Firms need to increase cybersecurity initiatives
February 06, 2014

Many accounting firm leaders think that their businesses aren't on hackers' radars. Perhaps larger corporations are more prone to attack because, in the event of a breach, criminals have much more to gain if they can tap into the accounting software and customer information. However, what owners in this school of thought don't realize is that large firms often have better, more encompassing data security strategies because they can usually afford better protections.

As such, it can be a big surprise when a startup is hacked. To prevent these instances from occurring, administrators need to make sure they have an iron-clad security policy in place far before an attack is even attempted. Taking a proactive approach in these situations is best, because hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to breach a system.

There are steps that accountants need to take to make sure they are as cybersecure as they possibly can be before a breach occurs, and various factors and elements that should be adhered to across the company.

Employees need to be aware
Having great protections and a strong policy in place won't be any help if each and every worker at the company isn't completely sure about what's included. According to Entrepreneur, administrators need to be educated about policies, because lack of knowledge in this field is one of the biggest security problems. What if a worker were to override the protections by accident and place the whole operation in jeopardy?

The magazine suggested not only keeping the security plan up to date, but having written copies available for all employees. The source said that accountants and bookkeepers should also be consulted about their habits and spoken to about clauses that have to do with using personal devices to access company information.

The Federal Communications Commission counted educating and training employees on new policies as the top tip for keeping a small company's network safe from criminals. The source said that all firm workers have to be on board with best practices for passwords, internet use and handling information, among other factors.

Encryption needed
There should be no argument at small accounting firms - crucial data needs to be encrypted, period. Corporate counsel at IT company Rackspace Justin Freeman told Entrepreneur that at some point, hackers will likely get into the system. But owners can make sure that sensitive data isn't affected or lost by encrypting it in an unreadable code.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2