Cybersecurity Is A Top Concern For CPAs
Financial advisors like bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs are top targets for cybercriminals today. It’s important to understand the IT security obstacles that you face when it comes to using technology. If your IT isn’t totally secure, you won’t be compliant with standards set by regulatory bodies; and your clients’ confidential information will be at risk. This is enough to keep may CPAs awake at night.
Cybersecurity Is Vital
Everyone knows how vital cybersecurity is. They say that knowing is half the battle, but it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t follow through on the other half, right?
Maybe you’ve tried your hand at implementing effective cybersecurity measures at your accounting firm, and it didn’t go so well. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve never bothered, but have always been a little stressed by the likely possibility that sooner or later a security breach will occur.
You can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity. Data breaches are increasing exponentially. Cyber mafias have set up in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC. They even operate from legitimate-looking offices. Hackers are no longer kids in their parents’ basements working on a few computers. Cybercrime is an international and sophisticated business with cartels operating around the world.
Criminals have many ways to steal your data:
- Internet Exploits: Your employees use connected devices to interact with, track, monitor, and simplify just about every area of their work and personal lives. However, these technologies also provide access to sensitive, confidential information, and present a wide variety of new security issues for attackers to exploit.
- Third-Party Attacks: Cybercriminals have learned that contractors and other third-party providers aren’t as secure as large vendors. Lower security provides a pathway into otherwise-secure networks. Examine who can connect to your network and access confidential information, even if you believe appropriate security measures are in place.
- Social Media Attacks: Social media presents two primary security headaches:
- A website you visit or service you use can be infected with malware that spreads until your network is ripe for a data breach. Malicious social media content is expected to grow 400 percent as attackers continue to distribute their malware and steal client data.
- A determined hacker or team can scrape social media sites to assemble a surprising amount of confidential data very quickly. This data can be used to social engineer an attack.
- Social Engineering Attacks: Human nature is easily the weakest link in any security chain. Was that really a utility company employee you held the door for this morning? Are your office painters propping open a secure door to make their task easier? Did your receptionist just give all of your and her passwords to someone who called claiming to be from tech support on another floor? Will your colleague’s curiosity cause him to insert the USB key he “found” in the parking lot into his computer?
- Mobile Malware Threats: Security experts have been warning us about mobile malware threats for a long time, and people have grown immune to these warnings. Mobile device use is increasing, as is the sophistication of attacks. At the risk of being the boy who cried, “Wolf,” every year, a major mobile malware attack is now more likely to occur. Attackers typically select the greatest number of potential victims. So, they will target mobile devices, specifically Android and jailbroken iOS devices.
- Sophisticated DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks don’t directly steal your information. Instead, they overwhelm your site or service with so much traffic that it prevents legitimate users from connecting. These attacks have evolved beyond simple flooding of traffic. They probe and then morph, based on the defenses in place on your network. Such advanced and sophisticated attacks can seriously impair your accounting firm’s operations.
What Should You Do?
You must deal with IT security in a proactive manner. This means working with an IT services company that will outfit you with a comprehensive range of cybersecurity solutions such as:
- Managed antivirus, managed anti-spam, and patch management to ensure you have up-to-date software to protect against malware, hacking and other digital threats.
- Active monitoring of your IT endpoints around-the-clock to detect and resolve issues immediately before they result in costly disruption or downtime.
- Risk Assessments to identify and eliminate gaps in your security.
- Cloud Security to ensure your data is as secure as it is accessible via user-friendly cloud solutions.
Your data is valuable, and your accounting firm is a target. You need the expertise of an IT service company that stays up to date on the latest threats. It’s imperative that you protect your clients’ information.
To learn more, check out our eBook “The CPA’s Guide To Protecting A Practice From Ransomware, Phishing, Social Engineering and More.”
Technology shouldn’t keep you awake at night. Overcome your IT concerns by choosing an IT expert who knows what CPAs and Accountants in DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore need to protect their businesses.