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How do I protect against data breaches?

Q: How do I protect against data breaches?

A: Cyber liabilities and data breaches pose big risks to finance professionals, but the good news is that 90 percent of breaches are preventable, according to ZDnet New browser window icon.. But this raises the question — if so many data breaches are preventable, why do they keep happening?

The reality is that many small-business owners — whether you're an accountant, tax preparer, or other finance professional — know their industry backward and forward, but don't know much about data security New browser window icon..

A finance professional has access to heaps of personal information and data. If your business were hacked, criminals might have access to…

  • Client names, email addresses, and contact information.
  • Social security numbers.
  • Bank account and routing numbers.
  • Bank statements and credit card information.
  • E-banking account information.

You're exposed to substantial risk. If a criminal accessed your network, they could use that data for fraud, theft, or identity theft.

So how do you protect against data breaches? Your company should do three things:

  1. Work with an IT consultant to make sure your network and software is secure and your data is properly encrypted.
  2. Use strong, unique passwords (a random mix of numbers and letters) for computer and online accounts.
  3. Invest in Cyber Liability Insurance (also known as Data Breach Insurance) to cover the cost of a data breach response.

These actions will go a long way in helping accountants prevent data breaches and shielding them from the exorbitant cost of a breach. For more tips on data breach prevention, read our post, "Data Breach and Cyber Security: How to Protect Your Financial Firm from Cyber Attacks New browser window icon.."

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