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The Biggest Security Threats to Your Engagements, and How to Defeat Them

7th Jun 2024
Brought to you by
Suralink logo

Suralink provides professional services firms with a single, secure platform to collaborate with clients, exchange documents at scale, and track the progress of engagements. 

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Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

It goes without saying that every professional service provider and their clients want a secure engagement, but that hardly stops bad actors from wanting to do their best to disrupt the process. Hackers, con artists, and social engineers are more active now than ever before, working ceaselessly to worm their way into an engagement and back out again with financial documents, ID information, money, and more.

Whether you’re an accountant helping a client firm with tax processes or an auditor conducting an in-depth evaluation, every type of professional engagement contains highly sensitive information. Because of that, it’s imperative to keep security threats, and their foils, top of mind. We’ve compiled two such threats here, as well as how to defeat them and keep your professional interaction on track!

Threat 1: Digital Security

You might think that strong digital security is too obvious to mention here, but you might also be surprised at how many professionals and clients think that “digital security” means changing passwords every six months. That might foil the casual trickster, but the most dedicated cyber-criminals are much more sophisticated and much more determined. That means it’s going to take a lot more than being creative with your passphrases to keep your data safe.

The solution here is to invest in an engagement platform that itself invests heavily in maximum-grade digital security. More specifically, professionals like you should ensure that a potential vendor is ISO-certified and utilises SOC2 or SOC3-compliant data centers. Beyond certifications, your chosen platform should also be built upon encrypted third-party access and multi-factor authentication at the very least.

Technology like this doesn’t come cheap, and finding a vendor who has completed all of the certifications necessary for your industry can be a rigorous process. But when the alternative is being potentially vulnerable to your data, finances, and more being stolen out from under you, the choice becomes completely unambiguous. So too is the need for a platform that continuously innovates its security and updates its certifications without stagnating on either front.

Threat 2: Social Engineering

Bank-grade security is a formidable defense against bad actors on the internet, but when scammers can’t hack into your information from afar, they resort to another tactic that tech and certifications don’t account for: social engineering.

There’s an old adage that human beings are the greatest flaws in a modern security system, and while that may read rudely on paper, it’s a sentiment with some merit. Thousands of hackers, identity thieves, and other online criminals use social engineering (i.e., engaging with and gaining the confidence of professionals and clients) to gather valuable data when they can’t contend with a digital security system. It’s an approach that has become more common and, unfortunately, more successful in the modern engagement landscape.

There are many forms of social engineering, but one of the most common is urgently asking a stakeholder for a password or other sensitive information while disguising the message as being from a boss or executive. This and other social engineering behaviours are rooted in learning some basic information about a firm’s leadership, then hoping that the urgent wording of the request disguises factors like a slightly off email handle or a strange-looking link.

Social engineering has become a headache for many firms, and nightmare stories about unknowingly surrendering massive sums of money or entire databases are commonplace. The key to beating social engineering is a combination of extra vigilance (i.e., following up with coworkers and bosses to verify whether they actually sent requests) and utilising a platform that restricts document access by role or engagement. These methods aren’t foolproof, but taken together, they can significantly reduce the risk of someone in your engagement being socially engineered by a cyber-criminal.

Security: A Technology and A Behaviour

Staying ahead of security threats means adopting a versatile approach to your engagements. It also means adopting a platform that is continuously evolving alongside the threats that this digital age poses to your engagements.

Suralink, the world leader in PBC request list and engagement software, knows the importance of a secure, meaningful interaction. We ceaselessly invest in both new technologies and every relevant certification with the goal of a meaningfully improved engagement in mind. Click here to learn how else we can help you maintain a secure engagement while also holistically improving the experience!

 

Author: The Suralink Team