Accountants routinely deal with high-value data that hackers may steal for quick financial gain. They’re popular targets often considered easy pickings for their presumed lack of technical prowess. However, just like everyone else, accounting firms and departments need to make digital security and privacy a core part of their daily routines. Here are four things they must do to make that happen:
#1. Implement multi-factor authentication
Passwords have been a central component of digital security ever since, well, computers were invented. The problem is that passwords can be stolen through various social engineering scams like phishing in which hackers dupe unsuspecting victims into giving away such information. Simpler passwords can even be cracked in mere seconds by means of brute force attacks where the hacker tries every possible combination until it gets the right one.
Related article: What Is Multifactor Authentication, and Why Is It So Important?
How about adding an extra layer of security so that you’re not entirely reliant on one password to protect an account? Multi-factor authentication (MFA) uses a combination of two or more of the following: something you know, something you have, or something you are. For example, upon logging in one unrecognized device with a username and password, the user might be asked to verify their identity with a fingerprint or a code provided by an authenticator app.
#2. Keep software up-to-date
Many accountants are still running dated in-house systems running operating systems and accounting software that’s long since been forgotten by its original developers. Not only does this add unnecessary time and costs to the daily routines of your employees, but it also opens up a raft of potential security vulnerabilities.
Related article: 6 Poor Security Habits that Lead to Data Breaches
If they’re not busy trying to exploit victims with social engineering tactics, hackers are often looking for windows of opportunities in the form of outdated software and security protocols that give them unhindered access to a system. If you don’t keep your software up to date, you’ll end up putting your brand and its clients at risk. Instead, consider moving your systems over to the cloud where applications are updated as soon as the developer releases a patch.
#3. Train employees regularly
As soon as a data breach occurs, people usually start blaming technology. However, careless employees are usually to blame in the end. That’s because hackers are always looking for the path of least resistance, and that path usually takes the form of human ignorance.
Related article: Are your employees’ smartphones a threat to your business?
Because humans are often the weakest link in an organization, by far the most effective way to protect your business is to ensure that everyone’s sufficiently clued up on the latest scams and online threats.
#4. Centralize device management
Being an accountant no longer means sitting for hours on end in front of a screen in a cubicle farm. Thanks to the unprecedented rise of mobile devices, cloud computing, and ubiquitous internet connectivity, we’ve now entered the age of the mobile workforce. However, while the benefits of workforce mobility are without question, enrolling portable devices like employee-owned smartphones and laptops into the technology mix greatly increases attack surfaces.
Today, business operations often rely on a fleet comprising employee- and company-owned devices. As the number of devices and data-baring systems rises, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep track of everything. That’s why businesses need to centralize device management by using a web-based dashboard that allows them to easily keep track of all devices used for work and maintain complete visibility into confidential data in their care.
Related article: Tips for developing a successful cybersecurity plan in 2019
SpectrumWise offers business technology solutions to financial firms in Charlotte, Gastonia, and Rock Hill. Call us today to talk about making your business technology better.
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