As people move more of their lives online, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Accounting firms are no different. In fact, they are at a higher risk of being targeted for a cyberattack because they deal with sensitive financial information.
According to a CNN article, a McAfee report said ransomware incidents increased across all sectors by 118 percent during the first quarter of 2019.
This year, the global cost of cyberattacks is projected to reach $2 trillion.
Because technology is changing at an ever-increasing speed, accounting firms must adjust to face new security challenges. Unfortunately, many accounting firms are not adequately trained or do not know how to implement a cybersecurity strategy.
Your business needs to know how to respond to cyberattacks and needs protection in place if you do get struck by a cyberattack.
Develop a plan to protect your business from cyberthreats
Despite the rising frequency of cyberattacks, cybercrime is still treated differently than traditional crimes. Many police departments lack the training or resources to respond to a robbery that can take place anywhere that has an internet connection. And federal agents can only do so much as the number and frequency of cybercrime continue to increase.
Accounting software contains confidential information that needs to be safe and secure at all times, and accounting firms need to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their clients from cyberattacks.
Unfortunately, viruses, ransomware, malware, Trojan horses, bots, and other forms of cyberthreats can take down an entire accounting system. The fix can be expensive. Not only is it expensive to repair the damage, but firms lose money in the lost productivity and a violation of client trust.
Fortunately, antivirus companies and law enforcement agencies are natural allies and can share information to strengthen the protective capabilities of antivirus software.
Develop relationships with law enforcement to respond to a cyberattack
Accounting firms can and should take proactive steps to create a strategy to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies before cyberattacks occur. If a cyberattack does occur, having a plan in place, knowing what can be done, and having a prior relationship with law enforcement can be helpful.
Without a plan in place, an accounting firm may end up paying a ransom that could have been avoided by receiving guidance from local law enforcement. And after the ransom is paid, accountants and businesses might struggle to recover.
Historically, law enforcement agencies have been reluctant to cooperate with private organizations. But policies are being put into place that allows sharing of information between private entities and law enforcement to discourage cyberattacks and improve security measures.
To best leverage relationships with law enforcement personnel:
- Develop trusted, bi-directional relationships with state and federal law enforcement agencies and point of contact offices for United States Attorneys.
- Create, implement, and update a cyber-incident response plan.
- Ensure the firm or company’s legal counsel is familiar with your organization’s cyber-risk management and incident response plan, including responsibilities for interacting with government agencies.
- Don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement at any point during a cyber-incident to report suspected criminal activity.
Protecting your business against cyberattacks
The consequences of unauthorized access to sensitive client information can be devastating. In addition to offering cyber liability insurance protection, McGowanPRO is here to help with educational resources, training programs, and unmatched expertise.
McGowan is a family-owned business with deep roots in the insurance industry. As technology changes, we continue to adapt while providing our clients with the finest products, premiums, and customer service in the industry.