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Cybersecurity for Financial Data: Protecting Your Business

Protecting business data from cybersecurity threats is a must regardless of what industry you work in. But accountants and companies’ accounting divisions work with the most tempting info of all — sensitive financial data — making it all the more necessary that they have the highest cybersecurity standards.

Cyberattacks are rampant, growing and costly. According to Astra Security, the world suffers 4,000 cyberattacks per day, and ransomware hacks happen every 14 seconds on average. Meanwhile, the Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2022 Official Cybercrime Report predicts the full-year cost of cybercrime will be $8 trillion by the end of 2023 — and that will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

Cybercrime happens to every kind of entity you could imagine — not just businesses, but schools, hospitals, governments and countless individuals. However, regardless of the entity they target, cybercriminals’ primary goal typically remains the same: financial data or personal data they can use to score financial gains. In other words: financial account logins and passwords, credit card numbers, transaction details, even Social Security numbers.

So, if you’re an accountant, lead your company’s accounting division or own a company, you need to be thinking about cybersecurity. Especially if you’re considering bringing on an outsourced CFO or accountant. Not only is protecting this sensitive financial information crucial in maintaining your business — it’s also a must to maintain your clients’ trust.

Let’s talk about some of the cybersecurity measures you need to have in place to protect financial data:

Building Better Cybersecurity for Financial Data

1. Develop a Written Policy

Imagine if your approach to cybersecurity was letting everyone at your business adopt the measures they thought were wisest. At best, your cybersecurity posture would be haphazard and inconsistent — likelier, and worse, it would be both of those things, and ultimately ineffective.

You need a written information security policy (WISP) that outlines all protocols for not just protecting financial data, but also procedures for what to do in the event a breach occurs.

This document shouldn’t be static either. As threats evolve and technologies improve, it should be updated to reflect the greatest and latest in cybersecurity measures.

2. Establish an Audit Trail

Audit trails are used to ensure accountability across all sorts of businesses. As it pertains to accountants and other financial roles, audit trails allow you to see what changes have been made throughout every step of the accounting process, and who was in charge during each step. If something goes wrong, you simply follow the audit trail until you discover what (or who) went wrong.

3. Select a Software Provider

Choose a cybersecurity software and firewall provider that meets both your security and budget needs. Cybersecurity, as we mentioned, is vital for any business. But you also need to be realistic about what you can afford. Don’t just accept what the first provider quotes you at — comparison-shop to find protection that’s within your budget.

4. Establish a Password Policy

Security.org says 38% of Americans reported that their passwords were cracked. One way to lower that number: Have a solid password policy. Employees should be required to not only have long, complex passwords to prevent them from being guessed — but to regularly reset their passwords, too.

5. Establish Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a step up from the traditional password-only login process. As the name implies, it requires two pieces of authenticating data. For instance, a user must enter a password, then enter a six-digit code sent to their phone. Or a user must log in with both a thumbprint and a password.

2FA is a pretty common offering these days, and it’s easy to implement. Given the heightened security you get in return, it’s a must for all organizations.

6. Always Keep Security Patches Updated

This is a simple step, but an easy one to overlook. Even if you have cybersecurity software, your protection is likelier to fall short if you don’t keep up with the latest security updates and patches. These patches help arm your system against the latest attack methods.

7. Keep Your Employees in the Loop

Even the best policy and technology won’t keep your business’s financial data safe if your employees don’t know how to protect themselves and your data. Consider security training for employees that will get them up to date with both your company’s written cybersecurity policy, as well as cybersecurity best practices against methods such as phishing and ransomware.

Protect Your Clients’ Financial Data and Your Business

Most businesses are becoming increasingly digital, and as a result, cybersecurity is increasingly important.

McManamon & Co. provides a wide range of services for small and midsize businesses, including paperless office consulting. In addition to showing you how to digitize most of your existing workflows, we can also point you in the right direction to protect your digital assets.

Reach out and find out what we can do for you and your business! Just call 440.892.8900 or contact us online.

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