Cybercrime among the Biggest Concern in Accounting Firms

Cybercrime is on a rise, making it is especially important for accounting firms to protect their data as attacks on personal information become part of our daily life.

J. Carlton Collins, David Cieslak and Rick Richardson gave the warning during the JofA accounting technology roundtable, explaining that failure to take the necessary precautions to protect data could result in security attacks that are devastating to the accounting firm and its clients.

Cieslak expressed his concern stating that he has seen internal security policies within companies that are lax. He cited weak passwords and low security clearance as part of the biggest issues and says that attacks on one machine can lead to attacks on several machines within the office.

Richardson and Cieslak both agree that cloud-based solutions are the best way to go to help reduce security threats. People have the misconception that only applications used through the internet can create a security threat but that is not true says Richardson. In fact, many data breaches take place internally or as a result of stolen hardware.

Data files often have account numbers and social security numbers on them and those internal documents hold the type of information that cyber criminals are looking to get.

Collins points out that Microsoft’s Windows 10, which will be released later this year will have additional security in place including double authentication to help address this growing concern.

The three experts recommend that accountants synch all electronic office equipment together, including laptops, smartphones, tablets and computers.

The final advice is for accountants to hone their technology skills as the business becomes more and more technical and paper files become a thing of the past. They point out the importance of understanding the cloud and how security can be compromised when it is not used properly. “I still come back to the issue of having the professional understand where he or she is in the world,” concludes Richardson.