It can be hard to keep cyber security a constant priority throughout your everyday working life.
Accountants are especially busy during when approaching the personal tax submission deadline at the end of January and finding some time away from clients can be incredibly difficult.
However, just because you are busy does not mean the cyber threats looming over your firm get any less dangerous.
That’s why Lugo are providing you with the top 5 Cyber security tips you can implement start to implement right now.
Cyber Security Tip #1 – Enable Multi-factor Authentication where possible
Multi-factor authentication is another layer of security that is designed to make it more difficult for attackers to access your accounts.
When multi-factor is enabled, you will be asked for your regular password and an authentication code. This will be sent to your authentication device, usually a mobile phone.
Consider enabling multi-factor authentication wherever possible. This will make it much harder for attackers to gain access to your accounts, even if they have your password, as they will require access to you phone to complete the login process.
Mobile phone apps like Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator and Authy can store authentication codes for multiple websites in one place to make the authentication process as simple as possible.
Using an authenticator app is also more secure than getting the code via text message, as SMS has infamously poor security, leaving it open to attack.
Cyber Security Tip #2 – Use a password manager browser extension
A password manager is a brilliant tool that acts as a vault for all your passwords.
The vault itself is protected with one strong master password, however you can also enable multi-factor authentication to help secure access to the vault.
These password managers keep track of long and complex passwords for all your accounts. This removes the hassle of you needing to remember them as many people have dozens of accounts that they require passwords for.
Another benefit of password managers is that they can create secure passwords for you and will suggest new ones when you are creating a new account for a service.
Password managers like LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane also offer browser extensions. When you navigate to a website that requires you to login (Facebook, Gmail, Office 365 etc), the password manager extension automatically enters your stored login information for you.
Password manager extensions save you from needing to manually type out your login credentials, making you more efficient while keeping your passwords safe.
Cyber Security Tip #3 – Update your software when possible
Though it may sound simple, applying updates is one of the most effective ways of deterring cyber-attacks.
Making sure you apply updates for software you use frequently is important for staying ahead of cyber threats. When attackers look at potential companies to target, they scan your network and computer for any vulnerabilities that they can manipulate.
Out of date software is an excellent source of vulnerabilities for attackers. The best defence against these vulnerabilities is to keep software up to date.
Auto update features should be turned on to prevent you from missing important security updates. It is also crucial to make sure your software is still being supported.
If the software supplier does not offer any more updates, then the software is vulnerable to cyber threats. Remove all unsupported software on your devices.
Cyber Security Tip #4 – The Cloud and Backing up your stuff
Frequently backing up vital information can often be overlooked by some businesses: however, it is the best defence against ransomware attacks.
Ransomware attacks occur when a perpetrator places encryption on all your computer’s files and will only give you access if you pay a ransom.
In most cases, the attacker will not give you access back even if you pay the ransom. The only real solution is to reset your computer and start again from your latest backup.
When you store your data in the cloud, it makes it more difficult for attackers to gain access to these files and encrypt them because your computer and your files are in two separate places. This separation helps protect the files from malicious action.
Backups should also be made of cloud data and should be stored in a safe environment. These backups should be taken regularly to prevent major data loss in the case of a cyber-attack.
It is also important to keep a paper copy of any action plans, contact information or critical information you may need if your computer is unusable in the case of a damaging cyber-attack.
Cyber Security Tip #5 – Get Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials is a certification that shows that your firm has defences in place against the most common cyber-attacks.
Getting cyber essentials will help you attract new business because potential clients will have confidence that you are taking steps to protect your client’s information. It may also open some other business opportunities as Cyber Essentials is a minimum requirement to tender for many government contracts.
While getting Cyber Essentials can take time, depending on the size of your firm, you do not have to struggle through the process alone.
Lugo are running a Funded Cyber Support for Accountants Programme to help you through the process with free support available. If you are interested in the opportunity, please click here to find out more:
Funded Cyber Support for Accountants – it’s 100% FREE from ICAS Partner (lugoit.co.uk)