Managed service provider

Can a Managed Service Provider Protect Your CPA Firm From Hackers?

July 26, 2017

When you think of crime affecting your CPA firm, it’s probably not cyber crime that first comes to mind. But according to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), it should be. They call cyber terrorism “the stark reality” for CPA firms of all sizes, suggesting, “This is something which firm owners need to consciously understand and take seriously.”

Even the smallest accounting firm has access to personal information that hackers could potentially profit from. While more accounting firms are moving to the cloud to store their data and other critical business functions, there are still legacy platforms on-site in most CPA firms that are vulnerable. All it takes is one employee opening a seemingly innocuous email. If that email harbors malware, your firm is in big trouble.

There’s one important brick in your cyber defenses that we believe it is imperative for CPAs – especially small to mid-size firms – to adopt. We’re talking about the addition of a managed service provider that will monitor your computer network for intrusion and respond aggressively to threats as they arise.

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How A Managed Service Provider Protects CPAs

If you haven’t started working with a managed service provider, the issue of cyber security by itself should necessitate your considering this outside IT resource. Managed Service Providers are like the rent-a-cop outside your building, except MSPs watch your digital stream for encroachment. Here are some of the ways a Managed Service Provider could help your accounting firm:

  • Conducting a Security Audit
    Entrepreneur quotes Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) as saying 83% of small businesses lack a formal digital security plan. When was the last time you changed your Wi-Fi security passcode? Do your employees understand phishing attacks and are you confident you won’t be the next ransomware victim? When was the last security patch added to your server’s operating system? If you can’t answer these questions, you already know why you need a Managed Service Provider. MSPs will usually start their work by conducting a security audit. As an outsider looking in on your business, their job is to find and highlight and business continuity risks to your organization – and then work to mitigate them. Get a free assessment to learn how secure your firm’s data really is.
  • Data Encryption
    If you’re thinking about how information is transmitted on the web, you’ll realize the email that just magically appeared in your inbox has actually moved through multiple servers and connection points as it makes it way between people. That’s exactly why encryption is so important; without it, your data is vulnerable to hackers at each of those connections. Encrypting means that the messages and files they hold are scrambled and can only be read by the people on both ends that have a digital key.
  • Intrusion Detection
    Most managed service providers make use of software to monitor your network for external probes, malware, or other Trojan devices that could steal data. With a Managed Service Provider, you can rest a little easier at night knowing someone is outside your digital door protecting everything inside your network from encroachment.

These are just a few of the ways that a managed service provider could help your CPA firm. To find out more:

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