How Accounting Firms Can Create a Robust Cybersecurity Strategy BEFORE Tax Season


February 20, 2020

Here Are A Few Ways Accounting Firms Can Create A Robust Cybersecurity Strategy

According to IBM’s 2019 “Cost of a Data Breach” report, companies lose approximately $150 per record lost in a data breach – a figure that’s up from $141 in 2017. It’s getting more and more expensive each year to recover from the aftermath of an attack. To make matters worse, Coveware found that the average ransomware attack, in particular, results in approximately 10 days of downtime. That’s even MORE money spent recovering from a data breach. For most accounting firms, this type of impact isn’t sustainable, especially during tax season. So what can accounting firms do to stay safe?

It’s All About Having a Robust Cybersecurity Strategy in Place BEFORE Tax Season…

This is critical for all businesses, but accounting firms are particularly at risk due to the massive amount of sensitive data they store. You’re not only storing your own information, but you’re also storing information belonging to your clients – and possibly their customers, vendors, and employees. That’s a lot of sensitive data that can be quite lucrative for cybercriminals looking to sell information on the dark web or demand a ransom fee in exchange for access during the busy tax season.

Here’s the thing… Cybercriminals KNOW how busy the tax season can be, and because of this, they know most accounting firms need access to their sensitive information to stay productive and keep their paying clients satisfied. It’s the perfect time to commit an attack, such as:

  • A phishing scheme designed to trick users into divulging important information or login credentials
  • A ransomware attack that encrypts all of your data and systems until you pay the hefty ransom fee.

No Single Security Measure or Solution Will Protect Your Accounting Firm. A Robust Cybersecurity Strategy is Necessary.

Unfortunately, no single security measure or solution will protect your accounting firm against a myriad of threats out there. If you want to stay safe now and going into the busy tax season, a robust cybersecurity strategy is necessary. Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Upgrade any soon-to-be unsupported hardware: Windows 7 and Microsoft Server 2008, for instance, will be unsupported on January 14, 2020 – meaning there will no longer be security patches, updates, and bug fixes released and cybercriminals will start exploiting vulnerabilities.
  2. Install the right security solutions to prevent unauthorized access: Firewalls, anti-virus software, web-content filtering, intrusion detection software, and other security solutions are necessary to create a multi-layered approach that keeps threats out of the network.
  3. Talk to your staff members about best practices: Your team should be well aware of the threats out there, including phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, and more. They should also know how to create and manage passwords that are complex and hard-to-guess.
  4. Implement some form of monitoring around-the-clock: Your network should have some form of monitoring happening around-the-clock to detect and resolve any sort of issues that may pose a threat or halt productivity during the busy tax season. This can be done with the help of a technology partner.

The Tips Listed Above Are a Great Place to Start, But a Robust Cybersecurity Strategy Should Be Left to the Professionals. Contact Integris – Your Baltimore IT Company. Call (888) 330-8808 Now.

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