Important Federal Government Announcement for American Companies

This week, The White House released a strong warning to US businesses and nation allies to act now and ward off potential cyber attacks from foreign agents. The warning is a unique and strong move for the administration who many believe have compelling evidence to suggest the country’s corporations will be targeted soon. Combined with the IRS 4557 guidelines, this represents the strongest mandate yet for accountants to take a leading role to protect private sector businesses of all sizes.

The president had this to say in the press release on March 21, 2022:

“I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners.”

Further on towards the end of the press release, the recommendations were solidified:

“If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately.”

At Practice Protect, we recognize that a warning and recommendation like this from the White House should not be taken lightly. Cyber attacks on American businesses have continued to grow, bearing a significant cost to owners and the economy. The rising geopolitical tensions have created even more motivation for bad actors to target industries in the US who are most vulnerable.

Actions Accountants are Taking

Unfortunately, accountants should see themselves in the crosshairs. As the data and password custodian for many businesses and individuals, tax preparers and accounting firms don’t just represent their own information interests, but the interests of tens, sometimes hundreds, of clients. For this reason, we expect to see increased cyber attack activity across the industry in the coming weeks and months. Our goal is not to spread fear and panic, but rather to ensure that the accounting community is as prepared as they can be, and in the case of a breach attempt, ready and able to respond.

The White House has outlined the following recommendations to increase the preparedness of a business against cyber attacks. They are:

  • Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication. 
  • Deploy modern security and monitoring tools on computers and devices. 
  • Engage cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities. 
  • Change passwords across your networks regularly.
  • Have emergency plans (and practice them) so you are prepared to respond quickly in the case of an attack. 
  • Educate employees to common tactics from attackers whether over email or website use. 

For Practice Protect customers, the above is mitigated with the use of Practice Protect. We are an all-in-one software management solution for the protection of systems access and data sharing inside accounting firms. We act as password protector, data security software, email security safeguard, and cyber security training resource for over 15,000 accountants across the world. As an accountant-only solution, we have been fortunate enough to hyper-focus every feature, advisory service, and software functionality on the bespoke needs of accounting firms. We help our customers with data security plan templates, advice on cyber insurance, and ensuring that access to sensitive applications (linked banking logins) are protected, encrypted, and authenticated.

We encourage all accountants to have the right tools and systems in place to ward against attack – now more than ever, having a solution should be seen as a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have.

We of course believe that when it comes to cybersecurity, there is no better solution for accountants than Practice Protect, but regardless of how you go about protecting your business, please take this moment to review your people management, process management, systems, and protocols.

To learn more about how to protect your firm and staying on the right side of these mandated requirements, book an obligation free accounting cyber security consultation.