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Cybersecurity Tips from HPG and Poyner Spruill

Industries: Technology

Services: Audit and Accounting

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 15, 2012) ― Corporate directors, general counsel and CIOs have all named cybersecurity as their primary concern, according to a recent survey. Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, one of the largest CPA firms headquartered and staffed in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, recently co-sponsored a panel on the topic with the law firm Poyner Spruill LLP. The two firms share today four cybersecurity tips that the panelist said are often overlooked.

  1. Create a data inventory. Know what data you have, where it is stored, and how it is used. Classify data and devices by criticality so you can prioritize recovery and management efforts.
  2. Know your compliance obligations. A growing body of law dictates information security requirements and noncompliance can result in serious penalties.
  3. Segment your network. An intrusion into one component should not mean that the intruder has ready access to the entire network.
  4. Encrypt portable devices. In addition, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies have a negative effect on cybersecurity. Employees using their personal smart phones, tablets and computers to access, store and share company files can create a risk. Furthermore, a lack of control over threat protection on these devices places user names, passwords and other account information in jeopardy.

“Accounting and financial records are a huge target for cyber-thieves,” says Brooks Malone, HPG partner, and co-lead of the firm’s knowledge-based industries practice team. “The panel really drilled home the need to develop a foundational security policy with trained professionals to implement it and conduct vulnerability/risk assessments regularly.”

Malone moderated the panel, which focused on emerging cybersecurity threats to businesses and key strategies to help reduce risk. The discussion reinforced familiar topics that are often forgotten or ignored including:

Panelists included Elizabeth Johnson, a partner with Poyner Spruill and leader of the firm’s privacy and information security practice, Rick Chilton, Director and Chief Information Security Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina, Jay Madison, Director of Information Security for Red Hat, and Luis Velasco, a counterintelligence specialist with the FBI. “In addition to these tips from the panel, it’s very important to conduct a realistic risk assessment. You can start by checking out lists of reported security breaches to see the types of behavior or missteps that caused others to have a breach,” says Johnson. “I also recommend making contact with law enforcement liaisons, outside counsel, assessors and technical experts, and credit monitoring providers before you have a breach so they can help you more effectively during a breach.”

About Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP (HPG): 
HPG is one of the largest CPA firms headquartered and staffed in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, as ranked by the Triangle Business Journal. More than just an accounting firm, HPG assists clients in looking beyond the bottom linesm by being the right people, right value and right firmsm to achieve each client’s definition of success. HPG is a member of CPAmerica International and affiliated with the Crowe Horwath International alliances of firms, with offices worldwide. The firm leverages this to provide national and global accounting resources to its clients. HPG offers a wide array of business accounting, auditing, corporate tax and management advisory services. Specialties include serving owner-managed, investor-backed technology and life science organizations, healthcare services, real estate development, manufacturing and distribution businesses, as well as providing ERISA audits, family wealthcare services and Sarbanes-Oxley internal audit services.

HPG has remained committed to advancing a thriving Triangle community since its founding in 1983. In recognition, the firm is the recipient of two Pinnacle Business Awards by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce: the 2009 Large Entrepreneurial Business Award and the 2010 Integrity in Business Award. Additionally, HPG has been certified Green Plus by the Institute for Sustainable Development for integrating environmental sustainability efforts into company culture, and has been named one of the top 100 Best Accounting Firms to Work For in the country by Accounting Today.