Accounting firms are prime targets for hackers, here’s how to protect your business

August 16, 2018

Accounting firms are prime targets for hackers, here’s how to protect your business

Accountancy firms of all sizes are routinely targeted by hackers. Firms hold a wide range of personal data including tax identification numbers, logins and sensitive financial details, making them an attractive target for cyber criminals who wish to sell on personal data.

Cyber thieves are becoming ever more inventive and are finding new routes into companies’ information. They have also broadened their targets.

Whilst larger firms are generally able to manage the financial hit of a breach, small and medium sized firms run the risk of financial ruin if they lay themselves open to cyber-attacks. Industry research estimates that nearly two thirds of small and medium sized accountancy firms do not have a contingency plan in the event of a breach.

Accountancy firms can no longer ignore advanced cyber security. The risk, both to a firm’s finances and reputation, is too great.

Below are a few common weaknesses that firms will need to consider as part of their cyber security and data protection strategies.

  1. Insecure remote access

Accountancy professionals frequently work remotely and access emails on their mobile devices. This can form a major security risk, with insecure connections being easier to hack. Despite this, industry research shows that around a third of employees use free, insecure Wi-Fi at cafes, hotels and bars.

To solve this, staff need to be educated. Data security education requires a company wide effort, it cannot be the sole responsibility of the IT manager. Senior teams must ensure that the entire workforce is clear on the threats of their own actions with regards to working and accessing data remotely.

  1. Securing devices

Printers and scanners are internally networked devices that store and process data. Due to the nature of their work, accountancy firms use such devices for printing and scanning important and confidential contracts or personal documents.

These devices have the same security vulnerabilities as any other networked endpoint device, but they are often overlooked. This leaves firms, and often their most sensitive client information, open to data theft and malware or virus infections.

Galaxkey’s MFD-Secure product ensures data is protected on any networked multi-function device at any time, whether it is being stored or in transit. Importantly, it allows access to the sensitive data transmitted and received by these devices to be properly managed and controlled, which is essential for accountancy firms.

  1. Digital signatures

Digital signatures play an important role in the modern business environment, and are used frequently by those in the accountancy profession. They have become a necessary means to ensure the original content of a message or document is unchanged during the sending process, however they are acutely vulnerable to fraud and forgery.

Galaxkey’s Complete Data Protection package protects any data, across any platform and includes digital signature capabilities. Users can seamlessly and securely add digital signatures to an unlimited number of documents. This feature enables users to send signed documents with the unique identifying data within the signature, meaning that those receiving and sending documents can be sure that the signature cannot be tampered with or altered by unauthorised parties.

  1. Get in touch

These are just some of the areas that accountancy firms need to look at. To really ensure their cybersecurity, firms need to be smart and seriously upgrade their capabilities.

For more information on how to really protect your firm, get in touch.