You might think your firm is as secure as it needs to be, but it probably isn’t. Relying on technology alone for cybersecurity leaves your clients’ sensitive information wide open to data breaches, data loss, unauthorized access and other persistent cyberthreats.
Sure, technology is important—even necessary—but it can’t effectively stave off security threats on its own. Firms need to consider not just applications but also the human element when implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
Training employees in security best practices, for instance, is critical to the development of any cybersecurity strategy. So is making sure that the technology in place covers every angle to protect clients’ financial information from a cyberattack.
Ultimately, firms need to outsource cybersecurity in order to protect themselves to the greatest extent possible. Outsourcing enables firm employees to focus on serving clients rather than dealing with technology, and it also puts critical security measures in the hands of trained experts.
It will come as no surprise that security isn’t getting any easier to manage, and the threat of a cyberattack is constantly growing, not shrinking. The 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), one of the most comprehensive studies of cybersecurity, revealed that ransomware attacks rose in 2021 at a rate as fast as that of the last five years combined, a 13% increase year-over-year.
Yet many firms still run servers in-house rather than trusting security to a cloud partner. That’s a massive risk, especially since your firm’s employees aren’t qualified to manage security unless they’re cybersecurity experts. And let’s face it—most accounting firms can’t hire security specialists.
The problem is that employees who handle security on top of a bunch of other tasks make mistakes that could prove costly. The DBIR revealed that professional error was the cause of 13% of breaches for all businesses last year.
That’s not a reference to a random employee clicking on a malicious link. What it means is that in more than 1 in 10 breaches, a professional who was supposed to be in charge of security made an error that led to a data breach. Most of those errors involved misconfiguration of cloud storage, the DBIR revealed. Outsourcing security to a dedicated cloud partner virtually eliminates those types of errors.
The other area firms often overlook is employees’ individual computers. Security at the server level is critical, but the machine on each person’s desk—commonly known as an endpoint—can also be a vector for attack and needs protection.
Endpoint attacks are frequent and unpredictable. Almost 70% of IT professionals said their companies experienced at least one endpoint attack that compromised data in 2019, and the number of attacks has only increased since.
The majority are “zero-day” attacks, meaning they’re virtually impossible to see coming. And they’re expensive. The average cost per endpoint breach was $9 million in 2019. Endpoint security, then, is as important as server security—and it can be just as difficult to manage.
It’s bad enough that professionals dedicated to security make mistakes, but a much bigger security threat to firms is employees unwittingly causing data breaches and theft of sensitive information by clicking malicious links or otherwise allowing a cyberattacker unauthorized access to a network.
The “human element”—for instance, somebody in your firm clicking on a malware link—was present in a whopping 82% of breaches in the DBIR. It’s far and away the most common factor in data breaches. That’s why training employees is a critical, though often overlooked, component of cybersecurity solutions.
This is where the process of keeping data secure goes way beyond technology. Any comprehensive security solution needs to incorporate experts from a trusted partner to train employees not only on how to prevent data breaches but on how to recognize them and react if they do occur. Without employee intervention, a firm’s cybersecurity solution is dangerously incomplete.
Are you ready to make your firm’s cybersecurity strategy smarter—and more effective—so you can sleep at night? Contact Right Networks today.
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