“Cybercrime poses the greatest threat to companies globally,” says Robert Herjavec, CEO and founder of Herjavec Group, a leading cybersecurity firm.
In the article where I first read this quote on csoonline.com, they begin with what Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO, predicted back in 2015, “…cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”
Her prediction is rapidly turning into reality and as was also mentioned in that article – which is important for us to note if we think handling the sensitive financial information for small business clients is not in the sights of cyber criminals, we need to think again.
“Cybercrime has no favorites when it comes to company size. Fortune 500 and Global 2000 corporations, mid-sized organizations, and small businesses are hacker and cybercriminal group targets.”
And here's the rub: According to the 2018 Hiscox Small Business Cyber Risk Report (they specialize in insurance for small and very small businesses)
“7 out of 10 businesses are unprepared to deal with a cyber attack”
The bottom line: just being in the financial field actually raises our risk of cyber attack. Yet the vast majority of accountants and bookkeepers (and vendors who support our profession) are not really paying attention or are practically unaware in day-to-day activities of the growing, grave threats we are up against.
Really! That's not hype.
I've declared August as Bookkeeper Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
In truth, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. My plan is, however, that we, as financial professionals who are advocates for our clients' financial well-being, can use August to raise our own awareness and take decisive action to implement protective measures. Then come October, we will be in a great position to use what we've learned to help guide our clients to make needed adjustments to protect their business security on all levels.
This is not just a feel-good, idealistic statement. I'm taking action so that we can all take a hard look at how we've been running our practices and start chipping away at closing up the gaps that could easily invite disaster. (See the true stories in the downloadable PDF document below)
Throughout this month I'll be sharing information with you here on the blog
to help all freelance bookkeepers be more aware of the very real risks we
now face and what we can do about them.
We all handle sensitive information and watch over the financial well-being
of our clients. Just the nature of what we do puts us at a higher risk risk for being hacked
or even sued!
As a profession, we really need to pay more attention to this!
Save This Date and Let's Take Action Together
I'm running a new free live webinar class specifically to tackle…
- What is Cybersecurity really and what do bookkeepers need to know about the risks
- What you can do to protect yourself and your clients now
- Stories from the trenches on what can happen and how you can foil a breach and minimize loss from an attack
Cybersecurity & Virtual Bookkeeping:
Your Risks and Protection in Today's Cloud-Based Environment
DATE: Thursday, August 15th
TIME: 12:00 noon Eastern
PLEASE NOTE: There will NOT be a free replay of this session. It will be
included as part of a larger paid training program. So if you want to take
advantage of this important class free, you must join us on the live session.
If you feel as strongly as I do about helping fellow bookkeepers and accountants to actively learn more about the cyber threats we face, here is a downloadable info-document you can use (and share) that illustrates the very real risks we face that we might not even realize are there until it's too late.
Thanks goes to Jock Wols of Risk Desk for creating this handy reference to start with educating ourselves, take action and set a safety net with insurance.
Have you or your clients experienced a cyber attack yet?
Please comment on this post below and share your experiences and any lessons learned as a result. Together we can make progress and keep ourselves and our clients safer.