abl facebook

Why Accountants Need a Written Information Security Policy (WISP): Protecting Your Firm from Major Fines and Lawsuits

November 14, 2023
Share this story

In today’s digital world, accounting firms are entrusted with more sensitive client data than ever before. With the ever-present threat of data breaches and cyberattacks, having a comprehensive plan to keep this information secure is not just a good idea—it’s a necessity. This blog post is dedicated to shedding light on the critical importance of implementing a Written Information Security Policy (WISP) for your accounting organization.

As an accounting firm, you are the guardians of highly confidential client data, which may include financial records, tax returns, social security numbers, and a wealth of other sensitive information. The stakes are high, as any breach of this confidential data could seriously harm your firm’s reputation and client relationships.

Despite the risks, it’s astonishing how many accounting firms are still operating without formal information security policies and procedures. This leaves them exposed to a myriad of potential threats, including cyberattacks, data leaks, and violations of data protection regulations. The consequences of not having a WISP in place can be financially devastating.

  • HIPAA violations can result in fines of up to $50,000 per record lost or stolen.
  • CCPA non-compliance may lead to fines of up to $7,500 per record.
  • SEC cybersecurity enforcement fines often reach into the millions.
  • FTC privacy regulation violations can cost up to $43,792 per occurrence.
  • Lawsuits from damaged clients can result in hundreds of thousands in legal fees and damages.
  • Not having a structured plan in place puts your firm at risk of substantial financial penalties and legal costs, in addition to the considerable damage to your reputation.

A comprehensive Written Information Security Policy (WISP) is your shield against these formidable threats. It outlines all the necessary policies and controls your firm needs to protect sensitive data effectively. These key components of a WISP include:

  1. Access Controls and User Permissions: Define who has access to what, and limit access to only those who need it.
  2. Password Policies: Establish strong password protocols to prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Encryption Protocols: Ensure that data is protected with robust encryption measures.
  4. Email and Internet Use Guidelines: Lay out the rules for safe online behavior.
  5. Remote Access Rules: Safeguard remote connections to your network.
  6. Data Backup Processes: Implement reliable backup procedures to prevent data loss.
  7. Incident Response Plan: Prepare for potential security incidents with a well-defined plan.
  8. Cybersecurity Training for Employees: Educate your staff on security best practices to reduce risks.

Documenting these protocols in a WISP ensures that your entire firm understands and consistently follows rigorous security standards. It also demonstrates your commitment to clients and regulators alike.

Developing a customized WISP can be a complex and time-consuming process. That’s where the ABL Computers Team comes in. We can handle the entire journey for you, from planning to implementation. With our expertise, you can rest easy, knowing that your firm’s sensitive data is protected and compliant with all necessary regulations.

Do not leave your firm’s data and reputation vulnerable to the dangers of inadequate information security. Protect your clients, your reputation, and your bottom line by taking the necessary steps to develop a Written Information Security Plan. Contact ABL Computers today to discuss how we can help you establish a robust WISP and ensure the safety of your sensitive data.

Don’t wait until it’s too late—secure your firm’s future today.

ABL Computers
ABL Computers

Started in 2001, ABL Computers is a complete technology solution provider. We are 100% committed to making sure business owners have the most reliable and professional IT service in New York. Our team of talented IT professionals can solve your IT nightmares once and for all.

More about me.

Follow Me

Not Ready To Call Us Just Yet?

No problem, we still want to send you a copy of our recently published report, 21 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An IT Team.

Not ready to make the change right now? Are you sure that your financial service business is not vulnerable to expensive problems, such as, lost data, viruses, hacker attacks and other critical issues? Do you know their policies, procedures, and service standards? This report will provide you with important questions to ask your current IT professional.

Simply fill out the form here and we will send you a copy today!

21 Questions