Why are accountancy firms being targeted by cybercriminals?

Data breaches, hacks and fraud have become a stark reality for businesses around the world. And, given the very nature of accountancy work, it’s no wonder that this sector is being targeted by cybercriminals for financial gain.

Why are accountants being targeted?

While many assume that hackers will only go after big banks and financial organisations, this isn’t the case. Accountants have access to large amounts of private information that is lucrative for cybercriminals. For example, through an account, cybercriminals could gain direct access to a client’s bank accounts and financial information.

Furthermore, many SME accountancy firms haven’t invested in the necessary security measures, and that makes them an easy target for cyber-attacks.

Security risks facing accountancy firms

Here are some of the most common security threats faced by accountancy firms.

  • Cybercriminals use phishing emails, texts, websites, phone calls, etc., to trick accountants into handing over sensitive client data
  • With email and web hijacking, criminals try and steal financial or other confidential information by impersonating accountancy firms
  • Cybercriminals use DDoS attacks to overwhelm servers and exploit any weaknesses. With the IoT, the risk of DoDos attacks is only going to increase
  • If a criminal manages to install malware on a system this can be extremely damaging to a business and its reputation. In many instances, criminals will stop accountants from accessing their systems until payment is made (ransomware)
  • If someone in a firm uses a weak password (e.g. ‘letmein’), criminals could access their account, and work their way through the network. 87% of organisations have accounts with passwords that feature in the top 10,000[1]
  • While cybercriminals pose a real and pressing threat to accountancy firms, human error remains the biggest risk factor. This is often because accountants don’t know, or don’t follow basic security processes.

How can accountants improve their cybersecurity?

Even if you are the victim of a cyberattack, you could have to pay a hefty fine if negligence and poor security processes made you vulnerable. So, it’s vital that you do everything you can to combat data breaches and reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.

To do this you should:

  • Review your processes and procedures to ensure they are compliant (and update where necessary)
  • Establish compliant processes for responding to data breaches and other security threats
  • Invest in robust firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware solutions
  • Make sure updates and patches are applied regularly
  • Train your staff so that they understand their data protection responsibilities, the risks, and the consequences of a breach (this should be a regular occurrence)
  • Create an incident response plan. And print off a hard copy in case you can’t get access to it during an attack
  • Deploy tech to defend against tech. For example, antivirus software, encryption, etc.
  • Invest in cyber insurance. Standard policies might not cover everything you need
  • Make sure any third-party relationships don’t leave you vulnerable
  • Invest in a relevant security accreditation
  • Use cloud-based systems that are securely backed up and can be restored at speed (the cloud also offers a whole range of additional benefits to accountants and financial advisors).

Boost your cybersecurity with Cloud Geeni

Data security is better in the cloud. And, at Cloud Geeni, we make security a top priority. That’s why, our services consistently achieve the highest level of data security and reliability, with best-in-class back-up and recovery processes that eliminate downtime. For example, we offer:

ISO accredited data centres

Complying with an internationally recognised best practice framework, our data centres are situated in the UK and are ISO27001 certified (this ensures you are working with a trustworthy provider committed to safeguarding your data).

They are fitted with fire detection and suppression systems, temperature-controlled to ensure optimum performance and protected by Iris recognition entry systems. They also have backup power supplies for independent running.

Together this means that we offer robust connectivity while making sure that your sensitive business data is protected at all times.

Microsoft Certified Engineers

Our dedicated team of Microsoft Certified Engineers has everything you need to design and build a hosted desktop solution that is right for your business, and your budget. Looking after your data 24/7, you can be confident that your business-critical data is always being taken care of.

Real-Time Backups & Replication

Our cloud storage boasts best-in-class backup and recovery processes.

Your files sit on a dedicated machine in a UK data centre, but they are also duplicated and backed up. So if a failure occurs, it’s never a problem. The backup will immediately cut across to its sibling, so there is no loss of service and no downtime. Moreover, your data is replicated in near real time over at another data centre – at a separate location – in case of unexpected events such as floods and fires. Every night your data is backed up again, and you can decide how many of these daily backups to keep.

Secure Storage

Businesses can be wary of putting sensitive or business-critical data into the cloud. Removing the worry, at Cloud Geeni we make security a key priority.

This means that everything is stored in high-security data centres, with robust encryption and all the latest security updates continually protecting your system.

Where necessary, we’ll also meet any additional security standards specific to your sector. In addition, if your employees are accessing data remotely, we can establish security measures such as two-factor authentication and the ability to strip mobile devices of all data quickly and easily if they are lost or stolen. Does your current server have the same security measures as this?

Firewall Protection

Cyber-attacks can occur anytime, anyplace. With Cloud Geeni we do the worrying, so you don’t have to.

Firewalls are necessary to reduce the likelihood of hackers and viruses reaching your business over the internet. However, the same level of technology you rely on at home isn’t enough to protect your valuable and sensitive business information. At Cloud Geeni our cloud server services are equipped with Enterprise level Juniper Firewalls (managed by people who read security blogs and updates while on holiday!).

UK Based Data Centres

The location of data centres has become increasingly important, with many UK businesses looking to switch to centres located in the UK. All Cloud Geeni data centres are situated in the UK.

As businesses become more aware of their obligations with regard to the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we ensure that we meet established security levels, have stringent processes for dealing with information, best-in-class service level agreements, and sound backup and retrieval procedures.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Providing an extra layer of security to protect your all-important data.

With best-of-breed 2FA plus policy control, our comprehensive security solution confirms the identity of all your users, and ensures the health of their devices before they connect to your applications. Ultimately, with 2FA from Cloud Geeni, we make security painless, so you can focus on what’s important.

If you’re thinking about investing in cloud technology – but want to know more about how to ensure you stay secure– speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 to find out more.

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[1] The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)