The world has not witnessed the kinds of cyber attacks it is witnessing now. Back in May this year, there was a ransom-ware attack on cyber security that infected more than 300,000 computers all over the world. The threat and consequences of these attacks increase manifold when you are running an accounting or a financial firm. You are essentially dealing with numbers that cannot be lost and this is what the attackers target, leading to huge losses for the company and its clients. Experts constantly warn of the ever evolving and ever constantly present threat of cyber-crimes. It is therefore, necessary that you make sure you take preventive measures for your accounting and financial firm to keep it safe from these threats. Here is the checklist to follow to prevent your financial or accounting firm from potentially catastrophic cyber-attacks and data breaches.
1. Information Risk Management
It is important to assess the risk posed to the information assets of your organisation the same way and with the same rigour that you would do for your operational, regulatory and legal risks. You also need to make sure all the contractors, employees and anybody in the organisation is well aware of the risk posed to your accounting and financial firm in case there is a cyber-attack leading to data breaches.
2. Secure Configuration
To keep your firm protected from the threat of cyber-attacks, you need to make sure you disable and remove all the unnecessary functionality from the department of IT in your organisation. Keep your systems prepared and patched against any known vulnerabilities.
3. Network Attacks
Your organisation can be exposed to the cyber-attacks and risks in case any person or system in the organisation connects to an untrusted network. It is important that all the traffic is filtered at the network perimeter and only that is allowed which is required to support and run your business. Also monitor the traffic for any malicious outgoing or incoming activity that indicate vulnerability and the threat of an attack.
4. Control Privilege Accounts
It is important that the user access to the IT systems is limited and only shared with the concerned people. Also, give the IT personnel only the information they need to get their job done. Keep a check and control on privileged accounts such as database and system administrators. Make sure that this account is not used for any high-risk activities. Monitor the action of these privileged accounts and make sure they are not used for any task they are not intended to be used for.
5. Malware Protection
If it important to address the security policies of the company for all the business processes that are vulnerable to malware. These include web browsing, email, personally owned devices and removable media. Run scans for malware regularly and use an anti-virus to protect all your client and host machines. Also, make sure to scan all the information that is supplied to or from your organisation for malware.
Remember, cyber-attacks are real and can cost you a lot in terms of lost information and money. With the help of the above-mentioned practices and tips, you can ward off the risk of cyber-attacks on your accounting or financial firm.