2022 was a big year for hackers – some of Australia’s largest businesses had breaches that compromised millions of their customers’ identities and medical histories.
And as these businesses deal with the fallout, one question is swirling around many people’s minds: If these giant organisations were so easily hacked, what about the smaller firms?
Is my mid-tier firm really at risk of a data breach?
The short answer is: yes.
The longer answer is that any firms dealing with valuable information like finances (such as accounting and financial planning businesses) will be very attractive to hackers.
Unfortunately, due to the smaller nature (and thus smaller investments in cybersecurity) of mid-tier firms, it can be difficult to even detect a cyberattack. The current skills shortage also means that SMSF outsourcing and a lack of in-house security knowledge increase the risk of a breach.
Any kind of breach or data leak puts the financial wellbeing and future of your clients at stake; something not many firms will easily recover from.
3 ways accounting and financial planning firms can improve their data protection
Protecting confidential information has never been more urgent as hackers are bolstered by their recent successes. So how can mid-tier improve their data protection and security?
1. Train employees to recognise hacking attempts like phishing
According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), between 2021 and 2022, fraud and email phishing made up 33% of reported cyber crimes. It’s critical that every employee at your firm knows how to recognise fraudsters and phishing attempts.
It’s becoming common practice for businesses to host cybersecurity awareness training for their employees. This involves working with IT firms to run phishing tests and requiring employees to complete mandatory cybersecurity training on a regular basis.
2. Choose the right SMSF outsourcing provider
As mentioned previously, outsourcing creates vulnerabilities for firms if they choose a provider without security measures that meet Australian laws and standards.
Due to the sensitive nature of the data that is shared with outsourcing providers, you should be checking that they have secure portals and servers, plus ISO27001 Certification. Learn more about protecting your client data when outsourcing SMSF admin.
3. Invest in security and response plans
In addition to measures listed above, firms should also be improving their internal security and processes. This can range from simply turning on MFA (multi-factor authentication) for all user accounts to slightly more costly investments like providing secure devices for employees.
The ACSC also recommends that firms should have incident response and data recovery plans that they test regularly.
Want to work with a secure SMSF outsourcing provider?
SuperRecords has long been the outsourced accounting vendor of choice with a 10+ year record of delivering better efficiency, increased capacity, and larger profit margins for thousands of Australian mid-tier accounting and financial planning firms.
You can book a free demo to learn more about how we can safely support your firm with SMSF Administration, Business Services, Paraplanning Support, SMSF Audit, and Mortgage Processing Services
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