is comprehensive and well-planned. Provide access to systems and information only to those who require it due to their role, group, or job title.

Ascertain that access guidelines address what to do when an employee leaves the organization.

Audits

You should invest in third-party technology auditing in the same way that you would recommend for your clients’ books.

Audits can reveal vulnerabilities, mainly as new technologies are implemented. Additionally, penetration testing identifies areas of exposure.

Employee Training

Your first list of defence is your employees.

Ascertain that they understand how to identify and report IT security issues, thereby protecting your accounting firm against potential attacks.

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Conclusion

To protect your accounting business from cyberattacks, each employee must play a role.

Each employee should be aware of the threat and understand the necessary safeguards against such attacks.

You can raise employee awareness of Cybersecurity and best practices, hire a security architect, develop a response strategy, and leverage the cloud to improve data security.

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