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Accounting Firm Moss Adams Acquires Cybersecurity Firm AsTech

Moss Adams (an accounting firm founded 105 years ago) has merged in AsTech Consulting (a cyber risk management firm founded 21 years ago). Moss Adams is the thirteenth largest tax company in the U.S., and the leading firm on the West Coast. AsTech is a successful West Coast tech firm that counts the nation's third largest bank among its clients.

Terms of the arrangement have not been disclosed. However, 13 Astech staff will be joining Moss Adams, and AsTech founder Greg Reber becomes a partner in the accountancy firm.

The advantages of the acquisition are clear for both firms. AsTech is introduced to a wide range of important Moss Adams clients, while Moss Adams can improve the cybersecurity offerings to its clients and prospects. The combination of accounting and security advice is a well-established service -- consider America's largest tax firm, PwC.

"Accounting firms are in a trusted position with their clients," Reber told SecurityWeek, "many times acting as an extension of them. This means that they have access to very sensitive financial information and plans. The same can be said for cybersecurity consulting firms. We have very sensitive information regarding a firm's security vulnerabilities and plans to remediate over a certain time period in which they are quite exposed."

Eric Miles, partner in charge of the Moss Adams advisory services practice, said, "We recognize that our clients have a growing need for help with cybersecurity. The high-caliber technical expertise at AsTech will be a critical facet in safeguarding our clients' information technology."

It is natural, continued Reber, "that the clients of accounting firms are asking for cybersecurity assistance from their ëtrusted partner'. We see many of the accounting firms offering these services now, and I believe that this trend will continue. In Moss Adams' case, they have developed a cybersecurity practice over the past couple of years, and are expanding that offering with the addition of AsTech's application security expertise."

The combination provides AsTech with access to existing Moss Adams infrastructure, resources and client relationships, allowing AsTech to grow its own client base. For Moss Adams, it doubles the practice's current security headcount with specialist application security expertise. Both sides believe the arrangement provides a strong growth opportunity their cybersecurity consulting capabilities.

Moss Adams was founded in 1913, and is headquartered in Seattle. It has more than 2,900 staff, and offices in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas. It offers accounting, consulting, wealth management, assurance, and tax -- and now specialist cybersecurity -- services.

Astech Consulting, based in San Francisco, California, was founded by Greg Reber in 1997. In October 2017, it offered a $1 million guarantee for its Qualys Managed Services offering. Its chief security strategist told SecurityWeek at the time, "We first did it with a security program we call Paragon which is specifically for application security: code review and vulnerability analysis and help with remediation, and we ensure that you will not be breached with a $5 million guarantee."

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.