May 31, 2023

Protecting Your CPA Firm: Coffee Talk With the Experts – featuring Crowdstrike Cameron Buriani

Get expert guidance on cybersecurity and learn how to protect your firm from online threats. From patch management to Next-Generation Antivirus, discover how to implement the four pillars of security and stay safe in the digital world. Plus, explore Cetrom's advanced threat protection and see how a multilayered approach and customized training can help CPA firms safeguard sensitive data.

Understanding the Threat Landscape: How CPA Firms are Being Targeted

CPA firms are a prime target for cyberattacks due to their sensitive financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account details, and other confidential data that hackers can use to make money or hold ransom. Hackers try different ways to get into these companies, such as tricking people with emails or phone calls (social engineering) and stealing passwords through fake websites (phishing).

During tax season, accountants are especially vulnerable to attacks due to their high workload and stress levels. Hackers take advantage of this and use social engineering tactics to trick them into clicking on malicious links or giving away passwords. But it's not just large accounting firms at risk, as hackers often target smaller businesses with weaker cybersecurity measures. A cyberattack can be destructive and cause significant problems like locking up essential data or making the firm stop working until you pay money. Even worse, some attackers might share all private information online, which could ruin the firm's reputation forever! 

To protect against cyberattacks, CPA firms must implement multiple cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, email filters, and regular software updates. Employees should also be trained to recognize and report suspicious activity, and disaster recovery plans should be in place to mitigate the impact of an attack. Partnering with cybersecurity professionals can also provide additional protection, as they can help set up security protocols and offer ongoing monitoring and support. It's also essential for individuals and businesses to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and trends by subscribing to educational resources.

CPA firms must take cybersecurity seriously and implement robust measures to protect their sensitive financial information from cyberattacks. The risks are too high to ignore, and the consequences of a successful attack can be devastating.

Implementing the Four Pillars of Security: What Can You Do To Protect Your Accounting Firm?

To protect themselves from cyber threats, companies must implement four key security measures known as "the four pillars." These include patch management, the least privilege model, high-quality antivirus software, and regular employee training.

  1. Patch Management: Refers to keeping all software, operating systems, and applications up to date with the latest security patches. These patches fix known vulnerabilities and help protect against cyberattacks. Failure to install updates can expose a company's systems to potential attacks, making patch management a critical component of cybersecurity.
  2. Least Privilege Model: This involves limiting access to sensitive information and resources only to those who need it. By adopting the least privilege model, companies can reduce the risk of internal and external threats, as only authorized personnel will have access to critical systems and information. This model helps ensure that employees cannot share confidential information, intentionally or unintentionally.
  3. High-Quality Antivirus Software: Traditional antivirus programs can only detect and prevent known viruses and may not be sufficient to protect against advanced cyber threats. Next-Generation antivirus (NGAV) uses advanced techniques such as behavioral analysis to identify and block malicious software. NGAV is lightweight and won't slow down computer performance. Investing in high-quality antivirus software helps companies stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.
  4. Regular Employee Training: The human factor is often the weakest link in cybersecurity. Regular training and education for employees can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Training should cover topics like identifying phishing scams, increasing password security, and using safe web browsing practices. Employees should be trained to recognize and report suspicious activity or breaches immediately.

By implementing these four pillars of security, companies can significantly reduce their risk of cyberattacks and protect their valuable data and reputation. It's essential to keep these security measures up to date and continuously assess and improve security practices to stay ahead of emerging threats. By staying informed and investing in effective cybersecurity solutions, firms are protected against future attacks.

Threat Detected: What Happens When You Get Hacked?

One of the critical measures to prevent attacks is to train all employees on cybersecurity. Hackers can use various tricks, such as sending fake emails to try and steal information. By teaching everyone, they will know what to look for and avoid falling into these traps.

In addition, companies must have good antivirus software and keep their computer programs up to date with the latest security patches. There are four steps that companies can take to protect themselves: (1) ensure that someone is responsible for keeping everything updated; (2) limit access to information to only what is necessary to prevent attackers from obtaining too much information if they gain access; (3) use top-quality antivirus software; and (4) provide regular training to employees, as new threats are constantly emerging.

In the event of an attack, it is crucial to remain calm and rely on professionals who understand how to handle such situations without causing more harm. A disaster recovery plan is essential for businesses to stay calm and figure out how to fix things quickly in an emergency or attack. Having written instructions ahead of time can prevent panic and help minimize the impact of the attack.

Special tools like NGAV (Next-Generation Antivirus) can assist companies in tracking threats from hackers worldwide. By partnering with security experts, companies can stay up to date on the latest threats and run tests to protect their systems. In addition, insight data can provide valuable information on what's happening on the company's computers at all times, allowing them to identify potential threats and better protect themselves.

Multiple layers of protection are necessary to protect computer systems from cyberattacks. Firewalls and email filters are protective layers that should work together like a team so that nothing gets through. Experts who specialize in security as a service (SECaaS) can help set up all these protections for companies' computers.

Finally, it is recommended to stay informed and learn more about cybersecurity. Subscribing to educational resources can help individuals and companies stay up to date on emerging threats and adequate security measures.

Concluding Thoughts

Protecting your firm from cybersecurity threats or, even worse, a cyberattack is imperative to ensure your firm is safe from cyber criminals. Partnering with Cetrom, a cloud-based provider that excels in cybersecurity, is a preventive, first-line defense to protect firms from cyberattacks.

Cetrom helps CPA firms create a cybersecurity culture by educating employees on the importance of keeping their firms secure and conducting ongoing reviews and tests of their training programs. By partnering with Cetrom, CPA firms can have peace of mind knowing that their networks and systems are secure, allowing them to focus on what they do best: keeping their clients' financial decisions safe and secure. 


Contact Cetrom today to learn more about their cybersecurity solutions and services.

 

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