Cybersecurity is a term that is a bit of a buzzword, but what does it mean? In accounting, it takes on a very specific meaning. Cyber security involves protecting data from being accessed by people who are not allowed to have access. It also involves protecting your system from being hacked by malicious software or viruses.
In the very broadest sense, cybersecurity encompasses all of the technical and non-technical procedures that you, as an accountant, can follow to keep your data and your systems safe. Most cybersecurity in accounting involves the following:
Keeping information in password-protected systems that can only be accessed by authorized users. (Although this sounds like common sense, we would be surprised if you could count the number of times someone in accounting has given their password to a friend or family member or anyone else who wanted it.)
Restricting access to sensitive information by only allowing certain people access to it (e.g., vendors).
Developing an Incident Response Plan
Developing and implementing an incident response plan in case there is a security breach (which you hope never happens). An incident response plan helps minimize damage and protects your business from lawsuits and other potential issues that can arise if there is a security breach.
Ensuring that only authorized software and hardware are installed on your computers and network. This is especially important with hardware since some types of hardware can be used for unauthorized purposes such as stealing data or sending spam emails.
What You Need To Know About Security Software
Aside from following the other basic cybersecurity measures mentioned above, your other main line of defense is security software. You probably have some security software installed on your computers, even if you are not aware of it.
How Cybersecurity Protects Accounting Firm Data
For example, anti-virus software is simply security software that scans your computer for viruses and other malicious programs that might infect your computer. It is a common misconception that antivirus software protects you from a hack or a security breach. It does not. The only thing that anti-virus software does is protect your computer from known viruses.
However, several other types of security software do provide you with the basic protection from a hack or a security breach. For example, there are password managers, encrypting programs, and two-factor authentication programs.
Some systems monitor all activity on your computers and alert you to anything suspicious. These systems can be somewhat expensive, but if you work for a large accounting firm or work with sensitive data, they might be worth the cost.
If you want to keep your data safe, you must regularly update your software and maintain a good security configuration on all of your computers. You also need to regularly check for malicious programs and regularly back up your data.
Cybersecurity in accounting takes on a very specific meaning. Cyber security involves protecting data from being accessed by people who are not allowed to have access. It also involves protecting your system from being hacked by malicious software or viruses.