The Client and Their Challenge
Late in the day on a Friday afternoon, ACT was contacted by the Operations Manager of a mid-sized NJ CPA firm. The firm’s network was breached, and they were a victim of ransomware. To complicate matters, their internal IT person recently resigned. With no IT support, they did not know where to start remediating the problem. One of their colleagues is an ACT Managed Service client and recommended they call us. For years, a tech-savvy accountant oversaw their technology infrastructure on a part-time basis. Since he also had client-side accounting responsibilities, this dual role meant he was typically reactive, troubleshooting as needed and patching computers as time allowed. Unfortunately, this put the firm’s infrastructure at risk because critical security updates had not been made timely, and nobody was monitoring the servers or network traffic for suspicious activity. These lapses, combined with a lack of security knowledge, ultimately left the firm open to ransomware.
How ACT Restored Their Network
The accounting firm needed ACT to locate the breach, secure the network, and get the practice back up and running by Monday morning. Our support team and security specialists sprung into action immediately and worked diligently through the weekend to accomplish these goals. The teams set up on-site and began installing ACT’s comprehensive security package across the entire network. The security tools helped prevent further attacks and also helped us identify where the breach was originating. We immediately brought the compromised workstation offline and began scanning the network to determine the extent of the damage. Next, we needed to restore the data. The firm had an antiquated backup system in place. Despite being outdated and slow, we successfully restored their data from backup, with minimal issues, by Monday morning.
How ACT Continues to Help
Our job didn’t stop there. It was clear there were significant gaps in their network, and nobody was sure how it was all put together. Therefore, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure. We discovered areas that were not managed strategically or supported appropriately. For example, because the person responsible for IT had limited security knowledge, he had only installed basic anti-virus software and neglected to install it on every device. We also found the backup system was out-of-date and needed to be replaced. The firewall was also outdated, and servers were not running the most up-to-date operating system available. There was zero network monitoring in place, opening the firm up to future attacks and problems. To properly shore up the infrastructure and secure the firm
at every entry point, we installed a new state-of-the-art firewall, updated their servers, and set up reliable backup and disaster recovery systems. As their Managed Service Provider, we provide them with the 24×7 monitoring and proactive maintenance they require to remain secure and efficient. Given the sensitive nature of the data they keep, they also opted for ACT’s Security Suite. This comprehensive suite of security services provides a wide range of solutions to protect their data and defend against future attacks. The security services include, but are not limited to:
• Next-Gen Antivirus
• DNS Perimeter Security
• Multifactor Authentication
• Network Traffic Analysis
• Disk Encryption
• Dark Web Monitoring
• 24×7 Security Operations Center (SOC)
• Security Awareness Training
• and more
The Benefits of the ACT Team
ACT has extensive experience working with accounting firms in the tri-state area. We understand the needs of the industry, the specialized software applications required, and the compliance regulations you must abide by. As a Managed Service Provider, our services are designed to cast a wide net over your entire network, providing you with 24/7/365 monitoring and proactive support. Today, this accounting firm is in a better place. Their entire infrastructure is secure, their network is performing faster and more efficiently, and their professionals can work securely and uninterrupted from any location. As a Managed Service client, they receive a dedicated
team of professionals familiar with their infrastructure. Support is available on-site and remote, as the issues demand. Working with ACT also provides multiple contact points should someone on their team be unavailable when needed. In addition, Managed Service clients can access an expanded group of specialists for complex projects and special implementations.