Cyber security……how good are you?

Cyber security……how good are you?

AAT's tax policy adviser Brian Palmer on how to stop procrastinating and put in simple measures to protect your practice and your clients right away

Cyber security……how good are you?

It’s a given that as a trusted adviser, you take the duty of care that you owe to your client extremely seriously – a fact that is best evidenced by their willingness to entrust into your safekeeping vast quantities of sensitive data, on a scale that less than a generation ago would have inconceivable.  They feel empowered to do this, safe in the knowledge that, unless explicitly authorised, you will never discuss their confidential matters with others.

But  – having identified your passion for client confidentially – I would now like to ask you to consider …

“How good are you at ensuring the security of the data you’ve been entrusted with?”

 With Making Tax Digital now firmly a reality, our already addictive dependence on data looks set to continue.

Indeed, we all lead increasingly busy digitally interconnected lives, with a growing list of compliance deadlines to meet.  No sooner has 31 January passed than the 5 April payroll-year-end is looming large in our sights.

We’re all guilty

We are all guilty of procrastinating, even if what we’re supposed to do is not particularly difficult or time-consuming.  Installing the latest software and app updates is a classic or updating anti-virus software is a classic example.

What if we flipped our attitude and made running updates a must-do activity? Not only would we be rewarded with a great sense of achievement, but also by a huge sense of relief of ‘ticking’ a job off. Installing the latest software and app updates helps protect your devices from viruses and hackers as they contain vital security updates – crucial at a time when 55% of UK firms have reported a cyber-attack in 2019.

HM Government’s Cyber Aware #LifeUpdates campaign highlights those ‘to-dos’ like changing service providers, using price comparison sites or adopting useful cost cutting techniques, which only take a few minutes but could have a lasting impact on businesses.

When we need a little motivation to complete these day-to-day tasks, it’s worth considering what would happen if we just didn’t bother!

If we forget to use a price comparison website when changing service providers, or forget to cancel that subscription we no longer need,  it’s more than likely we will end up out of pocket. When we don’t install the latest software and app updates, we are increasing the risk of becoming the victim of a virus or a hack.

Every new update fixes weaknesses in the software that hackers could use to attack our devices and steal our identity; this all brings a potential financial cost and impact on our wellbeing.

Don’t delay, be proactive straight away

Installing the latest software and app updates are important life updates that should never be put off. We want people to know it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. You can install new updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged into a power socket. You can also set devices to automatically install the latest software and app updates when available.

So next time you receive a notification with a new software or app update available – remember to install it as soon as possible. Below are five simple Cyber Aware #LifeUpdates to help you stay secure online:

For more advice on simple ways to be more secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website.

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