Cybersecurity Solutions for Your Accounting Firm
How safe do you think your accounting firm is from a cyberattack? The truth is you are not that safe. With the cases of cyberattacks continually rising and attacks becoming more sophisticated, it’s no longer a matter of if your firm will become a target of these attacks, but when. A study by the University of Maryland reports that hacker attacks take place every 39 seconds, leading to 2244 times a day.
In recent years, small and mid-sized accounting firms have often become deliberate and primary targets for hackers. This is because they are keepers of sensitive personal and financial information, and often act as gateways for larger corporations. They also lack the sophisticated cybersecurity infrastructure that larger firms have.
As accounting firms adopt remote working and cloud computing, security needs to become more critical than ever. Although mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets offer convenience in the workplace, cybersecurity risks continue to increase with these devices. It is, therefore, crucial for accountants to think about cybersecurity in new ways.
What Forms of Cyberthreats Do Accounting Firms Face?
The most significant forms of security threats to accounting firms are phishing, data leaks, and ransomware.
- Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware is a type of malware designed to take networks, computers, files, and sensitive data hostage by encrypting files and blocking owners’ access. Once data is encrypted, the attacker will demand payment to restore access to files. Typically, users are unaware that malware has infected their systems until they receive the ransom request.
- Phishing: Most ransomware is delivered via phishing schemes, often deployed via emails containing malware hidden in seemingly innocent file attachments. Often these emails look official as if they come from an authoritative source.
- Data Leakage: This is the unauthorized transmission of data from within an organization to an external party. The data is transferred electronically or physically. The perpetrator is usually an employee.
What Are The Impacts of Cyberattacks on Accounting Firms?
- Financial loss: Most cybercriminals plan attacks to extort money out of accounting firms. Recovering from a cyberattack is more expensive than preventing one. According to the 2020 PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, the total cost of fraud reported among 5000 respondents amounts to US$42 billion in 2019 alone, with 13% of companies that experienced fraud having lost over USD$50 million. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.
- Damage to Your Firm-Client Relationship: Having a sense of data security by your clients is crucial. If they feel that you are unable to guarantee this safety, they will turn to other firms. A recent IBM report shows that firms are more likely to lose clients to a competitor if they experience a data breach.
- Legal Repercussions: Other than ending their relationship with the firm, some clients will go ahead and take legal action. According to a report, 94% of clients would consider taking or would take legal action against the firm involved in exposing their personal information.
How Can You Protect Your Firm From Cyberattacks?
The following are cybersecurity measures that you should implement to protect your firm from cyberattacks:
- Develop a Cybersecurity Response Plan: A response plan is a well documented written plan with distinct phases that will help you deal with a cybersecurity incident.
- Implement Cybersecurity Awareness Training: Cybersecurity awareness training increases your employees’ awareness levels and gives them the practical skills needed to better protect your business from the dangers of data breaches, network attacks, and ransomware threats.
- Installation of Security Software: Security software such as antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs help detect and remove malicious programs.
- Secure Mobile Devices: Protecting these devices entails encryption, password protection, and enabling the ‘wiping’ option.
- Adopt Cloud-based Computing Solutions: Cloud security consists of technologies that work together to protect cloud-based systems, data, and infrastructure.
- Regularly Back Up Your Data: Frequently back-up your data on an external hard-drive or the cloud to ensure that your information is stored safely.
- Implement Access Control and Authorization Protocols: Access control and authorization methods will guarantee that users are who they say they are and have the appropriate authority to access company data.
- Implement a Firewall: Using a firewall helps you establish a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from external sources to block malicious traffic.
Without proper security precautions, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll get attacked. As attacks get ever more sophisticated, so should your security measures.
Are You Looking For a Reliable Cybersecurity Solutions Provider?
Your firm needs reliable, rigid, and affordable cybersecurity solutions to keep your business running and minimize disruptions.
At Compunet Info Tech, we offer years of expertise and experience in providing businesses in Vancouver with reliable and customized cybersecurity solutions.
Consult with us today to discover how we can help you keep your firm’s network and data safe.