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5 Practical Steps to Protect Your Firm from Cyberattacks

It’s a fact: this year your firm will be in more danger of falling victim to cybercrime than it was last year. And although the topic can feel overdone the reality is that cybersecurity is an ever-growing concern. Here you’ll find a concise overview of the cybersecurity landscape, common vulnerabilities, and practical steps you can take right now to protect your firm from cybercriminals.

A Snapshot of Cyberattacks

Here are some key facts that highlight the urgency of implementing protective measures:

  1. Cyber risks ranked as the top global business concern in 2022.

  2. The costs associated with cybercrime are projected to increase by 15% annually over the next five years, reaching an estimated $10.5 trillion globally by 2025.

  3. In 2021, global cybercrime damages amounted to $6 trillion, which would rank as the world's third-largest economy.

  4. Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a 300% surge in cybercrimes, including ransomware campaigns demanding cryptocurrency payments.

  5. The FBI has warned that personal data identifying every U.S. citizen is likely compromised and available on the dark web, which is significantly larger than the surface web.

  6. The adoption of cloud-native development and DevOps processes has increased the complexity of securing software supply chains, with 82% of CIOs admitting vulnerabilities in their supply chains.

  7. Approximately 93% of company networks are susceptible to cybercriminal penetration.

  8. Despite record-breaking breaches, more than 50% of businesses lack a cybersecurity risk plan.

  9. The cybersecurity profession had 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity specialist jobs worldwide in 2021.

Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats

To protect your firm from becoming a cybercrime statistic, it is essential to be aware of the following five major types of cyberattacks:

  1. Ransomware: This malicious software blocks access to your firm's systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom payments for decryption.

  2. Malware: The most prevalent form of cyberattack, malware grants unauthorized access to sensitive data and secure systems. The rise of remote work and personal devices has increased the frequency of malware attacks.

  3. Compromised or Stolen Devices: With the growing connectivity of computers and mobile devices, data breaches can occur through various weak points. Poor digital habits can enable a single individual to compromise an entire network.

  4. Social Engineering: Socially engineered attacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect. Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks exploit phishing techniques to deceive companies into transferring funds to cybercriminals.

  5. Insider Attacks: While less common, insider cyberattacks in which authorized individuals intentionally access or share data for personal gain or disruption pose a unique threat.

5 Steps to Protect Your Firm's Future

To mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, consider implementing the following measures:

  1. Cyber Liability Insurance: Acquire cyber liability insurance to minimize the financial impact of a potential attack. This insurance typically covers credit monitoring, legal fees, loss of revenue, and equipment replacement, providing a safety net for your firm and affected clients.

  2. Security Training: Combat the leading cause of data breaches—employee error—by providing mandatory cybersecurity training. Educate your staff on current cyber threats, best practices for prevention, and enforce security protocols such as a clean desk policy, restricted access, and regular software updates.

  3. Firewalls and Antivirus Software: With remote and hybrid work models on the rise, invest in firewalls and antivirus software to protect your systems. Firewalls block unauthorized web traffic while permitting legitimate outgoing communications, while antivirus software scans and isolates malicious software.

  4. Passphrases and Multifactor Authentication: Utilize complex passphrases instead of simple passwords to enhance security. Multifactor authentication, which combines knowledge (username and passphrase) with possession (unique device), adds an extra layer of protection against compromised credentials.

  5. Partner Alert: Recognize the potential security risks associated with partners and suppliers. Conduct thorough supply-chain security assessments to detect and mitigate vulnerabilities, ensuring that your firm remains secure even if cybercriminals attempt to exploit weaker links.

Navigating Challenges and Mitigating Risks

Despite increased security investments and advanced defenses, combating cybercrime and mitigating the impact of attacks remains challenging. To protect your business, start with a thorough risk assessment that includes evaluating risks associated with partners and suppliers. This assessment will uncover immediate threats, allowing you to prioritize and address vulnerabilities effectively.

As the leading global talent and staffing solutions provider in the accounting industry, TOA Global prioritizes the protection of clients. TOA Global employs the latest security protocols, maintains platforms safeguarded by 24/7 enterprise-grade security, and provides advanced training to their global team members.


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