Initially when we had entered the era of cyber space, one could see small shops with computers at every nook and corner of the street providing browsing facility at a cost per hour. Later mobile revolution helped the cyber market to grow and now one can enter the cyber world with one touch. Cyber world is also no different and it has got it’s own POPEYE and BLUTO. Thus arising the need for Cyber security.
So what is cyber security? Cyber security is simply a method or a practice to protect not only the cyber space where the detailed data, programs and designs are stored but also the physical space including computers, laptops, harddrives etc. from unauthorised admittance.
The most common ways of breaching cyber security are through emails asking to click a link, unauthorised messages on mobile, hacking of phones or laptops, installation of malware for directly sending private info without the knowledge of the owner and/or by attractive advertisements leading to deception of information etc.
One of the most lucrative field for the cyber criminal is finance and accounts as it sums up a life of an individual from name, address, relations to income, tax payments and status of a person. And most convenient prey are the small to medium sized accounting houses as they lack the resource of men, material and money to safeguard the information.
If we may wonder, how did Accounts catch the attention of Cyber crimal? The scope of Accounts and Finance is increasing and technology has already touched this area. Customised softwares and cloud accounting is been used by accountants for detailing the accounts. Accountants today are not only the book keepers and tax assessors but also the wealth manager of their clients. Accountants are the new confidante and have all the information about the clients. The details of the wealth, investments, properties etc. and the future steps to be taken for cash appropriations everything is known and charted out by the Accountants. The most efficient way of providing service to the client is through cyber space and this is how they are vulnerable to cyber theft.
Cyber threat is a growing problem and protocols should be strictly adhered to check the problem. The simple steps an Accountant can start following to protect his client’s private data are:
1) He should create strong passwords at every entry level to shield the data information.
2) Firewall is a must, every internet service provider is abide to provide with firewall to stop unwanted entrees. He should be aware of these and should not turn off the firewall.
3) A software provider is already fighting this war and is bringing updates of the software now and then. An Accountant should keep the softwares up to date and be a step ahead.
4) For an extra security, authenticated anti virus should be installed.
5) If the data information stored is too sensitive, he can hire the services of the Cyber security and ease out the pressure.
6) Wi-Fi should have official network for the critical information task and guest network for general work to be performed.
7) Cyber insurance can also be considered as the number of cyber attacks are increasing day by day.
8) Clients should be made aware of sensitivity of data and should be careful to share the same with anyone.
Every coin has the two side, similarly cyber world has its own pros and cons. It is a chess game between Cyber security guards and cyber criminals. Let us not depend on the probability of winning and make the field of Accounts suspicious and dubious rather take appropriate measures to secure the WINS and continue Happy Accounting.