White Paper Penned by CAQ Says CPAs Are Vital to Cybersecurity

A new white paper from the Center of Audit Quality (CAQ) asserts that auditing firms have a key role to play in helping companies address cybersecurity risks, reports Accounting Today.

We here at CyberPolicy couldn't agree more. You know better than anyone that certified public accountants (CPAs) handle a large amount of client financial and personal data. If this is not handled carefully, it could fall into the wrong hands, leading to a litany of damages to your client and your business.

Thankfully, cyber insurance for CPAs from CyberPolicy can protect your firm, your client's information and your company's reputation in the event of a data breach.

CPAs: Partners in Cyber Resilience
"Cybersecurity challenges are stark, and they demand that every sector of the economy play a role," says CAQ executive director Cindy Fornelli. "The public company auditing profession will do its part by leveraging its traditional strengths while innovating in ways that can greatly enhance confidence in cybersecurity information and practices."

The CPA's Role in Addressing Cybersecurity Risk, as presented by CAQ, highlights the strengths and values audit firms have that make them especially suited for combatting cybersecurity concerns. Among these traits are core values of independence, skepticism, objectivity, multidisciplinary expertise and experience providing independent evaluations.

For example, CPAs could provide an advisory engagement to help clients heighten their defense programs; or they could offer an examination engagement to take a closer look at the client's security protocols and provide opinions based on their findings.

In fact, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) encourages CPAs to discuss cybersecurity measures with various stakeholders as a method of protecting data every step of the way. In this manner, CPAs can evaluate their own programs, share their risk management expertise and provide advice to anyone they work with.

A Shrewd Approach to Cybersecurity
So, what are the key elements of a robust cybersecurity plan? To stymie cyberattacks and data breaches, CPAs need to focus on:

  • Encryption for sensitive data in storage and in transit
  • The importance of unique passwords for every site and service used
  • Performing an initial risk assessment of strengths and areas for improvement
  • Establishing a contingency plan for reporting and addressing a security incident
  • Limiting and regularly reviewing access privileges to sensitive materials
  • Employing two-factor authentication (2FA) for devices and digital accounts
  • Establishing an audit trail

Of course, even the most safety-savvy businesses can sometimes fall prey to an especially skilled hacker or cybercriminal, which is why it is absolutely vital for firms to invest in cyber insurance for CPAs.

If an attacker breaches your firm, you could be held responsible for significant financial losses. Unfortunately, these incidents sometimes devolve into class-action lawsuits and hefty legal fees, which can sink an account firm or, at the very least, damage its reputation.

Luckily, CyberPolicy offers third-party coverage to protect policyholders and CPAs from claims brought on by customers and clients, including legal fees, settlement, media liability, privacy liability and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit CyberPolicy for your free cyber insurance quote today!

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