Accounting firms are the foundation of their client’s success. The information that is held at accounting offices often contain the most personal and proprietary that can make or break a company. Much of the data is held in digital format and in the last number of years this industry has been one that has attracted cybercriminals to plunder. Those involved in breaches make the assumption that accounting offices are too busy in their day to day work to take the extra precautions required to protect sensitive data. One of the easiest methods of getting information has been to take advantage of an accounting firm trading in their old technologies without completely destroying the data as well as going through poorly in-house shredded documents. Each of these can be catastrophic for an accounting firm as their client information can be found and then sold on the dark web. A critical step in today’s combination digital and paper world is to use a professional data and document destruction company such as SHREDDRS to be assured of total elimination of all information and data.
A 2019 IBM report stated: “the average total cost of a data breach in the U.S. was $8.19M —which is the highest cost globally when compared to other countries.” However, this doesn’t reflect the loss when compared to reputation and loss of clients. The same IBM report showed that a firm will be more likely to lose clients to their competitors if there is a data breach and they experience higher customer turnover. 64% of individuals surveyed indicated that they would stop doing business with an organization that had allowed their personal and private information to be stolen.
The relationship between client and accounting firm is based on trust and when that trust is broken with any form of breach, client relationship and firm reputation can be reduced to a point where they may not be recoverable.
The sheer nature of the type of information held by an accounting firm differ from other business relationships in that there can be both direct and indirect repercussions on both the firm and their clients. The same IBM report indicated that 94% of clients said that they would consider taking legal actions on an accounting firm that experienced a breach. This elevates accounting firms to a higher level of accountability that almost any other type of business.
Accounting firms a required to ensure that the internal structure of their networks are well-secured as well as taking the appropriate action to destroy any and all proprietary and personal data in both document and digital formats when the time for destruction occurs. In an age where identity theft and company espionage is being elevated by criminal acts, the only method to ensure total destruction of paper and digital technologies is through the use of a professional data destruction company such as SHREDDRS. Using a professional company will also act as a step to demonstrate conscientious attention to the protection of personal information.
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