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CPA life hacks to keep from getting hacked

Hacker 2I love that my bank, credit cards and insurance companies all have intuitive websites and mobile apps where I can easily pay bills and check my balances. But between Whole Foods, Equifax and Yahoo, I – like many other consumers – am becoming increasingly concerned with what organizations are doing to protect sensitive information.

Even as we become more dependent on IT systems for everything from ordering our groceries to tracking our fitness, cyberattacks are becoming more organized, profitable and persistent. For CPAs, this means growing concerns about both protecting client data and helping clients protect sensitive information.

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are three ways CPAs can remain proactive when it comes to cybersecurity.

  • Think entity-wide, not just system-wide

Organizations, including CPA firms, can no longer think about each of their IT systems independently. They must think about how sensitive information is stored at an entity level across all systems. For example, you might ensure secure access to sensitive client information from computers in the office, but are your staff members also accessing the same information on their phones or tablets?

  • Grow your knowledge

Organizations look to CPAs as trusted business advisors. While not every CPA needs to be an IT expert, it is important to familiarize yourself with current trends, technologies and techniques. Even if you aren’t providing cyber services yourself, grow your knowledge of IT audits so you can answer basic questions and know when to refer your clients to CPAs with more specialized knowledge in this area.

  • Stay up to date on the AICPA cybersecurity resources

Visit our Cybersecurity Resource Center for tools and information on how you can help your clients protect sensitive information. Check out more information on how you can remain proactive on cybersecurity by watching the AICPA’s Amy Pawlicki and EY’s Chris Halterman discuss how CPAs can help organizations of all sizes report on their cybersecurity risk management programs. And save the date for a live webcast with Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants’ CEO Barry Melancon on November 1 at 12pm EDT.

Julia Morriss, Manager – Advocacy Communications, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Hacker courtesy of Shutterstock. 


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