The right MSP is crucial to the survival of your accounting business, because Canadian law has compliance standards that involve the use of technology.
You are an accounting firm with rules and regulations that must be followed. Those requirements include securing your clients’ data and proper storage of client information. With technology becoming a part of every accounting practice, you are looking to Managed IT Service Providers (MSP) to help monitor and maintain the company network. As an accounting firm, you are looking for more than an IT provider; you are looking for an IT partner. You need a provider who understands the needs of accounting firms in Canada and has the technical knowledge and expertise to deliver quality IT services.
Because of a unique client relationship, you need an MSP that can deliver mission-critical services such as 100% uptime and comprehensive cybersecurity. You need an IT partner that understands your unique compliance requirements.
There is some concern that because of the rapid growth of the managed services sector that not all MSPs are equal. Adam Stern of Infinitely Virtual states that the rapid growth in MSPs “masks a backstory that isn’t always sympathetic to the needs and goals of many small and midsize businesses. I believe what we’re witnessing is a market that appears to be growing too fast for its own good .”
That’s why it is essential for accounting firms to perform their due diligence when selecting an IT service provider.
It’s tax season. Suddenly your network goes down because a device failed. It’s going to take 24 hours to get a replacement. What do you do? No one wants to be in that position. MSPs that offer proactive maintenance identify possible equipment failures before they impact network performance. The same approach applies to software applications. A proactive MSP ensures that all software is up to date on its updates and patches. Does your MSP offer proactive maintenance? If so, what is included? Be sure to ask these questions before you select an MSP.
Small businesses and professional services firms are two primary targets for today’s hackers. Cybercriminals focus on small businesses because they are ill-prepared for a cyberattack. Most companies feel they are too small to be a target; yet, 43% of all cyberattacks in 2018 were against small businesses.
Ransomware attacks may seem old hat, but they continue to increase in frequency and sophistication. The latest ransomware targets your system backups and servers first, making it impossible to restore your system unless you have an offsite backup. Be sure to discuss onsite and offsite backups with your MSP to ensure you can restore your system in case of a ransomware attack.
Accounting firms are a prime target for a Business Email Compromise (BEC) since some firms perform electronic transfers. In a BEC attack, a cybercriminal poses as a legitimate client or vendor who requests an account change for a wire transfer. Of course, the account is bogus, and the hackers walk away with the money. Because electronic transfers are immediate, it is unlikely that the funds will be recovered. If you think you can’t be fooled by a BEC attack, think again. The largest BEC attack was for $100 million involving Google and Facebook. Finding an MSP that can provide comprehensive cybersecurity is crucial to business survival.
Protecting you against cyberattacks is only part of the data security requirements. An accounting firm has strict compliance guidelines for securing client data. The right MSP can help with system backups and a disaster recovery plan that meets industry guidelines. An IT provider can also provide industry-specific reports that adhere to compliance standards. As an accounting firm, your responsibility for data security is long term. Be sure to consider the viability of your MSP. What happens to your data if an MSP goes out of business?
Finding the right MSP for your accounting firm comes down to trust. After performing your due diligence, ask yourself if you can trust your MSP to help grow your accounting practice. Contact us for an MSP you can trust.
December 15, 2019
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