From preparing tax returns to filing taxes, CPA firms deal with many accounting tasks all around the year for their clients. Since they deal with confidential business information of different clients, they must keep it safe and secure. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, almost every CPA is working remotely, which makes protecting business-sensitive information even more vital for CPA firms. Cybersecurity cases are on the rise. You might have heard of cyberattacks during video conferences or business data being leaked by unauthorized attacks, which caused businesses to lose millions of dollars. Keeping it in mind, most CPA firms need to strengthen their anti-fraud and data security policies by joining hands with renowned cloud solution providers.
If you want to maintain the reputation of your CPA firm, you must ensure maximum security for your client’s data. Next to cybercrimes, advanced technologies are also evolving to combat the impact of security threats.
Given below are five ways you can follow to manage risks related to your clients’ data:
1. Firewall on the Cloud
Let’s start from the basics for those who do not know what a firewall is. A software-based, cloud-deployed security product, cloud firewalls stop or mitigate unauthorized access to cloud servers. It forms a virtual barrier around the cloud infrastructure and blocks cyberattacks that are directed towards these assets. You can also think of a cloud firewall as a global security center with a centralized staff that maintains the security of all the data and applications stored on the cloud.
In the context of CPA firms, a cloud firewall means additional protection for their client’s data. You might not need to invest in firewall deployment if you want to partner with a reliable cloud solution provider. However, you should check if the chosen service provider covers this security aspect.
2. Cloud Access Control
Besides ensuring protection against external cyber threats, you should also work on protecting the data internally. It means providing limited access to the cloud-hosted data to the CPAs in your team. This way, only the authorized team members can access data on the cloud, thus minimizing the risk of losing data. You can also control the cloud access by changing the access passwords frequently and only letting the authorized users know about this change. This also helps overcome the challenges related to ransomware and malware.
You can ask the cloud solution provider about handling the user access control of your dedicated server as per your business requirements.
3. Regular Data Backups
One of the reasons why CPA firms switch to cloud hosting is the need for a secure environment for data. Hosting applications and data on the cloud would be no different than hosting them locally if the cloud solution provider does not ensure data backups. Data backups on the cloud mean the chosen cloud solution provider takes regular backups of the entire cloud environment under its control and at different remote locations. This way, you can quickly recover the data in unexpected situations that may lead to data loss.
You can ask the cloud solution provider about rolling backups and their strategy to implement the same for further information.
4. Data Encryption
For a cloud solution provider, data protection means deploying multiple security measures, including data encryption. Besides the firewall protection, all the data hosted on the cloud needs encryption while at rest or in motion. It is more like a standard procedure followed by them to protect data belonging to different clients. In simple terms, it means encapsulating data in a form that only the authorized users can decipher and use.
Many people do not understand this technical terminology completely. Still, it would be best if you asked the cloud solution providers for such security benefits.
5. Intrusion Detection System
Cloud servers are one of the most vulnerable targets in the eyes of intruders. An IDS or Intrusion Detection System is used to enhance the server security level with the help of systematic examinations of configurations, logs, and authorized user traffic. IDS implementation in the cloud calls for a scalable and efficient approach. Its administration becomes the responsibility of the cloud solution provider you hire. In case of an intrusion activity, the system detects and deploys the required measures to prevent it from harming the cloud-hosted data.
You should also know that the application of security controls in the cloud is significantly different from an on-premise environment. It is where a comprehensive cloud IDS helps in identifying and preventing data security breaches.
Your CPA firm does withhold important client information. Hence, you must hire the right cloud solution provider who takes steps to minimize cybersecurity risks. Cloud-based solutions do offer high-end security. But it would be best if you understood how to select cloud services that are most suitable for your business.
Are you having doubts about cybersecurity issues related to a CPA firm? Let our experts answer your questions. Call us at 1-855-583-7486.