Cybersecurity – are your company finances safe?

It's a worrying fact that cybersecurity attacks are rapidly increasing, and any business, whatever its size, needs to be constantly on the alert. Companies are almost entirely computer-dependent for the vast majority of their transactions; communications, trading, marketing, IT, production, customer service, research and development, design, operations – and of course, the vital financial areas of bookkeeping and accounting.

The different types of cyber breach seem to increase exponentially: viruses, rogue software, adware, spyware, phishing, Trojan horses, DOS and DDOS attacks . . . it's a constant battle to keep ahead of hackers and pushers of malware, remain compliant and keep your customers' data secure as well as your own. Recent research across seven countries found that 55% of UK companies have experienced a cyber attack so far in 2019, up by 15% from last year. The same research discovered that UK firms had the lowest budgets for cyber security and an alarming number felt they weren't at risk.

Cybersecurity – are your company finances safe?

It's not just your company's computers which are at risk if you're not sufficiently vigilant. Your finances, your data, and the reputation of the business which you have worked so hard to build can be destroyed by a cyber attack. The worst case scenario could see a business going into administration.

Here are 5 important steps you can take to help boost your business's financial cybersecurity:

1. Back up your financial data regularly

A recent survey revealed that well over 50% of businesses risk losing critical data, and nearly four million businesses have inadequate back-up strategies which could threaten their existence. In particular, if you have an SME and your financial records are on your desktop, then you need to take urgent steps to protect it. Always back up your data to an external or cloud-based storage location at the end of every working day.

2. Provide staff training

Make sure all your employees understand and appreciate how vital cyber security is to the business and ultimately to their own jobs. The government has produced a free online training resource aimed at SMEs which you can utilise to keep your staff informed.

3. Ensure your computers are secure

Do you regularly check and update your computer security software? It's very easy to ignore updates; you're so busy you need the computer right now, and updates can take a while, so it gets put off again. Ensure the settings are turned to automatic updates to avoid this, and install firewall security to protect any internal networks

4. Monitor computer use by your employees

Make sure all employees understand the protocols for computer usage right from the very start of their employment. This applies particularly to the rules transferring data from a personal device or USB stick, which is probably the most likely route of infection. Take a rigorous approach to passwords; employees should change them regularly. Believe it or not, 'password' is still one of the most common. Make sure your staff are more inventive.

5. Consider cyber insurance

No cyber insurance can cover every eventuality, but whilst it won't recover your reputation in the event of a cyber attack, it could pay for you to employ a specialist to help while you concentrate on keeping the business going. However, taking out insurance can never be a substitute for awareness and vigilance.

Here at AMR Bookkeeping Solutions we take cybersecurity exceptionally seriously; our clients depend on it. We're always happy to advise on compliance for your financial data and suggest solutions to keep it secure.

In order to ensure that transactions with our clients are subject to strict security, we offer a OneClick portal service which allows us to connect, communicate and work with clients without risk. Email is subject to increasing levels of hacking and deception; as bookkeepers we can see first-hand the lengths people go to to deceive our clients, and it can be time-consuming to carry out vital security checks. The OneClick portal enables us to correspond with our clients concerning confidential information about their income and tax situation. Clients can log on to the portal with a secure password, upload bank account details, payroll information and other documents and be confident in the security process, while we have the immediate assurance that both documents and correspondence are genuine.

Personal banking, insurance, and numerous other transactions are carried out on secure cloud-based portals, so it makes sense to do the same for your bookkeeping requirements. Get in touch and make sure you're doing all you can to promote your business's cyber safety.

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