Cybercrime is the second most reported economic crime worldwide and has affected at least one-third of all U.S. companies.
When a business has been breached, its customers’ credit cards, social security numbers, and other identifying information can be used for immediate identity theft exploits. That information is then collected and sold. It’s a business in and of itself, and it happens around the clock. So, what does it mean for a small business or organization in the legal, financial, or medical industry that holds valuable customer data?
What does it mean for Certified Public Accountants who hold everything that cyber criminals want to steal?
What does it mean for healthcare providers that store every patient’s name, date of birth, social security number, billing information, and medical records?
The healthcare industry has become a top target of cyber criminals because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit. As the industry has moved toward electronic medical records, more doors have been opened to data fraud. What makes medical identity especially dangerous is that it is often not immediately identified by the patient or their provider, which gives the bad guys plenty of time to exploit such credentials. That makes your patients’ medical information even more valuable than their credit cards, which can be canceled by banks immediately after fraud is detected.
Medical practices face PR nightmares when a data breach occurs involving their patient records. In fact, healthcare leads all other industries in the number of data breaches, amount of compromised records, and costs associated with such attacks. Unfortunately, most medical-malpractice insurance policies include just modest levels of cyber liability coverage – typically under $100,000. Do the math. Take the number of records your practice stores, and multiply this by $350, the average per-record data breach cost figure. Are you covered? A patient-doctor relationship is critical, and not something to chance crumbling through the malicious actions of an anonymous cybercriminal. Standalone cyber policies with high limits are a lot more affordable than you would think, coming at a very low premium compared to the potential repercussions of a breach. Representing a small percentage of a practice’s annual insurance costs, it is well worth the investment these days.
Meanwhile, small accounting practices have been skeptical that they need to invest in software to take more comprehensive cybersecurity measures, thinking they lack the major resources to exploit. However, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to attack, as hackers have begun to realize that these firms, unprepared for such attacks, are much easier targets. This has resulted in a significant increase in cyber breaches as more and more accounting firms are exposed to serious legal risk from clients whose personal information is found in the wrong hands.
That is why small accounting firms must be at the forefront of cybersecurity. Measures should be taken to ensure that the sensitive personal and corporate financial information they handle is safe. That means utilizing secure encrypted email services, installing the latest software, running the most up-to-date operating systems, and educating employees on how to prevent attacks.
However, even if you aren’t found liable for a data breach, your office is sure to lose a significant amount of money in litigation without insurance. That is why it’s crucial small accounting firms obtain a robust, customized cyber policy. Even if clients try to recoup losses from the attack themselves, they are unlikely to be able to do so in full, holding you accountable.
Is your organization equipped to deal with a major cyber breach? Do you understand the risks your business or practice faces? Give us a call at 845-986-1177.
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