Cyber threats pose a growing risk for small businesses, including accountancies that typically lack the security infrastructures of larger CPA firms. Yet, many small businesses cannot afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity and do not know where to begin.
Cyberattacks are a growing threat for today’s small businesses
The findings from a 2021 report on the impact of cyberattacks and identity crimes on small businesses are sobering. It found that 58% of small businesses have experienced a data breach, security breach or both. Of those businesses, three-fourths have experienced at least two breaches and one-third at least three breaches. Moreover, 36% incurred debt to cover the breach costs and 34% had to dip into cash reserves.1
Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Among the most common types are malicious software (malware) and phishing scams. Malware can include viruses – harmful programs designed to give cybercriminals access to IT systems – and ransomware that infects and restricts access to computers and infrastructures until a ransom is paid.
Phishing scams are one of the biggest threats facing small businesses. Attackers use emails that appear to be from a legitimate organization or known individual to trick users into divulging confidential or sensitive information, or clicking on a malicious file or link that contains some sort of malware.
Compounding the problem is the pandemic’s lasting impact on how companies conduct business. After more than two years of successful remote working, more than 90% of employers are planning to adopt a hybrid workforce model for knowledge workers in 2022, according to the Harvard Business Review.2 But, questions remain about implementation, long-term sustainability and how to overcome challenges like data security.
Hosted cloud environments can help protect IT infrastructures and data
A reported 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud in 2020 as companies pivoted to the “new normal” of remote working, making it more important than ever for employees to be able to access secure networks from any geographic location.3 It’s no wonder then that the cloud market is forecasted to double in size over the next three years with the consumer, financial services and professional services sectors leading the growth.4
Cloud services hosted by a third-party or external provider offer a secure, reliable and remote alternative to on-site data centers and IT infrastructures. These managed hosting service providers – also referred to as Cloud providers – can offer partially-hosted solutions for specific applications (like Thomson Reuters) or fully managed solutions.
Fully managed cloud hosting service providers provide many advantages. They include:
- Security – Protected cloud hosting of software programs and data files greatly minimizes the risk of cyber threats. In addition, some cloud hosting providers also offer a secure portal for clients to connect and share information with your firm.
- Business continuity – Business disruptions come in many forms, from hurricanes and other natural disasters to cyber-crimes. The impact of data loss or corruption can be costly and significant.
- Mobility – Even before the pandemic, today’s mobile world transformed how people do business. Mobility can enhance productivity, communication and workforce flexibility. Cloud solutions provide an in-office desktop experience – including software, apps, files and permissions – that allow employees to securely work from any device that connects to the Internet.
- Cost and efficiency – Maintaining an onsite server can divert both money and human resources away from other parts of a business that produce revenue growth. Cloud hosting reduces IT costs by curbing the demands of maintaining an IT infrastructure and eliminating the significant capital expenses for hardware upgrades.
- Scalability – The workforce and IT requirements of accounting firms often fluctuate in size and seasons. A cloud hosting service offers network scalability that can be tailored to a business’s changing requirements. IT resources (hardware and software) and users can be added to or removed from the network without wasted investment or time to scale.
An affordable IT solution is now available for FICPA members
Sole proprietor CPAs need the same level of security and protection as mid- and large-size firms. However, in nearly all instances, the cost has been prohibitive. Not any longer.
Coaxis, an endorsed program for the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA), has developed a solution designed specifically to meet the budget needs of sole proprietor CPAs at a price point that does not exist anywhere else in the cloud hosting space.
Coaxis CPA provides cloud-protected accounting in a private, hosted environment customized for sole proprietors. The solution supports up to two users for $249/per month and includes a file server; an application server; 250 GB of storage; multi-factor authentication; anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-ransomware software; 10 hours of application support by phone or email and more.
Other features include:
- QuickBooks® hosting – Intuit® authorized provider
- Financial software hosting expertise: Thomson Reuters (CS Professional Suite), Wolters Kluwer (CCH Solutions), Intuit®, Drake Software and others
- Compliant with GLBA, HIPAA and CJIS
- SOC 2 Type 2 Unqualified Audit Opinion
- Secure remote access
- Data backup
This solution requires sole proprietor CPAs to have a functional workstation running Windows 10 or the latest MAC IOS, a TWAIN-compliant printer/scanner, Microsoft Office 365 (E3 or ProPlus with email) and a high-speed Internet connection.
Just like large firms, sole proprietor CPAs need sophisticated cybersecurity protections. Cloud hosting services can provide firms of any size with a secure and reliable defense for their IT infrastructures and remote connections.
“The FICPA is proud to offer our members access to the cutting-edge managed cloud hosting and cybersecurity protections that our endorsed partner Coaxis provides,” said FICPA President and CEO Shelly Weir. “Never before has it been so important to have a secure and reliable IT infrastructure. I encourage all of our members, large and small, to take advantage of the solutions Coaxis has to offer.”
In addition to sole proprietor CPAs, the Coaxis endorsed program also offers special pricing for all other FICPA members. To learn more, visit www.coaxiscloud.com/ficpa or contact Lisa Bryant, executive vice president of corporate development, at (850) 391-1022 or email@example.com.