Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Sensitive Business Data

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for corporations in the digital era, particularly when sensitive financial data is involved. As business owners, it’s vital to understand the risks your data faces and how to work collaboratively with your trusted professionals and advisors to protect it. Here’s an essential guide tailored for corporate clients on securing your financial information.

Understanding the Risks

Corporate financial data, including banking information, tax records, confidential staff and client information, and proprietary information, is highly attractive to cybercriminals. Threats such as phishing, malware, and ransomware can compromise your financial security and damage your business reputation. Recognizing these risks is the first step toward mitigation.

Implementing Best Practices

  1. Strong Collaboration with Your Advisors: Ensure that the communication channels between your corporation and your key advisors, such as bankers, lawyers, realtors, brokers, and, of course, your accountants at Clearline, are secure. Use encrypted emails or secure client portals for the exchange of sensitive information. 

    Clearline has invested heavily over the past several years in IT solutions to help protect you.  In the summer of 2023, we changed how we share files with our clients.  You can read more about this in our piece called File Sharing with Clearline

  2. Robust Access Controls: Implement strong access control policies. Ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive financial data and that these privileges are regularly reviewed. You should also ensure that access to your online banking, accounting software, payroll records, etc., is secure and that only those who need access to this information can access it. 

    Clearline protects the data we hold on your behalf using multifactor authentication techniques. These techniques require our staff to identify themselves in multiple ways to prevent unauthorized access to our client’s information.

  3. Employee Awareness and Training: Develop training programs for your staff or bring in an IT security expert on recognizing phishing attempts and other common cyber threats. Educated employees are your first line of defence. 

    As a CPA firm, we are a key target of cybercriminals.  We get hundreds of fictitious emails daily trying to trick our staff into providing access to your records. As a result, we provide our staff with annual IT security training and regular reminders of what to look out for and how to avoid inadvertently providing a criminal with access to our data.

  4. Update and Patch Systems Regularly: Keep all business software, including finance management tools, updated to protect against vulnerabilities. This includes regular updates from your software vendors to ensure you use the most up-to-date and secure systems. 

    In 2023, we became aware of a cyber attack on a server farm that many small CPA firms in western Canada were using.  To our knowledge, approximately 50 CPA firms in British Columbia were impacted.  These firms had much, or perhaps even all, of their client data hijacked.  These firms were vulnerable because they were using an older server farm because they were using old software that could not run in a more modern and secure server environment.  So this left them and their clients vulnerable, and the criminals took advantage.  Clearline uses the most modern and secure server environments available, and while this is not a guarantee that nothing will happen, it is one of the best ways to minimize these risks.

  5. Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Use encrypted and hidden Wi-Fi networks for all business operations. Avoid transmitting sensitive financial data over public or unsecured networks. 

    At Clearline, we have separate secure Wi-Fi networks for our employees and then open ones for our clients to use while visiting our office. This way, we work in a more secure Wi-Fi environment while still being able to offer our clients the convenience of Wi-Fi when visiting.

  6. Data Encryption: Encrypt critical financial data in transit between your corporation and your advisors, as well as when stored. Encryption makes it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access or corrupt your data. 

    As mentioned, we operate in the most modern and securely encrypted server environment.

  7. Regular Data Backups: Ensure regular backups of all critical financial data. This practice, often reinforced by your CPA, helps mitigate the impact of data loss due to cyberattacks or other disasters. 

    Our data is backed up using multiple methods. Daily backups are made to our servers, and monthly backups are made to a separate secure backup server. This enables us to retrieve lost information quickly and continue operating even if we are hit with a cyberattack.

Consider the benefits of partnering with specialized cybersecurity experts. These experts can provide advanced threat detection, ongoing monitoring, and detailed security assessments.  Also, consider obtaining cybersecurity insurance to mitigate some of the costs of a cyberattack.


For corporations, financial data security is not only a technical necessity but a fundamental aspect of business integrity. By working closely with IT experts and adhering to best practices in cybersecurity, you can protect your organization from emerging threats and safeguard your business’s future. Remember, in cybersecurity, proactive defence is the best strategy.