In this day and age, information is currency. There's no arguing that digital data has become a bit target for hackers and online criminals looking steal your customers private data. Many different organizations hold confidential private data such as healthcare profiles and in particular, accounting firms must prioritize their cybersecurity solutions in order to protect their client's information.
PWC Canada recently released The State of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the stats were alarming. Here are some numbers to consider when thinking about why accounting first must prioritize cybersecurity.
- 80 percent of Canadian CEOs are concerned about cybersecurity as a threat to their growth prospects.
- 90 percent of Canadian CEOs are aware that the increasing complexity of threats is having an impact in shaping their cybersecurity strategy.
When so many CEOs have these concerns about cybersecurity, it is only natural they expect their business partners such as accounting firms to have the same concerns.
It is understood that accounting firms are a very important part of the Canadian economy. These accounting firms are tasked with many duties including how they handle financial data including taxes. Due to this important role, it makes accounting offices or any small-medium sized office space, a prime target for cyberattacks and data breaches.
Why accounting offices must prioritize cyber protection?
Most organizations are not looking to be the headline of the next big cyber breach, costing thousands in damages. Organizations spend a lot of money on their cybersecurity plan. To hackers, they look at everyone involved, and accounting firms are high and the list as they have access to a lot of personal information as well as multiple organizations.
What is the best approach towards cybersecurity for accounting offices?
The majority of accounting firms do understand the necessity of cybersecurity however the degree of engagement varies from each firm. You will need to design a strategic approach that addresses cybersecurity as a business issue rather than just a technical issue.
Most IT departments are too busy or do not have enough knowledge to implement a proper plan. You can always reach out to a IT services provider to assess your data security level and test the vulnerabilities. Your managed IT services or IT department should not perform a vulnerability test, you should always hire a third party.
Why should cybersecurity be on top of the list for an accounting office?
This is very simple. There are multiple industries including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and much more. One of the main things they have in common is they all use an accounting firm hence why accounting offices are on the top of the list for cybersecurity attacks.
As cybercriminals continues to change and adapt their hacking methods, they will be continually evolving. No matter how secure your accounting firm is, there will always remain a possibility of a data breach as a new method might penetrate your accounting firm security system.
What kind of financial loss can an accounting office face if worst comes to worst?
If an accounting office is hit by ransomware or a data breach, they can expect a substantial financial loss that has the potential to bankrupt your firm or seriously impact your financials. In addition, you can look forward to reduced revenue as you will lose your clients confidence and trust. The cost of tarnishing hard earned reputation is very hard to repair once the damage is done.
What risks can an accounting firm bring to clients?
Like any other businesses, financial loss is only one aspect of compromised security. It is the responsibility of the accounting firms to ensure they take every precaution possible to secure information as the consequences for clients can be big. Smaller accounting firms can also easily go bankrupt if their data security is compromised as CPAs and accounting firms have access to sensitive financial data.
Accounting firms must prioritize cybersecurity because…
They need to ensure they are protected from cyberattacks. Every employee plays a part and each employee must be aware of how serious a cyberattack on the accounting firm can be. Through employee awareness about cybersecurity and best practices, you will be able to protect your accounting firms sensitive data.
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