Why You Need to Leverage Add-Ons to Address Your Firm’s Security Needs
Fact: In the last year, approximately 10 percent of accounting firms experienced a network failure that resulted in major downtime, which roughly cost $500 per hour for every 10 employees. Additionally, the highest risk data small accounting firms manage is their clients’ financial account information and 71 percent of security breaches target small businesses.
Although these statistics are staggering, many CPA firms are still reluctant to update their IT infrastructures, processes and security measures, making them easy targets and more susceptible to hackers and cyber threats.
Those that chose to seek help from outside IT and cloud vendors have found they are relieved of the burden and often ahead of the curve in technology and security. This is because cloud providers are continuously updating their security measures and developing solutions to not only meet their client base’s security needs, but also meet the rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats.
As cybersecurity threats continue to become more commonplace, it is more important than ever to work with vendors that are proactive and ensure your vital data and applications will remain safe and secure from spyware, malware and ransomware attacks.
To provide users with additional levels of protection and prevent lost or compromised data, proactive providers are developing and implementing new products, solutions and add-ons, such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and their own file-sharing services.
Protection Becomes Two-fold
The most common security breaches occur when cloud customers choose simple username and password combinations, share login information with other users or use the same login information across multiple platforms. These breaches can easily be avoided if the cloud security methodology of stronger login credentials is passed along to the customer and if the cloud service provider equips its customers with an alternative login solution.
A number of providers are implementing 2FA solutions for their customers. The 2FA practice helps protect client data from hackers actively working to steal important information because, as the name suggests, it requires two forms of information entry in order to access critical data and applications hosted in the cloud. By removing the single access to the program, server or desktop, 2FA has proven to be a safer login alternative.
The 2FA components are something that the user knows and possesses that are inseparable from the user. For example, a strong username and password combination with a unique code sent to the user’s cell phone via SMS text or app notification.
Users could also be asked to identify a specific image they have selected along with their username and password. In addition to being a safer login alternative, 2FA will provide instant notifications of suspicious activity related to authentication requests.
Secure Sending and Receiving
According to recent CPA Trendlines Research, 22 percent of firms said they delivered client tax returns by email, despite the broadly known risks to client privacy. In addition to sending by email, many accountants are using third-party file-sharing tools to send client data. Unfortunately, this is not a better option.
Industry analysts have identified a number of security risks tied to the unauthorized or unregulated use of third-party file-sharing tools, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. These potential risks can cause costly financial impacts in the millions to the average organization.
As a way to combat these risks and better protect customers’ data, some cloud providers are now offering their own proprietary file-sharing solutions. File-sharing solutions provided by vendors enable customers to send files through a secure solution that also meets compliance standards.
Unlike third-party tools, cloud vendors’ solutions typically offer a built-in, 30-day retention backup, data encryption on-device and in-transit, granular user access and security controls and direct integration with their hosted applications. As an added benefit, customers have the ability to align the appearance of their file-sharing solution with their own corporate branding.
We all know nothing is 100-percent secure, however accounting firms can easily send and receive data through the use of a proprietary file-sharing solution while reducing their security risks. These add-on solutions enable accountants to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities with peace of mind, knowing they can exchange important information via a secure solution and protect sign-on credentials from phishing and password guessing software.