How Can Accountants Manage Their Network Security Risks?
How do your accounting clients prioritize their insurance needs? If Privacy & Network Security, also known as cybersecurity, is not at the forefront of their business protection plan, it should be. As reported by the Journal of Accountancy, mobile device use is among the most popular topics talked about in relation to network security risks. This technology is impacting the accounting profession in a huge way, exposing your accounting clients to new network security threats.
According to the Gartner Research Firm, smartphone and tablet sales have been growing exponentially, with individuals not only utilizing them for personal use, but for business as well. “BYOD”, or Bring Your Own Device, has become commonplace in the business world. However, the increased use of these devices has sparked a surge in malicious software that targets cell phones and tablets in particular.
Perhaps the biggest BYOD risk is employees or executives downloading personally identifying or confidential client information to their personal smartphones or tablets. While your accounting clients can’t necessarily prevent BYOD from happening among their employees, there are steps they can take to mitigate their IT security and network security risks. Here are some ideas, provided by David Cieslak, CPA/CITP, CGMA.
- Require the use of lock codes on all mobile devices.
- Unless the data has been encrypted, disallow the storage of work data on personal devices.
- Have a written and signed agreement in place authorizing the accounting firm to remotely erase all files on any lost, stolen, or misplace personal device with access to the organization’s network.
- Instruct accounting employees to never use public Wi-Fi, such as in a coffee shop or airport, unless they route all traffic through a virtual private network (VPN).
The goals of network security should always be for your accounting clients and their employees to take steps to minimize the risk of computer system and data breaches. It’s a wise idea for business owners of any kind to use best practices when creating passwords (i.e. creating passwords with both upper case and lower case letters in addition to numbers), use anti-virus software, and apply security patches to their operating systems.
At PL Risk Advisors, we can assist you in helping your accounting clients develop a risk management program that combines security controls along with a properly structured insurance policy that meets their needs. To learn more about this program as well as our Privacy and Network Security services, please contact us at (855) 403-5982.