An online accountant talks cybersecurity

Issue 2/3 2023 Financial (Industry), Information Security

Osidon is a digital accounting company based in Pretoria. The company develops all its software itself and has also designed cybersecurity software, named Cybadev, to fill the risk gaps and keep clients secure. Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to CEO & founder, Hennie Ferreira, about passwords, cyber risks, and accounting.

The first question to ask is whether businesses are comfortable with an ‘online accountant’? Accounting data is obviously sensitive and you do not want to have just anyone accessing that information. Even when protecting access with a password, phishing attacks are common, and far too many people, falling for these schemes, are conned into sharing their passwords.

Ferreira believes that the authentication landscape will change dramatically over the next few years, as passwords are left behind in favour of multi-factor authentication (MFA). Passwords are something only the user knows (supposedly), but they can be shared or extracted from people quite easily. MFA hardens the access control, making sure authentication is more accurate and reliable before allowing anyone in.

He says MFA systems are based on multiple factors of authentication: ‘something you know’ (like a password), ‘who you are’ (determined by, for example, fingerprint or facial biometrics), and lastly it can include ‘what you have’ (like a token or a cell phone).

“The future of authentication is eliminating passwords and moving towards integrating biometrics in tandem with two-factor authentication,” Ferreira says. “This is where passkey comes into play. A national technology company consortium developed passkey, focusing on the integrated security measures mentioned above.”

“The movement to passkey is exciting and innovative. In the past, cell phones did not have the ability for biometric scanning, but with new technology, phones are more reliable, simple and safe. Business owners and CTOs are becoming more vigilant, and the more generally passkey becomes available, the more old-school passwords will fall away.”

Find out more about passkey authentication at https://fidoalliance.org/passkeys/.

While cybersecurity is a complex world in its own right, business users do not need to be ignorant of the challenges they face. He says the Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP, https://owasp.org/), is a non-profit organisation that publishes many tools, resources and updates regarding how the technology world is changing.

An online accountant?

Moving past the authentication issue, Ferreira says cybercrime has not stopped the world from transitioning to the online world; and the pandemic was a significant catalyst for it – including an online accountant. “The pandemic created a necessity for services to be available digitally in the virtual world,” he adds. “Moreover, everything moving online opened people’s minds to the huge possibilities and even how much more effective a digital service can be.”

“From an Osidon financial services perspective, we take cybersecurity extremely seriously; so seriously that we established our own cybersecurity firm, Cybadev. By implementing a few techniques, we ensure online safety for all our customers, businesses and individuals.”

Some security protocols Osidon is built on include:

1. The company develops all its software on well-known, open-source frameworks. As a result, the security on the platforms is exceptional because these frameworks are constantly under scrutiny.

2. Osidon only uses infrastructure provided by AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or any other reputable major cloud provider. Providers like this will experience significant reputational damages if a cyber breach occurs.

3. The company understands that people are the biggest downfall of social engineering. For this reason, its staff receive training every month to create awareness of the latest industry updates. In addition, Osidon is based on next-generation technology and provides its team with secured devices to ensure no malicious software is on them.

4. And lastly, it also implements penetration testing techniques to ensure its systems are secure.

“So far, we have yet to see cybercrime hindering the adoption of our technology. However, cybercrime isn’t going to vanish, so adopters must be more aware and educated while embracing digital transformation.”

The cybersecurity product Cybadev was born from the cybersecurity need that arose when Osidon was developing its platform. “We couldn’t help but become obsessed with cybersecurity ourselves,” explains Ferreira. “So, after doing all the research and work to ensure Osidon is secure with our unique cybersecurity software, we decided to make it available to smaller companies in South Africa and even interested corporate companies.”

Ferreira says the solution tries to do everything: it’s antivirus and VPN to secure networks, and training awareness to everybody involved in the organisation. He says Cybadev is focused on putting something into the market that is genuinely secure and designed for smaller companies that cannot afford enterprise-grade solutions.

For more information, go to www.osidon.com or www.cybadev.com


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