May 4, 2021

Pandemic-Related Relief for Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021, offering many pandemic relief benefits to individuals and businesses. One big highlight for families is around Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DC-FSA). The ARPA raised pre-tax contribution limits for DC-FSAs and increased the value of the dependent care tax credit for 2021.

What is a Dependent Care FSA?

A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DC-FSA) is a benefits account that individuals can use to save pre-tax dollars for eligible dependent care expenses. Common uses for a DC-FSA are to pay for childcare such as babysitters and before/after school programs, summer camps and expenses for a spouse who is physically or mentally disabled. Annual contribution limits for DC-FSAs are set by the IRS each year.

What changed for DC-FSAs?

New Limits

The previous DC-FSA 2021 contribution limits were $5,000 for married couples filing jointly and single taxpayers, and $2,500 for married couples filing separately. With the ARPA, the limits are now $10,500 for couples filing jointly and single taxpayers and $5,250 for married filing separately.

Employer plans must be amended for employees to take advantage of the increased limits.

Interaction with Dependent Care Credit

The dependent care tax credit also has increased limits under the new law. For 2021, the maximum amount of expenses eligible for credit is $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (up from $3,000 and $6,000 in prior years).

The credit is now equal to up to 50% of expenses for taxpayers with AGI of $125,000 or less and decreases to 20% as income increases. That 20% minimum will decrease further for taxpayers with AGI over $400,000.  In prior years, the maximum was only 35% for taxpayers with AGI of $15,000 and capped out at a 20% minimum for everyone.

Employees should consider their specific circumstances to determine the combination of the DC-FSA deferral and the dependent care credit that is most advantageous.

Rollovers

The IRS and Congress also provided DC-FSA relief with the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) signed into law at the end of 2020, and IRS Notice 2021-15 issued in March 2021. The CAA allows employers that offer DC-FSAs to allow participants to rollover unused funds from 2020 to 2021 and funds from 2021 to 2022. This gives participants a larger window of time to submit expenses to utilize those funds instead of losing them since COVID-19 quarantines and shutdowns may have caused a lack of childcare expenses in 2020.

Age Out Extension

IRS Notice 2021-15 allows employers to extend the DC-FSA coverage period for dependents who turn 13 years old during the COVID-19 public health emergency timeframe. These dependents would typically ‘age out’ and therefore any expenses for them would not be eligible for reimbursement through the DC-FSA. The limiting age for 2021 is now set at 14 years old, but the expenses can only be reimbursed from unspent 2020 funds.

What should employers do?

Employers must share any plan amendments created by the ARPA, CAA, and/or IRS Notice 2021-15 and communicate to participants that they can make mid-year DC-FSA contribution changes.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss questions around DC-FSAs or recovery options, contact an Anders advisor below.

Erin E. Prest is a contributor to this post.

All Insights

April 27, 2021

Data Security for Banks and Financial Institutions: Top 4 Myths About Moving to the Cloud

Many small-to-midsize banks and financial institutions are still running on-premise Microsoft Exchange email servers, whether in their own walls, or in the walls of their technology service provider. Microsoft recently announced that multiple hacking groups were targeting Microsoft Exchange servers in coordinated attacks, which could cause a damaging data breach for these organizations. With all of the security threats to Microsoft Exchange servers and the amount of sensitive data that banks and financial institutions hold, why haven’t these organizations moved their workloads to Exchange Online? Here are a few common myths we hear and feedback to clear up the misconceptions.

Myth #1: “Exchange servers better protect sensitive customer data.”

Many financial institutions still have Outlook Web Access without multi-factor authentication enabled, which is an easy in for a hacker to access a mailbox and any personal or financial information found in emails. Microsoft recognizes the issue that their older platform is in use and not adequately configured to curb modern security threats on its own. The most recent vulnerabilities on Microsoft Exchange servers that are making national headlines are good evidence for organizations to migrate from an email server to a mail service like Office 365. 

The Capital One data breach of 2019 may have scared away any intentions of financial institutions moving workloads to the cloud. In reality, the cloud-based platform was not actually at fault, as it was a configuration issue on their firewall that caused the breach. That breach may have added a level of untrustworthiness to cloud servers, when the responsibility actually fell on the professionals deploying the firewall. In contrast, no one points out that mega-bank competitor, Bank of America, has never had a breach near the size of Capital One and has been using Microsoft cloud-based products for several years.

Myth #2: “Moving to the cloud is too expensive.”

Some may hear that moving to the cloud is too expensive, but in reality, it can be more cost-effective. Let’s look at the breakdown of server costs according to our Systems Engineer, Joe Szoke. A new Exchange Server might cost $10,000 just for the hardware. If you’re running on-prem Exchange, you’ll also need at least 2 Domain Controllers at another $10,000 each. You’ll need licensing for each server – that’s around $1000 for Windows Server 2019, $780 for Exchange Server, plus about $97 in CAL licensing for EVERY user who wants to access the server. Then, you’ll still need to buy Outlook for your users – Office 2019 Professional Plus is $439.00 today. Once all of that’s done, you’ll still have to pay to maintain the systems – if your server goes down, you pay to fix it.

In contrast, a Microsoft 365 Business Premium license costs just $20/user per month. The entire environment is baked into that license – the administrative dashboards, the servers, the storage space the Office Professional licensing. You don’t have to buy hardware and patching happens automatically. Administration is much less labor intensive – in fact, Anders Technology advisors can handle this for you for a small monthly fee. In this model, your 100 users would cost just $24,000 for the entire first year. Your software would remain perpetually up to date, not just for the year, but for as long as you pay for the license. And, following best practices, your user accounts and data would be secure right out of the box.

Myth #3: “Our technology vendor doesn’t believe we should move to Exchange Online.”

Sadly, most organizations we meet with that have an Exchange server have not even been approached about moving to Microsoft 365. Major technology vendors have invested a lot in providing hosted Exchange services and they are lucrative for them but might not be the best solution for your business’s needs. Make sure to work with a technology partner that has the cybersecurity expertise you need and your best interests and goals in mind.

Myth #4: “We don’t need to move to the cloud because regulatory entities aren’t enforcing it.”

It’s true that even the largest agencies, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cannot tell you to pick one platform over another yet, but they did recently make the statement: “Regulated entities should immediately assess the risk to their systems and consumers, and take steps necessary steps to address vulnerabilities and customer impact.” This rises above which platform you are using and focuses on the important part: protecting your data.

While there are clearly a lot of myths and misconceptions out there around if, when and why to move to the cloud, it’s important to know the facts. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Anders Technology advisors can make the migration seamless so your business can be better protected from a costly data breach. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your company’s unique migration situation.

All Insights

April 6, 2021

Employee Retention Tax Credit Offers Huge Relief Opportunities for the Construction Industry

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) has been a valuable COVID-19 relief option for businesses who faced revenue losses due to ongoing impacts of the pandemic. While some industries were impacted more than others, certain sectors of the construction industry actually expanded in 2020, including homebuilders and industrial contractors. Even if your company performed well overall last year, there could still be an opportunity to claim the ERTC.

Who Qualifies for the ERTC?

Originally part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the ERTC allows businesses to take a credit against payroll taxes in order to help offset some of the business losses due to COVID-19. The original ERTC was only available for businesses who were forced to shut down or whose gross receipts in 2020 were 50% less than the same quarter in 2019. The ERTC has since been expanded, modifying the reduction in revenue by an additional 30%. For 2021, businesses are eligible if gross receipts are less than 80% of the gross receipts for same quarter in the prior year.

Businesses that averaged no more than 100 full-time employees in 2019 qualify for the ERTC in 2020 on wages paid to all employees. For the ERTC in 2021, this employee threshold increases to no more than 500 full-time 2019 employees. Full-time employees are those that work at least 30 hours per week. Union employees are included in the employee count for the credit, but those working part-time (less than 30 hours/week) are not.

How Much Can Businesses Qualify for?

For 2020, eligible employers can take a credit of 50% on qualified wages up to $10,000 paid to employees between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021. In 2021, the tax credit is increased to 70% of qualified wages, which are limited to $10,000 per employee per quarter. With the 70%, the maximum ERTC amount available is $7,000 per employee per quarter, for a potential total of $28,000 per employee in 2021. We have seen clients qualify for anywhere from $5,000 to $2.5 million through the ERTC.

How Could My Company Qualify for the ERTC After a Good Revenue Year?

Unlike other industries, construction revenue typically isn’t cyclical, and contractors can have revenue fluctuations that vary from month to month or quarter to quarter depending on projects. To qualify for the ERTC, the business only needs to have a quarter-by-quarter drop in revenue of 50% when comparing a 2020 quarter to 2019, and 20% when comparing a quarter in 2021 to 2019. You can also look back a quarter for the ERTC, so if your company was down 20% in Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019, you would qualify for Q1 of 2021.

ERTC Case Study

In one unique scenario, a taxpayer with a 40% increase in revenue in 2020 vs 2019 overall assumed they would not qualify for the ERTC. When taking a closer look, we discovered their revenue dropped 50% in Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019, making them eligible for the ERTC in Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021. Projected total benefit for this taxpayer exceeds $200,000.

How Can I Take Advantage of the ERTC?

Initially, the CARES Act prohibited employers who had received a PPP loan from also utilizing the ERTC. New laws allow an employer to claim the credit for any wages paid beyond the proceeds of the PPP loan that have been forgiven. Taking advantage of both PPP loan funding and the ERTC is a great way to maximize COVID-19 relief opportunities.

If you discover you qualified for the ERTC in 2020, you can amend your quarterly payroll returns to claim the credit. If you identify that you qualify in advance, you can reduce payroll deposits for 2021 to take advantage of the credit.

Find out if your business is eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit in 2020 or 2021.

While the above highlights the opportunity for eligible businesses, please contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your situation and recovery options. Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources.

All Insights

April 1, 2021

A Powerful Partnership Built on Trust with the National Wood Flooring Association

The Situation

With three separate and unique not-for-profit entities and a for-profit all housed under one umbrella, the National Wood Flooring Association has a number of complexities to consider in their financial planning – and managing each of them without compromising any tax-protected status is critical to the continued support of their members.

So, as CEO Michael Martin first began searching for an accountant and advisor several years ago, he knew they needed the expertise to help navigate the intricacies of association planning and the service-oriented approach to do everything with an eye for member engagement and retention. That’s what lead him to Anders CPAs + Advisors.

The Partnership

When the Association needed guidance on restructuring in a way that would allow them to streamline processes, gain a full financial overview of every branch, and preserve the Association’s tax status, Anders performed a full audit and created a comprehensive report detailing where improvements could be made. In addition, Anders defined what an in-house CFO role would look like and ultimately helped Martin realize that the most cost-effective solution was an outsourced Controller and CFO. They then helped the Association vet several potential partners to find the right fit.

But this was only the start of a beautiful relationship. Over the years, Martin and his team have turned to Anders for guidance on everything from tax planning to reporting – plus, Anders has helped the Association provide even more value to their own members. In 2018, after the landmark South Dakota vs. Wayfair decision that impacted how sales tax is collected in ecommerce transactions, Anders provided the NWFA with several resources to help their members understand how the decision could impact their businesses.

In 2020, Anders partnership was critical to helping the Association recover from financial losses and deliver valuable information to members in the wake of a global pandemic. In addition to helping the Association identify and pursue potential funding opportunities for themselves, Anders helped build several custom webinars to educate Association members on how to secure PPP Loan Funding – and extended invitations to NWFA members to attend Anders own webinars throughout the course of the pandemic. At every turn, according to Martin, “Anders provides value that goes above and beyond.”

The Results

With Anders continuous guidance, the Association’s accounting services are shored up and strategic, and they’ve seen cost savings, a better use of internal resources, and increased member retention. Thanks to their restructuring, the association’s auditing and reporting processes are both less complicated and less expensive, and they have the peace of mind of knowing that Anders will always proactively update them on anything that impacts their financial planning.

Whether helping with compliance and reporting, member engagement, or day-to-day accounting functions, it’s the Anders commitment to proactive communication and education that continues to make them an invaluable resource for the National Wood Flooring Association and their members: “We’ve never had a question that they didn’t find an answer for,” says Martin, “It’s a partnership built on longevity and trust.”

Learn more about the National Wood Flooring Association and the Anders Not-For-Profit team.

All Insights

March 30, 2021

The 5 D’s of Transition Planning: Why Business Owners Need to Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

Whether you own a growing startup or a multi-generational family legacy, business owners understand that planning for the future is key in reaching business goals. While there are certain factors we actively plan for, including revenue goals, strategic growth plans and the future state of the company, there are other unknowns that require just as much planning. “De-risking” the company is a pivotal first step in preparing for the unexpected. While the owner may think they’re 10 or 20 years out from exiting, circumstances beyond their control can happen at any time. We refer to these circumstances as the 5 D’s: Death, Disability, Divorce, Disagreement and Distress. 

According to the Exit Planning Institute, nearly 50% of all business exits are involuntary and forced by dramatic external factors, and 79% have no written plan. Planning for the 5 D’s will not only give you peace of mind but could have a significant long-term ROI.

The Cost of Not Having a Transition Plan

It is important to run through the tough questions about what you want to happen to your business if you have to exit your business prematurely. Statistics from the Exit Planning Institute have shown that in the four years following an owner’s death, sales decline 60% on average and employment falls around 17%, resulting in a decline in the business’s overall valuation. Additionally, two years after an owner’s death, companies are 20% more likely to fail or file for bankruptcy. Having a plan in place can lower the risk of catastrophe happening to your business in your sudden absence.

Creating Contingency Plans

What do you want your family, clients and management team to know? What do you want to happen if you die or become disabled? What should happen if you or your spouse wants a divorce? What happens if there is a disagreement between business partners? An unplanned exit can not only impact the day-to-day operations of your business, but also the tax and legal aspects of it, along with the value of your company. Creating contingency plans for each of the 5 D’s can help owners properly prepare for any unplanned scenario.

While each of these unplanned events will be treated differently, an important step is creating and communicating the action plan for each contingency. This is done through a contingency letter, which serves as a playbook that is a shorthand to your operating agreement and your estate planning documents. Your contingency letter should outline what you, as the owner, would like to happen if you can no longer operate the business.

Have you planned for these contingencies? At Anders, we partner with business owners to create a personalized plan to de-risk the business. Having a written plan on how your business will handle situations out of your control can protect your business’s value. Anders Business Transition Planning can work with you on a personalized transition plan based on your Value Builder assessment. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

All Insights

March 18, 2021

Why Does Your Startup Need a Valuation?

As a startup owner, you are most likely aware of the crucial financial indicators and balances nestled within your company’s financial statements. Having an idea of your company’s cash balances, total assets and annual revenues can provide insight to estimate what your company might be worth. With all of this information at your fingertips, why would you need a valuation from a third-party?

Benefits of Having Your Startup Company Valued

Having a third-party perform a valuation of your company can help you determine a true, impartial value for your company. The valuator is looking at your company from an unbiased view and is able to determine where your company could make some improvements or enhance things you are doing really well. The valuator can also help analyze the validity of the company’s projections to make them more in line with what is trending within the industry and the local economy. Having this third-party view can be advantageous when pitching your company to venture capitalists or other potential investors who will also be analyzing your company’s financial data.

When a Business Valuation May Be Needed

Below are a few instances that might require a third-party valuation.

Obtaining Financing: Startup financing can come from a multitude of resources. No matter where you acquire your funding, though, the lender or investor will most likely request a valuation report from a third-party valuator. Having a valuation report completed before requesting your funding can help streamline processes and facilitate financing discussions.

Gift and Estate Tax Planning: Getting a proper valuation can help reduce tax liabilities associated with gift and estate tax planning.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Knowing the value of your company can help weed out offers that may be too low and help you determine a fair price for your company. Having a third-party value can also help when negotiating potential offers.

Business Transition Planning: Knowing the value of your company before considering possible exit strategies can help narrow down potential transition options and decide what works best for you. It can also determine areas for improvement to help increase your company’s value before you head into negotiations.

Every startup company is unique and will require a third-party valuation for a variety of reasons. But no matter the company, having a third-party valuation on hand can be a great asset to help improve your company’s growth and value. The Anders Startup Group and Forensic and Litigation team can help provide the guidance you need through the valuation process. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn about the valuation process for your startup.

All Insights

March 14, 2021

33rd Annual Hoops for Hope Tournament Supporting The Child Center

Click here to view current standings!

After an unprecedented 2020 with events canceled around the world, including the NCAA March Madness tournament, we’re excited to announce that our annual Hoops for Hope basketball pool is back for 2021!

What is Hoops for Hope?

Now in it’s 33rd year, Hoops for Hope has grown from a small office pool to a tournament that includes hundreds of the firm’s closest friends. This year, all entry donations will support our 2021 Charity of Choice: The Child Center.

Dan Mudd, a tax partner at Anders, serves on the board and as treasurer for The Child Center and nominated the organization for our 2021 Charity of Choice. The Child Center is a child advocacy center (CAC) serving children and families in Northeast Missouri. A comprehensive, coordinated approach is taken in response to allegations of child sexual and physical abuse occurring in a 14 county service area.

How do I participate?

Hoops for Hope has become one of the year’s largest fundraisers, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Child Center. We suggest a $10 donation per entry, or more if you are charitably inclined.

Step 1:

Donate online:
Visit the Child Center payment portal and:

  • Select whether you would like to purchase a bracket or a sponsorship.
  • If purchasing a bracket, it will ask how many brackets you would like to purchase.
  • The site will ask you to “sign in” via Facebook, email or Google to fill in name, address and phone number to make your payment.

OR

Donate by check:
Checks can be made payable to “The Child Center” and mailed to:
Craig Campbell
Anders CPAs + Advisors
800 Market Street, Suite 500
St. Louis, MO 63101

Step 2: Picks are now closed! Click here to check current standings.

Rules:

  1. Highest total points wins.
  2. TOP WINNERS will receive a prize.
  3. Limit 5 entries per player.
  4. Points awarded by round: R1=2, R2=3, R3=5, R4=7, R5=10 & R6=15
  5. No leapfrogging.
  6. Results will be posted on this website after each day’s games.

The top winning brackets will choose from a prize on the 2021 Hoops for Hope Prize Sheet.

We hope you’ll join in the fun and help us support a great cause in our 33rd annual Hoops for Hope tournament. Click here for tournament history, results and more.

Become a Sponsor

To have a little more fun and get local businesses involved, we created an Alley-Oop Triple-Double Bonus sponsorship, the sponsorship to end all sponsorships! For a minimum donation of $100 or a prize of equal value, a company or individual can get their logo displayed on our Hoops for Hope web page.  If you are interested in becoming a “sponsor” by donating a minimum of $100 or prize of equal value, please email Craig Campbell at ccampbell@anderscpa.com

Hoops for Hope | Alley-Oop Triple Double Bonus Sponsors

Hoops for Hope | Super Dunk Diamond Bonus Sponsors

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  No payment or donation required.  A payment or donation will not improve your chances of winning.  Tournament begins 3/19/21. Entries must be submitted by 10:59 a.m. CDT on 3/19/21.  Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older as of 3/19/21. Void where prohibited.  Sponsored by Anders Minkler Huber & Helm LLP.  For more information, see Official Rules.

All Insights

March 12, 2021

PPP with Paul and Dan Video Series

With new updates and legislation evolving quickly around the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), our CARES Act Research and Response Team has been focused on relaying information you need to know. Two of the team members, Paul C. Rhea and Daniel K. Schindler, are sharing the latest changes around PPP loans and the forgiveness process in their video series: PPP with Paul and Dan.

View each segment of the series below. Check out more CARES Act content in our COVID-19 Resource Center, or learn how we can help your business recover from COVID-19.

March 12, 2021

February 12, 2021

February 8, 2021

December 29, 2020

December 29, 2020

November 10, 2020

October 13, 2020

October 7, 2020

September 18, 2020

September 4, 2020

August 28, 2020

August 21, 2020

August 13, 2020

July 24, 2020

July 16, 2020

June 25, 2020
All Insights

March 9, 2021

Permanent 179D Tax Deduction Incentivizes Energy Efficient Building Improvements

The Consolidations Appropriations Act of 2021 signed into law on December 27, 2020 permanently extended the 179D tax deduction for energy efficient building improvements. This is great news for commercial building owners as they can now take advantage of the 179D tax deduction for energy efficient building upgrades without wondering if and when the deduction will expire. Below we dive into the details to know before taking advantage of the 179D deduction.

BACKGROUND ON 179D AND ELIGIBILITY

The 179D deduction helps incentivize energy efficient construction projects. This deduction was originally created as a temporary measure under the Energy Police Act of 2005 and was extended every year until it expired in 2017. A tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot that reduced the building’s total energy and power cost by 50% or more is available to owners of new or existing buildings who install the following:

  • Interior Lighting
  • Building Envelope
  • Heating/Cooling Ventilation
  • Hot Water Systems

Deductions of $0.60 per square foot are available for situations where expenditures partially qualify by meeting certain target levels or through an interim lighting rule issued by the IRS. For government-owned buildings, this deduction is transferable to the person or company responsible for the energy efficient design. Therefore, architecture and engineering firms that design government owned buildings may also claim this deduction when completing additional requirements.

Under the extender bill of 2019, the deduction is retroactively extended for tax years 2018, 2019 and available for 2020. Qualified buildings placed in service in 2018 and 2019 may be eligible to claim the 179D deduction.

CLAIMING 179D

Eligible building owners can claim the 179D deduction for up to $1.80 per square foot of the entire building for the installation of energy efficient systems into new or existing buildings.

The Anders Real Estate and Construction Group can help determine if your construction project would qualify for the 179D deduction as well as other tax credits and incentives. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

Abigail A. Mabley is a contributor to this post.

All Insights

March 2, 2021

How Construction Companies Can Implement a Cybersecurity Strategy

It’s no secret that data breaches are on the rise, regardless of industry or company size. Protecting your business and employees from cybersecurity attacks is a growing concern, especially for small construction companies and contractors. Most construction companies store sensitive project information, including bids, designs and material pricing, on top of their own financial data and employee information, banking records and other confidential information. With all of this information at risk, it’s shocking that on average, 68% of construction companies spend only 1% or less of annual sales on their IT budget, according to JBKnowledge.

Ensuring your company’s data is protected is a daunting task, and requires time, money and resources to stay up on the latest cybersecurity practices. Whether you’re just getting started in the security process, or ready to ramp up your existing strategy, below we cover the necessary pieces to keep your company secure.

Start with the Basics

Starting with the cyber perimeter of your network is a great place to begin the process of securing your company. A few simple steps can make a big difference. Consider implementing:

A Firewall

A properly configured firewall will take you from being an easy target to having a well-protected attack surface. A firewall should be installed by a certified network engineer. You will also want ongoing technical support and an advanced security subscription to keep your firewall up to date against developing threats.

One feature that is specifically beneficial for the real estate and construction industries is the ability to block by country. Consider blocking the countries that you do not do business with and have no reason to allow them to communicate with your organization. For instance, if you are a construction contractor only working on projects in North America why allow any country outside of the United States, Mexico, or Canada to communicate with your network? Blocking this access helps put up an appropriate barrier against cyberattacks in other countries. If you look at where cybersecurity scams and breaches are generated from, the same list of countries show up over and over. Are you blocking those countries or are you allowing them to knock on your virtual door?

A Spam Filter

Over half of all emails sent globally are spam. A spam filter can help protect against phishing emails and malicious links with strategies to take your password and other sensitive information.

There are many reputable spam filters, but not all are created equal. Some require appropriate configuration to make sure the overwhelming majority of malicious emails are blocked. If a spam filter is not configured adequately, malicious emails will make it to inboxes and increase the probability of one being clicked on by an employee and jeopardizing the entire organization. If you have not already, consider adjusting your spam filter to reduce the number of emails making it through.

Reputable Anti-virus

Viruses are getting increasingly more aggressive., but there are anti-virus tools used to fight malicious software including artificial intelligence, automatic updates, self-cleaning mechanisms and real-time scanning. A reputable anti-virus is the most basic protection of all. Please check with your technology provider when assessing whether your current anti-virus strategy is adequate. Anti-virus and anti-malware help protect computers and servers but should be supplemented with other tactics to provide a holistic cybersecurity approach.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

On average, four out of every 100 employees will click on a malicious link presented to them. A cybersecurity training program can shrink that number and provide best practices on how to recognize threats and what not to click on. Cybersecurity awareness training provides excellent reporting on which employees or groups of employees are causing your organization the most risk. You can evaluate if their cybersecurity awareness improves over time by continued campaigns aimed at changing any bad habits. 

Ramp up Your Security

When you have the basics covered, it’s time to look at more advanced practices to help protect your company’s sensitive data. Consider implementing:

Annual Vulnerability Assessment

This assessment provides critical information about possible vulnerabilities. A simple vulnerability test can identify any areas to improve before implementing a penetration test.

Annual Penetration Test

A third-party organization will attempt to find methods for entering your network and finding valuable data. Annual penetration tests can identify weaknesses to improve upon.

System Information and Event Manager

This service will filter through logs and find particular events for review and potential remediation, such as failed login attempts and malware activity.

Cybersecurity Insurance

Be prepared for an incident with cybersecurity insurance. The cost of a production down situation or breach can be staggering for a business, and cybersecurity insurance can help your business recover from data loss if a breach occurs.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Backup and disaster recovery can save you from losing valuable data in the event ransomware encrypts your data or if data is destroyed. If you have an incident that encrypts your data or deletes your data, you may be relying on a solid backup platform to get things back online. A disaster recovery plan can shrink the impact caused by a ransomware or data deletion event

Management/CIO Services

With all of the moving parts above, it will require management and coordination. This coordination is not always possible by in-house IT for many reasons. Sometimes providers who run multiple businesses, or even businesses within your peer group may have very valuable strategies to use.

Implementing a cybersecurity strategy takes a significant amount of resources to implement and continuously evaluate the effectiveness as new threats arise. Even a dedicated in-house IT employee will most likely need assistance with such a large specialized task. Anders Technology offers the tools, training and managed IT services necessary to keep your company protected, now and in the future. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your specific needs.

All Insights

Keep up with Anders

Want to keep up with all the latest insights from Anders? Subscribe and receive the information that matters to you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.