Cloud computing

Cyber Security for CPAs

September 18, 2019

Every day we get more calls from businesses in industries that are notoriously slow to adopt the new tech trends, warm up to cloud technology and the improvements in cyber security. More often than not it’s a CPA firm, and it’s usually because they’ve either heard about the major cyber attacks in the news recently, or they were a victim of one themselves.

Even if you haven’t been attacked, you have a right to be nervous about a hacker accessing your data and confidential information because frankly, cybercriminals are getting smarter and bolder. IT security news blog and analysis website CSO predicted that by 2021, the costs of damages related to cybercrime will exceed $6 trillion.

It’s not just the big fish hackers are after. By far the majority of attacks happen to smaller, poorly defended businesses with CPAs being a prime target based on their average level of network security (or lack thereof) and how much private information they hold.

If you feel you need to boost up your cyber defenses, here are a few very easy things you can do to make sure an attack will never happen to you.

Email Encryption

Simply put, encryption means that if an outside source (a hacker) somehow gains access to your information through your company’s email, they will not be able to understand what information is in the data.

Most firms already encrypt data in emails sent between higher-level employees and management, but the majority of cases when a hacker gets information through an email scam it’s from a secretary or lower-level employee. Your entire office should have email encryption, and should also be another level of encryption at the server level to provide a safety net to make sure nothing gets in the wrong hands.

Speaking of email scams, it is absolutely imperative that you…

Educate All Employees

Every single employee of your firm needs to understand how cyber attacks occur and how to prevent them. It may seem obvious to some, but hackers prey on the less computer-literate employees through email and phone scams or phony websites to get into your network.

Compose a guideline for employees that details the different markings of a hacking attempt and the preventative measures employees must take. These measures include using the work computer for just work – no gambling, fantasy football or pornography sites – and definitely do not try to download or install any software without verifying its legitimacy or consulting with an IT professional first.

Every employee must read and sign this document.

Hire an IT Consultant

If you don’t feel you have an adequate in-house IT staff then you need to at least explore the idea of hiring a trusted IT company to handle your network for you. The time your business will save not having to worry about your IT will allow you to focus on actual accounting, as well as even growing your business with the help of new and improved technology.

Do your research on which IT provider is best for you. Some will try to confuse you with “geek-speak” and get you to just blindly trust them while they neglect your network entirely. If you’re looking at a cloud provider, get client testimonials from them because even though cloud technology has become a very secure option in the recent years, not all clouds are created equal.

If you choose to hire a cloud provider, you won’t even have to move any of your servers or computers anywhere, and your network will be monitored and upgraded constantly. To learn more about the benefits of the cloud, please follow this link.

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