How does cybercrime affect finance?

How does cybercrime affect finance?

Cybercrime was definitely the topic of conversation when it came to security in 2015. Not only was it first featured in the crime statistics with worrying results, but also the festive season highlighted the UK’s vulnerability to online criminals.

And as cybercrime continues to evolve and becomes more sophisticated in the years to come, the threat to business is now greater than ever.

Latest research has revealed that cybercrime is costing large companies average of £4.1m a year, citing specific parts of a company’s operation to be at highest risk.

Most notably, companies have had funds stolen, products in development spied upon and customer data compromised. The latter has been of particular high profile due to the consequential negative publicity; as experienced by leading brands such as TalkTalk and resulted in a 7% fall in its share price.

For accountants in particular, any breach of financial information could be enormously damaging for a firm operating in an industry that is built on trust between the client and customer.

Says Adam Michaelson of Charles McKenzie Associates: “Today, we live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches every aspect of our daily life, even whilst we’re on the move as mobiles act as our remote control.

“Whilst the advantages of convenience and ease of use are clear for us all to see, the threats posed by hackers are very real and can have alarming impacts on individuals, small businesses and even large corporations. And from a financial perspective, it’s really important enough personnel are in place with the necessary training to defend against attack.”

Here are our top tips to help financial sectors defend against hacking and the various types of cyber attack:

Identify the financial assets that your business needs to protect
This will undoubtedly include your customer database, any key financial data or technologies you rely on and specific digital devices your business uses. Consider what information you would need to rebuild in the worst-case scenario and you had to rebuild your infrastructure from scratch

Protect Your Data
Sounds simple, but does your financial team follow a company policy to assess what protective measures you should take should a data breach occur?
Here are a few ideas:
• Ensure you have enough members of the team to maintain control over all the financial data
• Restrict access to sensitive financial information to only those who need it and when they need it
• Keep your software updated on all devices at all times
• Ensure contracts with cloud and technology service provides include strict protection
• Encrypt sensitive financial information
• Back up daily all your work to an external hardrive (and remember to test the back up!)
• Make sure the whole team gets into the habit of changing passwords on a regular basis

For more information on cybercrime or latest job opportunities, please contact Charles McKenzie Associates on 020 7043 0555 or email [email protected].