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Sep 29, 2023 Drew Schildwachter

Fortifying CPA Firms Against Cyber Threats: Essential Tools and Practices

Fortifying CPA Firms Against Cyber Threats: Essential Tools and Practices

In today’s digital landscape, CPAs are the custodians of individual financial and personal information. As cyber threats continue to evolve, safeguarding your clients’ data is paramount. Here are the essential steps to enhance cybersecurity measures at your firm:

Invest in Robust Security Tools

  • Implement industry-standard security tools for network, accounting software, CRM, and email systems.
  • Utilize Multi-Factor Authentication for advanced login security.
  • Employ a VPN for comprehensive web security, especially for remote team members.
  • Leverage password managers like Nordpass, Bitwarden, or Keeper for secure logins.
  • Implement robust firewall protection to monitor and filter incoming and outgoing network traffic based on an applied rule set.
  • Encrypt all data—making sure all sensitive data are encrypted both in transit and at rest.

Cultivate Cybersecurity Expertise

  • Develop a comprehensive Written Information Security Plan (WISP) that clear, actionable steps for your firm in case of incidents. Download a free template from to jumpstart your plan. 
  • Instill a culture of cybersecurity awareness in new hires from the initial screening process.
  • Provide ongoing security training, tailored to employee roles (monthly or quarterly)
  • Conduct due diligence tests using email security providers.
  • Develop access controls and grant user privileges to only those who require it for their job functions.

Choose Trusted SaaS Programs and Services

  • Get support for regular Software Updates and Patch Management. Backup and Disaster recovery are critical in case of a data breach or cyber attack.
  • Use controls when working with third-party providers. Using Indemnification clauses or language requires the provider to maintain cyber insurance in the service agreement–protecting your firm in the event of a breach of a third-party platform by placing liability on the third-party provider. But ultimately, if you pick a poor third-party vendor, you’ll still end up cleaning up the mess and damaging your reputation. -
  • Consider investing in a stand-alone cyber insurance policy to provide adequate financial protection
  • Work with a payroll provider like ConnectPay to call in trusted connections when your clients need additional support you cannot provide. ConnectPay’s Connected Payroll model can help put your clients in touch with local, trusted experts in insurance, network security, and other services. 

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and continuous improvement to adapt to evolving cyber threats. Regularly reviewing and updating your security measures is essential to protect your firm and your clients’ sensitive information

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

20 years ago the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) started Cybersecurity Awareness Month to increase web security for all. For additional cybersecurity resources for CPAs, check out the following organizations if you aren't subscribed already:





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Published by Drew Schildwachter September 29, 2023