Santa Cruz, CA accounting firm Chiorini, Hunt, and Jacobs recently had their email hacked. The hacked account contained client W2s, tax returns, social security numbers and other personal information. This loss could have easily been prevented, and for free!
You probably send and receive client financial documents including W2s, paystubs, payroll data, tax returns and other paperwork. Clients want electronic documents but the burden of security falls on you.
Email is not secure. Each time you send or receive any sensitive document over email you are putting your business at risk.
Client portals are expensive and often difficult for clients to use. If you have to spend time supporting your clients' password requests or setup questions, that adds to your costs.
Now there is a way to securely send and receive client documents in a way that is both secure and super easy for clients. And it is free for both you and your clients. The free-forever Encyro Essential accounts are still available. Once the busy tax season starts, prices may change.
If you are using paper, that is costing you far more than just the cost of printing.
Clients often ask for copies. It is not just the five minutes to make a copy, but the interruption in your workflow, pulling the file out, running the copy, stamping ‘copy’ on it, and sending it over by mail or spend time on small talk if the client came in to pick it up.
That wasted time could have been spent acquiring or serving more clients.
Email is not an option. Your bank never emails your statement.
Joint research by University of Michigan, Google, and University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, measured over 700,000 mail servers, and found that most had glaring loopholes that allow attackers to reroute emails to their servers. Their investigation of Gmail in particular showed that up to 20% of all messages were attacked.
On Oct 27th, 2017, California accounting firm CHJ reported that their customer data was leaked from one of their email accounts. The leaked data included tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, other tax related documents, and direct deposit bank account information.
Accounting practices and tax preparers are specifically targeted because their customer data includes social security numbers and tax filing details that can be used to not only sell the stolen identity on the black market but also to file fraudulent returns and claim refunds.
Look at your state's Office of the Attorney General website (e.g. California Attorney General's data breach list) that reports data breaches for all businesses in your state. Accounting firms are one of the common type of businesses found in those listings.
The risk is so high that your E&O policy or liability policy usually does not cover it. Look at your policy details and you will find an exclusion for personally identifiable information, or PII. To cover that risk, you could buy a cyber-risk policy. It is very expensive, and even then, only covers documentable expenses such as reporting costs or business interruption costs.
It does not cover the actual loss of business revenue and reputation.
Supermarket chain, Target, for instance, did have a cyber-risk policy but it covered only 36% of their actual loss.
Clients do not understand whose fault it is. It does not matter whether they believe it was your negligence, incompetence with technology setup, or just random chance that brought your data under attack by hackers. What matters is that they will want to avoid your firm from that point on.
While a big business such as Equifax or Target can survive a leak, 60% of small businesses actually shut down after a breach, according to the SEC. Each time your client emails you a sensitive document, you know they have increased their own risk for identity theft and your risk for business data breach.
You do want to offer electronic paperwork to your clients, but previous solutions were both difficult to use and expensive. Indeed, clients may not want to pay extra for a client portal.
If anything, they expect savings from not having to print and mail documents, right?
Clients want the paperwork electronically so they are not waiting for it in the mail and it’s easy to share with others such as their loan officer or business partners. But portal accounts add friction. The reality is that even the simplest account creation or setup instructions can get complicated for people. You invariably end up creating client accounts and resetting their passwords from time to time.
You want to reduce burnout by removing the paper printing, stamping, and mailing workload but that’s no good if the client portal introduces its own complexity and training overheads.
Making It Easy
At Encyro, we believe that digital security should be available to everyone, and not be limited to large corporations with big budgets or dedicated IT departments. That is why we made it free and super easy.
We looked at the entire process around setting up a client portal and getting clients to use it, and then designed a new solution that takes away all the pain points experienced by accountants using previous systems.
Zero Configuration: The first thing we did to make it easy, is remove practically all of the configuration steps required. Almost everything is automatic with Encyro. You simply login to your Encyro account, type in your client's email address and attach the required files to be sent. Encyro takes care of the rest.
On your side, it automatically creates a folder for each client. All documents and messages to or from a client are always available in the client folder. You can even forward them to your staff members or others as needed. You do not have to perform any setup tasks when you add a new client.
On the client side, they receive an email informing them of your secure message. The email does not include the secure document or message. Rather it gives them a link to access the document on a secure webpage. With just one click - no answering security questions or entering passwords. The link automatically expires to keep information secure.
The secure webpage also lets the client create a password to get permanent secure access to their document, should they wish to. And if they do create a password (for free), they can also send you secure messages or documents. Or even share those documents securely with others, such as sending a copy of their tax return to their mortgage broker or their W2 to a new landlord.
You do not have to worry about getting your clients to sign up. You send them documents the same way regardless of whether they create a password or not.
Website Integration: We also made it easy to integrate it into your main website, regardless of whether it is an elaborate web application with multiple functions or a simple WordPress or other website.
Mobile Friendly: The entire Encyro system is mobile friendly.
You can forward documents to your staff or others from your smartphone without even downloading to that device.
Your clients can use the phone to take pictures of receipts or other paperwork and securely send them without the hassles of scanning or transferring files to a desktop computer.
Secure Messaging: Your Encyro account also lets you send and receive secure messages. So you can stop playing phone-tag with your clients. No need to run a 24/7 call center or hire a full time receptionist to be always available. Clients can send you secure messages at any time and you can reply at your convenience. Since the message is secure, they can send sensitive information such as payroll data or financial figures.
Client Retention: Client retention is big for client portals. But most do not live up to it. We changed the design to provide you something that no other portal provides. With Encyro, your client can use their free account to securely send documents to others, such as their loan officer, directly from where they receive the document from you. They too get an auto-organized folder for each party they transact with.
So you are giving them real value for free that encourages them to stick with you. Your folder - with your name, and optionally your photo or business logo, is seen by your client whenever they access their secure documents, even when not transacting with you. Your tax clients will remember you outside of the tax season.
When re-designing to make it super-easy, we also re-designed security safeguards to make it more secure than previous portals.
Encyro uses 13 layers of security, far more than the 5 to 7 layers used by most portals.
Encyro’s system is hosted in security certified data centers, approved for storing financial data subject to Sarbanes Oxley Act, HIPAA privacy requirements, and other compliance needs.
Encyro uses multi-key encryption. A separate key is used for sending data to each user each time. Keys used within the data center never leave the data center and are never used for transmitting data across the Internet. So even if some user's computer is infected, no valuable keys are lost.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is enforced on all network connections, from your device to our server, our server to client devices, and all connections within our internal network. This protects data from eaves-dropping throughout the system.
All user input is transformed to safeguard against SQL Injection attacks. This prevents many common tricks hackers use to compromise data and servers.
Brute force login attempts are blocked early using lockouts and bot detection. So attackers cannot easily try multiple passwords to get access.
All data center access is restricted to a limited set of personnel and requires complex passwords, required to be changed periodically.
All servers, databases and storage networks are protected with independent firewalls. So even if anything does get compromised, the damage will be limited to that component.
All data is backed up with encryption 3 times within each data center. So data is not lost in case of hardware failures such as hard disk crashes or server breakdowns.
Data is also backed up at one or more distant data centers for protection against major disasters.
Server software is automatically managed for regular operating system updates and security patches. This means that the latest security patches and fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities are automatically applied as they become available.
Our personnel recruitment uses the Office of the Inspector General for known fraud information and requires rigorous background checks.
While we constantly evolve our software to add new capabilities, every change is managed through a security compliance process. All software development happens on sandboxed servers with dummy data. Trusted senior personnel review and migrate changes to the production system after individually verifying them.
Automated monitoring rapidly detects any anomalous behavior, including if the website is slow, and alerts our team. Serious alerts are sent directly to the CEO, demonstrating our commitment to exemplary service.
While others can build a document portal, few can match Encyro’s corporate commitment to make information security easy for everyone.
Your accounting firm can benefit from our engineering team’s advanced technology degrees from top universities, dozens of patents in cloud and security technologies, and decades of combined experience in building secure and compliant cloud applications.
Encyro's product outshines the competition on every dimension that matters to you and your clients: be it security, ease of use, or price.
|Security||5-7 layers||13 layers|
|Ease of Client Setup||You create client accounts||Client account automatically created|
|Client Usage||Your involvement needed||Client can self service instantly|
|Price||$1000+ per year||Free|
|Client Retention||One-one relationship||You lead your client's network|
|Mobile Friendly||Varies||Works on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone|
|Data Backups||Varies||Backups at each data center and at distant locations|
Most importantly, you win client trust and loyalty. You give them a portal to not just transact with you but with their entire network including loan officers, property managers and other vendors. Your name and logo remain in the forefront whenever they transact with anyone in their network.
And you get the most mobile friendly portal. Take pictures of paper documents on the phone and send directly, instead of scanning and transferring files.
There is no contract, no set up fee, and no upfront investment in configurations. You are always free to switch away from Encyro should you not find our service exemplary.
More than half of all accounting firms already offer electronic access to documents. More and more clients now expect to receive all their paperwork electronically. You are essentially leaving money on the table if you are not taking advantage of the best product available.
Deliver the convenience of electronic documents with a system that is easy to use for you and your clients. Simply click the button below to claim your free Encyro Essential account. (No credit card or payment information is needed.)
Your clients will love it when they receive their documents electronically, and hassle-free. And you will love the time saved.