The Real Cyber Liability Risks CPAs Face

Our technology-reliant world has streamlined and improved so many practices within every industry, and CPAs are no exception. However, with our reliance on technology and constant interconnectivity comes a novel yet real risk: cyber security threats. After major corporations like Equifax and Target suffered major data breaches, the reality has become even more apparent: everyone is at risk. Rather than become another statistic, however, your firm can take proactive steps to control your security and, in turn, your future. While understanding your risk and working to implement a cyber security policy is required, your first line of defense should your firm experience a breach is a Cyber Liability Insurance policy, a key feature of a comprehensive Indianapolis CPA Insurance Program.

First, let’s take a look at the staggering figures to give your firm some perspective:

  • According to Verizon’s Annual Data Breach Investigations Report, 3,141 is the number of confirmed data breaches, which rose from 1,367 in 2013 to 2,100 in 2014 and jumped to 3,141 in 2015 — nearly a 230% increase over three years.
  • Cybercrime is estimated to cost approximately $2 trillion by 2019 based on Juniper Research’s projections.

Cyber breach prevention strategies.

“Salting” passwords with sporadic symbols and numbers creates a stronger protection against hacks. These passwords should not be shared with anyone and only a limited number of trusted employees should have access to confidential files.

Encrypt all data that is accessible via USB drives, cell phones, laptops, etc. This includes encrypting emails that contain potentially desirable information.

Ensure your staff knows their risks when it comes to using personal devices or opening unknown attachments on company emails.

Staff training.

Staff members should have ongoing training regarding what cyber policies are intact and their responsibility to uphold them, identifying phishing scams, noting when there has been a breach, and how to safely navigate web browsers.

CPAs naturally have a lot of client data stored, making them desirable targets for hackers. The first step in preventing breaches is to identify each risk that the business faces and create a response plan for each vulnerability.

Written cyber protection policy.

Outline the cyber breach prevention strategy that covers all areas, including social media, emails, record retention and destruction, web browsing, etc. Be sure to include staff responsibilities and best practices for preventing attacks.

Stay tuned for our next post where we dive deeper into cyber-attack prevention strategies and what they mean for your CPA’s risks.


About Walker & Associates Insurance

If you’re not sure if your insurance is sufficient, it’s smart business to have your risks evaluated by professionals you can trust. Since being founded in 1960, Walker & Associates has embraced a “service is first” philosophy. Our team is focused on ensuring that each client receives individualized guidance to preserve their assets and control their expenses. Our strong relationships with international, national, and Indiana insurance companies allow us to negotiate the best coverages, terms, and pricing for our clients. Contact us at Walker & Associates Insurance, (800) 213-7126, for all of your business and personal insurance needs.