Why Accountants Can't Forget Basic Data Security
If large enterprises like Yahoo struggle with data security, imagine how challenging this can be for smaller companies or accounting firms, given their more limited resources and the diverse responsibilities of their managers.
In accounting, there is a simple solution to the data breach problem—encryption. Its adoption is a best practice that CPAs know they should implement, but often put off. Why? The excuses we hear from CPA firms range from “it’s too complicated” to fear of blocking their own access. But if you think encryption is too complicated, consider the impact of a breach.
Data Breach Costs
For the typical individual, the loss of a laptop, for example, is bad, to be sure. But if you are a CPA and you lose your laptop, with all its proprietary and sensitive client and corporate information, it could be catastrophic. In addition, a CPA can be held liable for financial losses that might result if identity theft occurs.
Data breach costs can range from class action lawsuits and fines to the cost of recovering data. But the biggest cost is the loss of revenue that can result from a damaged reputation and the loss of client trust.
The Solution: Encryption
CPAs and accounting firms, given the sensitive nature of the data to which they have access, are obligated to leverage third-party protection to the highest possible standard: full disk encryption.
But there is a problem, especially in small- and mid-sized organizations. When it comes to the installation of full disk encryption, deployment and management are typically the responsibility of an IT department.
However, small firms don’t have IT departments, and the CPAs themselves are busy with day-to-day responsibilities and serving clients and don’t have the resources or skills to handle this themselves. The ideal solution for these firms is to rely on a provider of endpoint security-as-a-service to handle encryption deployment and management.
The most vital—and effective—best practice is to use encryption software to protect all the data on your laptop. We can’t always prevent the loss of a laptop, but we can prevent unauthorized access to what is stored on it.
Any organization worried about the loss from laptops of confidential or private information should invest in an encryption solution. Encryption solutions are easy to use and offer high-quality, reliable protection. An encryption software service provider can do it all, protecting computers and even ensuring compliance with a variety of regulatory requirements.
And once encryption is done, a recovery file is sent to the service provider’s help desk, providing easy access to everything. Even for small practitioners, encryption programs are readily available at an affordable cost.
Unfortunately, it seems that data breaches will continue to make headlines. But don’t let procrastination put your business at risk. The costs are simply too high.