With major information breaches hitting the headlines regularly, the fact that your information is relatively secure counts as a selling point.
Home Depot. Target. EBay. JP Morgan Chase. Odds are strong that your personal data has been compromised by at least one of these major security breaches. If not, you’ve probably been touched by another of the plentiful examples of information theft in recent months. From Adobe to Mozilla, Dun & Bradstreet to the European Central Bank, hacking poses a threat to sensitive data in every sector. This is a problem for every business, and especially those that stake their reputations on providing financial assurance and guidance to clients.
Accounting firms hold the most personal and detailed financial information of all. If your accounting firm is a progressive one that offers extended online access, with cloud solutions to store every kind of client financial detail, or even if it sticks to the tried and true secure databases, you’ve got plenty to worry about. We all do. And that’s why a marketing blog is talking about data security.
Consumers are becoming more and more aware that there’s a huge problem with data security. The institutions we’ve trusted to handle our information – stores, banks, credit bureaus – all seem just as unable to prevent illicit sharing of sensitive information as everyone else. We feel threatened on all sides, and the best answers we get from the technically enlightened boil down to, “Yes, there’s a very serious problem and no one can really guarantee your data is safe.” It’s not terribly reassuring.
Unfortunately, simply taking back our data and keeping it safely in a drawer at home isn’t an answer. That ship has sailed. The ways we shop, save, spend and all the other things we do with money have changed. It just isn’t feasible to “avoid sharing personal information” until things get safer. So the general public is rightfully nervous but without options to mitigate the risk for our information that’s already out carousing around as it makes its digital way around the world.
Want to make us feel better? Tell us you understand. This is one of those rare occasions when you can differentiate yourself positively by admitting you’re scared too. Tell us what you’re doing to protect our data, even if we won’t completely understand the details. Acknowledge the risk, assure us you’re studying up on solutions as fast as you can, and that you already do everything possible to keep our information safe in an unsafe world. Then do it.
Look, we know you’re accountants and not world-class cryptographers. We also trust that you’re not hand delivering our intimate financial profiles to Russian hackers for resale. But we’d appreciate hearing some details that demonstrate how much closer the former scenario is to true than the latter. We’ll respect you for telling the truth and making the effort, even though we know you can’t possibly prevent all data disasters.
For a fun but scary look at recent data breaches, check out the interactive visualizer at the Data Is Beautiful website.