Businesses, irrespective of their size are at a continuous risk of cyberattacks. In particular, organisations and individuals in the financial sector are prominent targets of cyberattacks. Cybercriminals often hack websites, credit card numbers, bank account information and tamper ATMs for customers’ personal identification number. Such cyberattacks are done for immediate illicit financial gains by diverting funds from others’ accounts. Intellectual property and privacy are one of the main concerns of the financial services sector. It is clear that the financial sector is a major target of cybercriminals because “it is where the money is”.

Why is cybersecurity important in the finance and accounting sector?

The financial sector is based on trust, integrity and credibility.

  • According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, banking and financial institutes are 300 times more likely to be at risk of a cyberattack than other companies.
  • According to a report by IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the financial services sector was the most attacked industry for three years in a row by 2018. It accounted for nearly 20% of the cyberattacks across all verticals in 2018.
  • Finance organisations are a target for opportunistic cybercriminals as it stores valuable and sensitive information pertaining to customers. Customers and clients trust the financial service providers with their personal information like social security number, home address, email address, banking details etc. A weak cybersecurity system can allow the cyberattacks to infiltrate the network and its devices, and thus making it easy for cybercriminals to hack important data.
  • Financial services sector is going cashless. Since most of the transactions are done digitally via debit cards, credit cards and net banking, it is essential to ensure the safety and security of the transactions. The use of advanced technology makes this sector more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity will help to keep in check the risk of transactions and data collection.

As a finance and accounting professional, it is important to recognise and be informed of the terms and concepts in cybersecurity to have meaningful conversation and collaborate with others. Cybersecurity prevents the following:

  • Loss of personal data
  • Unauthorised access to systems and personal accounts
  • Fraudulent digital identity
  • Loss of assets
  • Unauthorised use of Personal Identifiable Information

What is the role of finance and accounting professionals in cybersecurity?

  • Identify whether there is an existing cybersecurity risk management program inside the organisation
  • Implement relevant cybersecurity frameworks, controls, and audit programs
  • Implement business controls and audit compliance measures with the CFO
  • Develop a financial plan for investing in cybersecurity technology and insurance
  • Incorporate risk measurements
  • Consider financial, insurance, and resource requirements
  • Communicate financial impact to the management and other stakeholders
  • Comply with data security and privacy laws

With the prevalence of cyberthreats in this sector, regulation is needed to help curb the attacks. The complex nature of cyberattacks requires the finance and accounting professionals to learn and apply their expertise to manage the cybersecurity programme effectively.  

Square Mile Global Consulting offers accredited e-learning courses on Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Data Analytics fundamentals to finance, audit and accounting professionals. 

These courses are accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). All courses come with Certificate of Completion from the AICPA and a Digital Badge is offered on completion of the Certificate courses.

Our Cybersecurity Courses (discounts currently available):

Cybersecurity Fundamentals for Finance and Accounting Professionals Certificate

Prevent Cyber Attacks: What Accounting Professionals Need to Know

For further information about the courses, please connect with us.