Panel Discusses Effects of Cyberattacks at Annual Conference for State Legislators

August 25, 2016

Joe Demarest v 4 NCSL 2016

Cybersecurity was a top issue at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2016 Legislative Summit this month in Chicago, where EY Executive Director of Advisory Services Joe Demarest joined panelists in discussing the damaging effects cyberattacks can have on governments, businesses and consumers.

Demarest, who formerly served as the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, said that 

organizations face threats from many actors – including foreign governments, hacktivists, and company insiders – all of whom can often see a big financial payoff with relatively little effort.

Joe Demarest, EY Executive Director of Advisory

The ease with which cybercriminals can gain information resulted in over a billion consumers worldwide becoming cybercrime victims in 2014, panelists noted.  Meanwhile, businesses are facing loss of records, release of confidential client information and entire systems being shut down.

While there is no way to completely stop all such breaches, the cybersecurity panelists said that organizations need to be more proactive in implementing risk management strategies to fight and prevent cyberattacks.

CPA firms are well-positioned to help their clients manage risks through assurance services, advisory services, and the protection of client and customer data.  The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has developed numerous tools for CPAs that are available on the Cybersecurity Resource Center, while the AICPA State Regulation and Legislation Team is tracking a wide range of cybersecurity issues in state legislation, such as when and how businesses – including CPA firms – must report data breaches.

The hour-long cybersecurity panel is available for viewing on the NCSL website, and more information on cybersecurity legislation is available at the AICPA State Regulation and Legislation Team website and on Twitter @AICPAState.