It’s hardly a revelation that accountants and accounting firms hold sensitive information about their clients. From social security numbers to addresses, hackers are constantly seeking to obtain sensitive data, a task that can be alarmingly easy if firms don’t have proper cybersecurity measures in place. That’s why accountants need to be motivated now more than ever vigilant about protecting their client data. In fact, a recent study showed that in the last year 500 million financial records have been stolen in data breaches and other hacks.
Small accounting firms may think they can be protected by the veil of obscurity, but hackers often aim for small firms precisely because they can count on facing less security, according to Accounting Web. Here are some tips for accounting firms to avoid data breaches and hacks:
Have a backup management plan.
In the event of a hacking or data breach, it’s crucial for accounting firms to have backup management solution, so that any stolen data can be quickly and efficiently recovered. Backups should be tested regularly to ensure they’re working correctly. In fact, the average accountant’s data should be updated at least once a day into both cloud and physical storage devices, according to Business In Savannah.
Move your data to the cloud.
Data stored on the cloud has greater protection than data that is stored on company servers. The move to the cloud can change business habits that help ensure a safer accounting firm. For example, if all company data is stored on the cloud, then there’s less need for workers to email attachments to one another. When team members become less reliant on email, it helps minimize the risk of falling victim to phishing emails.
The bring your own device (BYOD) trend has seen rapid growth in offices throughout the country. Because many accountants do access company and client data on a personal device, it’s important for accounting firms to have policies regarding cybersecurity for personal devices. A single employee failing to protect his tablet from malware can trigger a data breach when the tablet is connected to the company network, according to Accounting Web. Some accounting firms have decided to ban the use of personal devices for company matters, while others have enforced limitations to the data that can be accessed on them.