Companies in the consulting and accounting sector handle sensitive corporate information on a daily basis. This includes the financial books of clients, confidential business plans, personal information, credentials, etc. This data is a goldmine for cybercriminals who can either profit directly from it by using it to commit fraud or by reselling it to competitors. Hence, it is of vital importance for companies to protect it by encrypting their communications, file transfers, and storage.
Confidentiality is part of the service clients pay for. Activities like accounting, audit, and consulting require elevated access to the books and records of client companies. Having such information fall into the hands of a third party may potentially have disastrous business consequences for the client, and by extension for the consulting or accounting firm. Yet, leaks happen at an alarming rate:
- The total number of compromised records containing sensitive information in 2015 was 159,806,735.
- Every three months, there are over 100,000 reported cyberattacks against consulting companies in the USA alone.
- The global cost attributed to account takeover (cybercriminals taking over businesses with the help of stolen credentials) is $800 million.
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. They reveal that accounting and consulting companies are a bit behind in the adoption of cybersecutity measures, compared to other high-stake industries such as banking and pharmaceuticals.
The consulting and accounting sector threat model
Unlike other sectors, where the primary target of cyberattacks would be corporate databases and the information stored there, attacks in the accounting and consulting industry focus on employees. The ultimate aim of cybercriminals is the data of third-party entities – the clients – and the clearance and credentials used by accountants and auditors provide easy access to it. Hence, why a greater emphasis must be placed on securing endpoints such as employee personal devices, rather than on corporate networks.
Another problem the industry faces is the safe storage of sensitive data. Third-party cloud services provide convenience, but little in the way of security guarantees. On the other hand, storing information only on premises, behind an enterprise firewall collides with the need for employees to be able to access it from different locations and at different times. This challenge outlines the need for secure communications and storage of messages and documents on mobile devices.
The solutions Secure Group offers
Secure Group is a provider of encrypted solutions for secure mobile communications. We offer a range of products designed to withstand online and offline hacking attempts. Our approach to security combines strong encryption, securing app and device storage, and fixing the many inherent vulnerabilities of smartphones with modifications going as deep as the OS kernel.
- Secure Pack. A suite of apps for end-to-end encrypted communications over several channels: email, chat, and VoIP. This guarantees the security of communications in transit. But it doesn’t end there. To counter data extraction with malware attacks, we have also made the storage of all apps encrypted. Every message or attachment that you receive is stored only within the application, which is locked and encrypted with a password.
- Secure Phone. A specialized device built exclusively for secure communications. It comes with disabled Internet browsing, disabled Google Services, no Play Store, and several modifications of the Android OS going as deep as the system kernel, which rules out the possibility of malware infections. Secure Phone’s device and app storage are 100% encrypted, and it uses the Secure Pack suite for communication instead of regular phone calls and text messages.
- Secure Administration System (SAS). A mobile device management (MDM) platform, which can remotely micromanage every functionality of Secure Phone – assigning specific policies to a single device, or to a group of phones. For example, it allows you to turn off the camera of a specific user’s phone. In a hypothetical scenario when an employee is in the presence of documents they should not have access to, this will prevent them from taking pictures. The same level of control extends to the phone’s USB, microphone, Bluetooth, etc. It could be used to install and uninstall specific apps on the device as well.
- Self-hosted enterprise solution. By default, the abovementioned services run using Secure Group’s network infrastructure. However, we understand why a company dealing with high-value confidential information would prefer to avoid entrusting communications to a third-party infrastructure. This is why we have designed the abovementioned solutions to be deployable on companies’ own network infrastructure.