27 Oct 2020

Cybersecurity Month: VARS urges SMEs to strengthen their information security

“Investing in information security is no longer optional. It has become essential for keeping businesses competitive and ensuring their long-term viability.”

– Guillaume Caron, President and CEO, VARS

Montreal, October 27, 2020 – VARS, a division of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, is capitalizing on Cybersecurity Awareness Month to urge businesses to step up their security with sophisticated solutions that are tailored to their needs.

According to VMware, 99% of Canadian companies have reported an increase in cyber attacks over the past 12 months and the trend is unlikely to subside, especially now that businesses have shifted their activities online1. Businesses need to update their strategies to ensure protection of their data and systems.

“Cybersecurity isn’t optional. It’s a necessary investment that all businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, should make urgently2,” said Guillaume Caron, President and CEO at VARS.

Reducing risk

The pandemic has catapulted telework to the fore and work-from-home arrangements are here to stay. The use of personal devices and unsecured computers, even for temporary periods, can leave the door wide open for hackers. With the sharp rise in phishing scams and ransomware attacks, growing volumes of accesses to manage, and employees increasingly exchanging sensitive information electronically without proper security controls in place, risks are running high for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Consumer confidence hinges on security

Strong business relationships have always been based on trust and information security has become an important part of the equation. Organizations that uphold industry best practices and align with international information security standards—such as those set out by ISO, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Center for Internet Security—have a competitive advantage over businesses that don’t. Moreover, major corporations and government agencies are continually raising the bar for their third-party suppliers, most often small and mid-size businesses, forcing them to meet increasingly stringent security requirements in order to protect their own information security systems.

VARS innovations: Monitoring and detection at all levels and vCISOs

Traditional security solutions like anti-virus and firewalls are important but they aren’t enough to protect organizations against new and evolving threats. SMEs needs to be proactive and have full-time visibility of their networks and systems, including their emails, in order to detect threats. According to a recent IBM report, companies take an average of 207 days to identify data breaches3. This gives hackers plenty of time to plan and execute malicious activities, such as ransomware attacks. VARS offers advanced security solutions, including tools that can detect abnormal and malicious activities across an organization’s systems, data and network.

Hackers scour the dark web to find information such as login credentials and other data on organizations, employees and third parties. Many organizations are unaware that some of their information has been compromised and can be found on the dark web.

“In 2020, VARS dark web scans showed that an average of up to 30% of SME credentials are compromised or available for purchase on the web,” explained Guillaume Caron.

The VARS Virtual CISO Office gives organizations the power to leverage the expertise of a chief information security officer (CISO) without having to search for one or pay for a full-time resource, which can be particularly challenging given today’s skilled labour shortage. Having a full-time CISO could cost SMEs over $250,000 per year.

“VARS can assign a CISO to SMEs, which often don’t need a full-time expert on staff, giving them immediate availability at a fraction of the cost. We can help organizations with specific projects or work with them to develop and manage a complete information security program. In today’s world, any company that wants to remain innovative and competitive needs to embrace the digital shift by embedding security into business processes,” concluded Guillaume Caron.

1According to the August 2020 VMWare survey.
2According to a Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) survey released in October 2020, “Only 43% anticipate more financial resources devoted to cybersecurity in the next 12 months, down from 54% that expected an increase last year.”
32020 IBM report about the cost of data breaches, covered in Digitalguardian.

About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a professional services firm dedicated to the success of organizations and their leaders since 1948. The firm’s advisors are committed to helping clients thrive by obtaining a deep understanding of what is important to them, their business and their industry. This knowledge, combined with a team of motivated and talented professionals help accelerate growth. A Quebec and Canadian leader in the areas of assurance, tax, advisory services and business recovery and reorganization, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton boasts more than 2,800 professionals, including approximately 200 partners, working in over 100 offices across the province of Quebec and in the Ottawa and Edmundston regions.

Together with Grant Thornton LLP, another Canadian firm, and the Grant Thornton global organization, our global footprint spans across more than 140 countries with over 56,000 people who provide real insight, a fresh perspective and agility to keep clients moving ahead.

Information:

Francis Letendre
Head – Public Affairs
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Tel: 514-390-4201
Email: [email protected]

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16 Oct 2020

The Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton family is expanding by welcoming the professionals of Mercier Vallières Lapointe  to the firm.

There is no doubt that Mercier Vallières Lapointe, CPA, S.E.N.C. (hereafter “MVL”) approach, based on developing and maintaining privileged relationships with clients, is in line with our desire to strengthen our position in the Bellechasse region by teaming up with experts who are committed to placing clients and resources at the heart of the action.

After 35 years of existence under this trademark, the MVL team has decided to choose our firm to continue pursuing its ambitions and enhance its clients’ experience.

“We are very pleased to announce that eight accounting, assurance and tax experts will be integrating our large regional team, including Pierre Mercier, David Vallières and Claude Lapointe who are joining us as assurance Partners. We are convinced that we have found in MVL an ally that shares our clients’ values and ours, thus promoting collaboration and excellence.” said Alain Gauthier, Regional Vice-President and Partner.

Based in Saint-Lazare-de-Bellechasse, the MVL experts will continue their activities in their current premises under the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton name. Over the coming months, they will be actively supported by Alain Boucher, Partner, and his Lévis office team.

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08 Oct 2020

Operio, a division of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, offers integrated financial management services to healthcare professionals across Canada in partnership with National Bank.

Together, we can take care of your accounting, taxes, incorporation and financial planning so that you have more time to spend with patients.

Our experts have in-depth knowledge of the healthcare field and are constantly monitoring changes affecting your profession. Whether you’re a physician, dentist, pharmacist or other healthcare professional, we can help you meet the accounting requirements for your mode of incorporation. We’ll also sit down with you regularly to review strategies for maximizing profits.

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About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

A Quebec and Canadian leader in the areas of assurance, tax, advisory services and business recovery and reorganization, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton boasts more than 2,800 professionals, including approximately 200 partners, working in over 100 offices across the province of Quebec and in the Ottawa and Edmundston regions. Together with Grant Thornton LLP, another Canadian firm, and the Grant Thornton global organization, our global footprint spans across more than 140 countries with over 56,000 people who provide real insight, a fresh perspective and agility to keep clients moving ahead.

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05 Oct 2020

It is with great enthusiasm that our firm’s Estrie region has donated a cheque of $12,535 to the Le Tandem organization as part of the OH Sommet RCGT event.

Saturday, March 14, 2020 was to mark the very first edition of the OH Sommet RCGT fundraising event. In partnership with Owl’s Head Ski Resort and Destination Owl’s Head, employees from our firm mobilized to organize a family activity that would simultaneously raise funds for a local organization. They chose Le Tandem, a social and community paediatrics centre that helps underprivileged children aged 0 to 17.

The Centre fosters a needs-based, integrated social medicine approach that builds on the strengths of the child, family and environment. Le Tandem’s mission is to enable children from all backgrounds to unlock their full potential.

Mobilizing for fundraising

In light of the pandemic, the event was cancelled due to the risks associated with spreading the virus during gatherings. Even though there was great disappointment, the organizing committee chose to multiply its solicitation efforts in order to help children in need. The actions of the organizing committee members demonstrate the importance of the firm’s involvement in the community.

Jean Gaouette, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Partner from the Magog office said: “I am very proud of the organizing committee, which persevered despite the situation. Our sense of belonging to the city of Magog and the Memphremagog RCM is very strong, and it is very important for us to give back to our community.”

Pierre Marcouiller and Johanne Bellemare from the Nexcap Foundation also believe in supporting Le Tandem. Like those involved in the OH Sommet RCGT event organization, they agree that it is essential to concretely participate in the health and well-being of one’s community. The Nexcap Foundation made a major donation so that Le Tandem, which welcomes, among others, toddlers in need, can continue its activities.

As for Olivier Bourdeau and Vincent Boutin, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton employees and the event’s organizers, they feel this was a missed opportunity that they would like to revisit.

Bourdeau and Boutin added: “We created a beautiful event concept where families are welcome and can have fun while helping a cause we care about. We’re currently working on preparing a second edition that would take place while respecting the sanitary measures in force, and we hope to see this event come to fruition.

More details to come soon about the second edition. Meanwhile, get your skis ready!