Data protection should be priority for finance department, not just IT: BlackLine

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With data increasingly recognised as one of a company’s most crucial assets, finance and accounting leaders feel more should be done to protect it with improved internal controls, according to new research from financial control and automation solution provider BlackLine.

The survey included over 900 respondents from large organisations in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.

While 97 per cent of respondents considered data to be valuable to their business operations and 67 per cent considered it to be ‘very valuable’, there was also widespread reliance on the IT department to manage and control data.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents said while finance and accounting ensures financial systems like the ERP system are regularly updated and the staff is aware of cybersecurity best practices, they leave the vast majority of the upkeep to the IT department. Another 29 per cent said they rely entirely on the IT group.

“Finance and accounting has the opportunity to actively partner with their IT and information security counterparts to better understand the safeguards that are in place; and they should, considering they are primarily responsible for the financial controls for the organisation,” said Patrick Villanova, vice president and principal accounting offer, BlackLine.

Only one in five of the respondents said their finance and accounting department takes a highly proactive role in pursuing optimal data security – but with increasing cyberattacks and the growing value of big data assets, chief financial officers may need to reconsider this stance.

“Protecting the data should be everyone’s responsibility – not just the concern of the IT group,” said Villanova. “By leveraging a cloud platform such as ours or cloud tools from other well-established companies, finance and accounting can strengthen internal controls, provide real-time transparency into enterprise-wide financial data and transactions.”

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