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Get on Top of Your Cyber Security

Posted 24 Feb '23

Get on Top of Your Cyber Security

In today's digital age, businesses in Australia and around the world are becoming increasingly reliant on technology and digital systems to conduct their operations. While this reliance on technology offers many benefits, it also exposes businesses to a range of cybersecurity risks, which can have significant financial and reputational consequences. As such, it is important for businesses to ensure that they have robust cybersecurity measures in place, particularly in the context of accounting and financial transactions.

Cyberattacks can lead to the theft of sensitive data, including financial information. To mitigate these risks, businesses should implement security measures such as firewalls, strong passwords, encrypted communication, and regular monitoring of network activity. Employees should also be trained in cybersecurity best practices. It is essential to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, such as the Australian Privacy Act, which mandates the protection of personal information.

Where do I start?

1. Implement Security Measures: To protect financial and accounting operations, businesses in Australia should implement several cybersecurity measures, such as:

  • Use firewalls: Firewalls act as a barrier between a business's internal network and the internet. They monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and can block unauthorized access or malware from entering the network.
  • Use strong passwords: Weak passwords are easy to crack and can compromise a business's network. To prevent unauthorized access, businesses should enforce a policy that requires employees to use strong, unique passwords. Some of the best passwords are multiple words, or sentences, such as “Daughter Samantha Born 12 August” or “My Toyota Is The Colour Silver” as they increase the length and complexity of your password while being easy to remember.
  • Encrypt communication: When communicating financial or accounting information, businesses should use encryption to prevent unauthorized access. Encryption scrambles the information in transit, making it unreadable to anyone who intercepts it. Accounting software such as Xero has inbuilt encryption.
  • Regular monitoring: Businesses should monitor their networks regularly to detect any unusual activity or suspicious behaviour. They can use automated tools or hire a managed security services provider to handle this task.

2. Train Employees: Employees are often the weakest link in a business's cybersecurity defence. To reduce the risk of cyberattacks, businesses should train employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as:

  • Identifying phishing emails: Phishing emails are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to steal sensitive information. Employees should be trained to identify these emails and report them to IT Support.
  • Avoiding suspicious downloads: Employees should avoid downloading any software or attachments from unknown sources as they may contain malware or other harmful software.
  • Reporting any security incidents: Employees should be encouraged to report any security incidents to IT Support or the relevant manager immediately, no matter how small they may seem.

3. Compliance with Legal and Regulatory Requirements: The Australian Privacy Act requires businesses to take reasonable steps to protect personal information from misuse, interference, loss, and unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure. To ensure compliance with this law, businesses should:

  • Conduct regular risk assessments: Businesses should identify the potential cybersecurity risks and assess the effectiveness of their existing security measures. Based on the risk assessment, they can implement additional measures to reduce the risks.
  • Develop an incident response plan: Businesses should develop a plan to respond to cybersecurity incidents such as data breaches. This plan should outline the steps to be taken to mitigate the impact of the breach and the responsibilities of various stakeholders.
  • Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO): A DPO is responsible for ensuring that a business complies with data protection laws and regulations. They should be trained on the latest data protection practices and should work closely with IT Support to ensure that sensitive data is protected.

By implementing these measures, businesses can minimise their cybersecurity risks and protect their financial and accounting operations from cyberattacks. If you want to reduce your security worries, it’s sensible to speak to a cyber security expert. They will be able to review your current systems, networks and security practices and advise you on the key actions that are needed to tighten up your security.

Steven Castelletto

Manager


WDF Accounting and Advisory | Accountants Wagga | Your partners in business

Providing carefully tailored accounting solutions in business advisory, tax compliance, bookkeeping, Self-Managed Super funds, and more.



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