The data found that 70 per cent of Australians were uncomfortable with their financial data being processed and stored overseas, particularly in the wake of the recent ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attacks.
Kris Kitto, Superfund Wholesale’s director, said accountants and financial advisers were increasingly turning to offshore providers for a number of their operations, and while this makes sense for a number of services offered by these professionals, it is “unnecessary” when dealing with SMSFs.
“The Australian Taxation Office and the professional accounting bodies require accountants to inform clients when their work is being sent overseas,” Mr Kitto said.
“However, clients are often oblivious to this practice as disclosures are buried deep in the fine print of the engagement letter or agreement.”
Many Australians included in the study even felt the government should “put more controls and enforcement around personal financial information being sent offshore” to keep them informed as to what is happening with their data, Mr Kitto said.
A system not unlike that being introduced on food labelling, which would outline who provides each service when dealing with personal financial information, was even suggested.
Additionally, Mr Kitto said many Australians felt they lose control over their data when it is sent offshore for processing and storage, and this is important because “perception is king”.
However, in an opinion piece written for Nest Egg’s sister site ifa, Valenta BPO managing director Jayesh Kasim said many of these fears were “unfounded”, and that individuals’ data is actually more safe offshore than it is in Australia.
“For small and medium-sized enterprises it is natural to think that clients' data is more secure in-house or onshore,” he said, “but the reality is that outsourced providers take data security to the next level.
“In fact, data is more secure with outsourced providers than in-house because the majority of outsourced providers have ISO certification, cyber risk insurance, adhere to CIS standards and follow several other security protocols.”
Mr Kasim said many of Australia’s banks already use offshore providers for their data services, meaning this type of outsourcing isn’t a “foreign concept” to everyday Australians, adding that for many business, such outsourcing will become a necessity in order to remain competitive.
“We are in a market where there is a shortage of skilled resources,” he said.
“Every business will sooner or later face resourcing challenges and therefore it's wise to implement an outsourcing strategy sooner than later.”