Are you worried about cyber security for your firm? Protecting your firm from cyber attacks is more important than ever. To start, regularly change passwords, be aware of phishing scams, and invest in advanced encryption measures. Taking security seriously is more important - and should be at the top of every accountant's list of resolutions this year!
Is your firm too small to be a target?
Accountants have long been aware of the need for security in their industry. But recent news about cyber attackers targeting smaller firms has made this even more pressing! It is time to treat your data as if it is a target and get serious about protection.
Cyber attackers know that the big firms usually have their security down, but they also know that smaller firms are less concerned (or have less time to be concerned) with security. So that’s exactly where they strike first.
Stop blindly trusting
The first step in beginning to secure your firm is learning that you cannot trust everything in a virtual world. Be wary of clicking on links and downloading documents from untrusted sources. You have to take precautions when saving passwords to make sure you are saving to a secure work environment.
You don’t have time to become an IT genius
You don't need to be a security or tech genius to stay safe! There are programs and options out there for online security that do much of the work for you. But you need to be aware of them and be able to make choices between those various options.
Cybersecurity risks will be a constant concern for businesses in 2023. Some top threats include ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, social engineering attacks, malware attacks, and insider threats.
- Ransomware attacks involve encrypting a victim's files and demanding payment to restore access.
- Phishing attacks involve tricking individuals into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.
- Social engineering attacks involve manipulating individuals into divulging sensitive information or taking actions that compromise the security of an organization.
- Malware attacks involve using harmful software to exploit or damage computer systems, and insider threats refer to individuals within a company who compromise security intentionally or unintentionally.
To protect against these threats, it's important to invest in reliable cybersecurity solutions, update software and operating systems regularly, use strong passwords, and use multi-factor authentication. A crucial part of cybersecurity is educating oneself and team.
Develop partnerships with managed IT service providers and train your team on best practices for security.
Accountants should consider moving to Microsoft 365
To stay current with market trends and standards, accountants must transform into a secure digital profession, and Microsoft 365 provides the platform to do so. While most accountants have been grasping the need to utilize apps within their own firms and their clients, they have become relaxed on security measures.
The key to becoming a secure firm is to take measures to lock down technology stacks. Microsoft has jumped ahead in both security and included applications.
The suite of applications Microsoft offers simplifies the accounting process, allowing for easier collaboration, better insights, flexibility, and improved communication. Microsoft 365 also boosts security and safeguards data with high levels of encryption and other security features. With Microsoft 365, accountants can replace outdated technology with industry-leading applications, making the job easier and faster. Microsoft 365 is the leading solution to ensure accountants have the tools they need to be successful in their roles.
You don't have to fight the battle alone
Accountants often applaud their clients for reaching out to a professional for bookkeeping, accounting support, and tax. As an accounting community, it is wise for us to take our own advice and create partnerships to achieve our increasing need for robust security.
Invest in reliable cybersecurity solutions, regularly update software and operating systems, use strong passwords, and use multi-factor authentication. With the right cybersecurity measures, you can keep your firm and its data safe from cyber-attacks!
Managed IT and cybersecurity has been growing in the financial management industry. As accounting professionals, we are starting to feel the increased requirements demanded by the IRS. In 2022 the IRS 4557 was released stating accounting has security requirements. Some of the requirements included creating a written information security plan, reviewing all internal systems to identify risks, determining remediation steps in the event of an attack, implementing antivirus software, securing user information with strong passwords and multifactor authentication, protecting wireless networks, and encrypting transmitted data. To learn more about the IRS 4557 and actions to take in cybersecurity, read further here.
This is where partnerships come into play. There are existing solution providers designed specifically for accounting firms and their unique needs. These security and managed IT solutions can enhance network protection and even create secure backups.
Solution providers can monitor your network, train your team on best practices for security and manage cyber threats effectively with comprehensive incident response planning services.
Protect yourself and the clients that you serve
As cyber attackers become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques, it is important for accountants to stay ahead of the game. Being aware and creating partnerships to help with securing your firm can offer you peace of mind, and it is a great 2023 New Year resolution!