Cybersecurity for companies is increasing in importance. This is especially true for accounting teams. Hackers know that systems used by accountants have confidential information that can be used for personal gain. This is why your business, including your accounting team, needs to prioritize cybersecurity. Otherwise, your organization may lose revenue, clients, and its reputation.
Discover some of the most common cybersecurity risks for accounting teams and best practices to reduce the odds of cyberattacks.
Top Cybersecurity Risks
The most common accounting cybersecurity risks include the following:
- Vulnerability: Hackers continue to increase their sophistication in lifting companies’ confidential information. The coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn have increased the number of cyberattacks on businesses.
- Client risk: Social Insurance numbers, financial information, and other private details are contained in companies’ databases. This client information needs to be protected.
- Financial risk: Clients’ personally identifiable information can cost hundreds of dollars per record per data breach. The average data breach often costs the company millions of dollars.
- Ease of Hacking: Hackers with little training and sophistication can disrupt a business.
- Reputation loss: Affected clients are likely to talk about their experiences. This can cause damage to the company’s reputation.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
Your company needs a cybersecurity plan that includes the following components:
- Network perimeter and architecture: Your business networks connect your systems, people, and data. This is why your network architecture must be configured, organized, and connected to be secure and operable. Advanced firewalls that continuously monitor activity and quickly detect intrusions are required.
- Backups: You must back up your data, operating systems, and applications. The backups need to be regularly scheduled and have the data stored in the cloud. This minimizes the potential to lose information in case of a cyberattack.
- Email security: Implement anti-malware, anti-phishing, anti-spam, and content filtering software to prevent harmful emails from entering employee inboxes. Also, have your IT department educate employees about not opening suspicious links from senders they don’t recognize.
- Passwords and authentication: Require your employees to regularly change their passwords. Ensure the passwords include numbers, special characters, and uppercase and lowercase letters. Also, use multi-factor authentication to access systems, applications, websites, and emails.
- Encryption: Use encryption for data that is in transit, at rest, or stored in systems or on devices.
- Access controls: Provide access to systems and information to only the necessary employees. This should be based on role, group, or job title. Take away access when an employee leaves the company.
- Patch management: Ensure your software and hardware automatically are patched and updated.
- Audits and penetration testing: Regularly invest in third-party auditing of your technology to uncover vulnerabilities. Include penetration testing to assess potential exposure.
- Employee training: Educate your employees on identifying and reporting cybersecurity issues to the IT department.
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