While owners of a public accounting firm are always concerned about these issues (and in some cases, it may keep some awake at night), sometimes our employees do not always think about the impact malware has on our businesses and the clients we service. Employees may be more than happy to click on that clever movie link on YouTube that cousin Betty sent to them at the office. They do not stop and think about the fact that the creator of that content might have embedded malware within the movie file.
It is important for practicing accountants to keep this in mind at all times and to help protect employees from themselves. It is easy to get complacent when nothing bad ever happens at the office and malware never seems to be a factor. However, malware can strike at any time, and it only takes one incident to cause all kinds of problems for an accounting firm. For these reasons, it is important to utilize the tools available to help protect our companies and prevent issues within our offices. This is especially true if we have employees who don’t always think about the impact of opening that YouTube video at the office.
Web proxy filters are a nice addition to the security regimen in an accounting firm. The very reasonable cost makes it a tremendous benefit to operational costs and stability. By using a third-party web proxy service, a firm will enhance its security and reduce the risks associated with malware. It also provides peace of mind for management because it allows for management to protect employees from themselves without being heavy handed. It also reduces the time spent educating employees and/or cleaning up their mess after they do something foolish.
MX Logic has been the industry leader in the development of web proxy filtering. Several organizations I know have utilized this service and found it to be a very beneficial tool in reducing the ability of malware to infiltrate their network and computers. While MX Logic is not the only provider of these services, they are worth investigating as a service provider of web proxy filtering. Other players to consider are Postini, NetCleanse and AppRiver.
Security Update Checklist for Tax Season
Have you done the following in preparation for this tax season?
- Run Microsoft Update on all your computers and, at a minimum, installed all critical security updates.
- Updated all accounting applications including your software accounting suite (QuickBooks, Peachtree, etc.) to make sure they are all current.
- Updated all the drivers for the servers and workstations in your network.
- Updated your browser software if not using Internet Explorer.
- Updated your firewall firmware.
- Updated your antivirus software to the most recent release (engine, platform and definition updates).
- Updated your antispyware software to the most recent release.
- Changed your wireless security keys on your wireless devices.
- Reset user passwords on all your computers that grant access to the network.
- Updated the firmware on any routers or switches on the network.
- Obtained updates for Java, QuickTime, RealPlayer and any other software on workstations that utilize content from the Internet.
- Changed online website passwords that access client confidential information such as payroll information.