Fighting the good fight

Every company needs a solid plan to tackle digital threats. Are you ready? Get to know the latest in cybersecurity from a CPA perspective, including how to best protect your company’s assets, reputation and customers.

Cybersecurity is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges businesses are facing. It’s no wonder why, when you read the news. Most organizations are underprepared for attacks.

CHALLENGES IN CANADA AND GLOBALLY

Last year brought breach after breach: major API vulnerability at Facebook; hacks exposing the personal information of millions of customers at Bell Canada, Bank of Montreal and Simplii; and ongoing activities from foreign governments to exploit cyber-weaknesses for political gain.

Just recently, Quadriga – whose co-founder served jail time for involvement with an identity-theft ring – lost track of millions of dollars thanks to a lack of accounting records, while Google caught heat for a hidden mic and Chrome browser extensions that require sweeping permissions with no privacy policies.

Concerns around corporate governance and digital regulation are colliding more often with the need for cybersecurity action, especially in finance. Cybercrime damages are forecast to reach costs of $6 trillion by 2021 and Canada is a big target due to our country’s financial wealth, high-tech development and membership in NATO.

So what can CPAs do to make a difference?

DIGITAL STRATEGY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

Companies need more professional accountants who understand cybersecurity issues to help them protect their business interests as well as consumers, stakeholders and public trust. This need is, in turn, creating opportunities for CPAs to build new skills in a high-demand field.

According to John Chen, CEO and Chairman of BlackBerry, it’s about embedding best practices into the business at every step. “Companies should protect the data they manage, not exploit it. Privacy should be embedded by design in the development of products and services.”

Having good data science skills for in-house auditing, decision-making and reporting functions is more crucial than ever for professional accountants in every sector.

Get involved and set yourself apart in a few key ways:

  • Embrace the interdisciplinary: you don’t need to be an IT expert to step up to the plate at work. Your analytical mind, number chops and data literacy as a CPA are an excellent foundation for growth and leadership in cybersecurity.

  • Invest in cybersecurity skills: Tackle cybersecurity head-on with a dynamic program that pairs a deep understanding of your profession with practice guidance on the top issues for CPAs.

  • Pay it forward and educate others: share essential cybersecurity insights with your colleagues – the more people who understand the vulnerability of IoT devices on private internal networks, or the benefits of AI as a safeguard, the better.

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Learn more about where cybersecurity and accounting intersect, including how to fight digital threats and successfully advise your organization, when you register for the two-course Cybersecurity Frameworks Certificate from CPA Canada.

There are also excellent upcoming sessions on cybersecurity at AICPA ENGAGE. As a CPA Canada member, you qualify for a special discount and early bird pricing. Just use coupon code CPACANADA at registration.