Modern enterprises must take effective cybersecurity measures to ensure accounting security. Constantly monitoring new bookkeeping security technologies minimizes the risk of losing essential insights.
According to a study by Comparitech, a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, using financial data for criminal purposes. More than 45% of sensitive information is leaked as a result of hacking, and according to Verizon, 44% of insight thefts are due to illegal employee activity.
Business owners must protect their data from external and internal threats. There are many ways to ensure the safety of information assets and maintain the impeccable reputation of the enterprise.
What Is Confidential Financial Information?
Confidential financial data pertains to the economic transactions of specific individuals or firms. It is important to correctly classify your business insights as their sensitivity parameters may vary.
If attackers gain access to data regarding the name of the enterprise, its address, and the number of employees, this is unlikely to lead to negative consequences. At the same time, the organization may suffer if cybercriminals publish information regarding income, loans, tax, clients’ data, and banking insights. The most sensitive data includes the following:
- bank card numbers,
- bank account information,
- insurance policy number,
- data on capital flows and earnings,
Once you have identified the most critical data that needs to be protected first to ensure the smooth running of the business, it is necessary to develop mechanisms that provide data security.
The Importance of Protecting Accounting Information
In the course of their activities, enterprises generate a massive volume of data. These insights are of great value to hackers as they can sell them for profit or use them to attack individuals or organizations. Let’s look at the main reasons why you might want to ensure proper cybersecurity in your enterprise:
- Security of client data: Your clients trust you as professionals. The last thing you want is to experience a leak of important information because a hacker could use it for criminal activities.
- Protection of company data: According to IBM’s report on the cost of cyber-attacks, the average price of a data breach in 2022 reached $9.44 million for US companies. Not only is it expensive to combat cybercrime, but the detection period for a violation is as long as 280 days, making it difficult to eliminate negative consequences.
- Reputation concerns: If word gets out that your organization has suffered a data breach, it could negatively impact your reputation and discourage customers from doing business with you.
The consequences of illegal access can be devastating, from identity theft to leakage of sensitive corporate information. When criminals delete or alter essential documents, it creates confusion in the accounting department, casting doubt on the accuracy of the information.
Some Tips for Protecting Your Economic Data
We live in an era where most economic data is stored online. While modern technologies make managing financial resources more straightforward and efficient, they also increase the risks of fraud and leakage of insights. Let’s look at what measures should be taken to ensure accounting security.
Choose strong and unique passwords
We talk about this all the time, but it’s vital, so even if you’re tired of the phrase «avoid weak passwords» we’re still reminding you. There are several rules for working with passwords:
- It must contain a combination of numbers and letters.
- Stop using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Never share your password via email or messages.
- Update passwords at least once every three months.
We understand it is convenient to use your date of birth as a password to log into different accounts, but is the convenience worth the leak of data from hundreds or thousands of partners?
Ensure the physical security of your gadgets
Check if the computers that have access to your accounting system are protected. If you prefer laptops, buy or use a particular laptop lock. We do not recommend leaving gadgets with access to important economic data in the car’s back seat. If your organization uses a server, check whether it is located in a restricted area.
Go to the cloud
Despite the active implementation of innovative technologies, every fifth bookkeeper still uses paper media, which increases the risk of data loss. Cloud technology doesn’t just make bookkeeping teams more efficient and scalable. Moving to the cloud means that insights are displayed on secure servers instead of storing accounting data on your local computer, where it can be stolen.
Businesses may rest accessible knowing cloud providers adhere to strict security standards, control updates, and reduce the risk of information leaks. Cloud technologies cut costs and allow you to choose the most effective program solutions.
Train employees in the basics of cybersecurity
According to IBM, 95% of cybersecurity data breaches are due to human error. Training employees in the basics of information protection is necessary to minimize the risk of cyber-attacks.
By providing accounting security training, firms can protect their workers from falling victim to phishing scams and help them develop job skills that don’t expose sensitive data.
Main Types of Cyber Threats
As information technology develops, new types of cyber fraud are emerging that are becoming increasingly difficult to track. However, most economic experts complain about the following digital threats:
- Phishing: This threat occurs when you receive an email from someone pretending to be a legitimate individual or company asking you to click on a link and take a specific action. You are putting your protected information at risk once you click the provided web address.
- Malware: This is the most common type of cyber-attack. Here, malware installed on your computer controls it and can destroy the system and copy sensitive information.
- Ransomware: This is a type of malware that locks a system or specific data and threatens to delete information until the owner pays a specified amount.
When ensuring financial data security, prevention is always easier than cure. While implementing a solid cybersecurity strategy can be complex and costly, it will protect your firm’s client information and reputation.
How to Respond to Information Leaks?
If an accounting department experiences an information leak, immediate action must be taken. Finance representatives should quickly inform the IT or external security teams of potential violations. Professionals should also speak with a cybersecurity insurer to understand whether their policy covers the costs associated with a data breach and what assistance they will provide to improve the situation.
Suppose you receive evidence that hackers have accessed critical data, including customer personal information and financial documents. In that case, you should advise staff on the next steps and actively work with customers to help them protect themselves from information theft.
If you’d like to learn more about modern security tools in the bookkeeping area, check out what BooksTime can do in the financial industry and schedule a free consultation.
We offer clients 24/7 access to industry best practices, strategies and communications tools, and exclusive insights that improve your financial processes and security policy. Our specialists know how to scale your accounting processes and minimize the risks of leakage of important economic insights.