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Learn About Tax Security (The Security Six)

Learn About Tax Security (The Security Six)

Maintaining a comprehensive and up-to-date security policy as a business owner should be one of your top priorities. However, it can sometimes seem difficult and complex to keep up with the ever-changing landscape and comprehensive protocols suggested by the IRS.


Essential rules for data security

While the IRS Security Six serves as essential rules for how businesses should design their strategies to protect their data, they're just the beginning.

At first glance, each element of Security Six seems quite obvious and straightforward:

  1. Antivirus software

  2. Firewall

  3. Two-factor authentication

  4. Backup Software Services

  5. Disk Encryption

  6. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

But a closer look shows that successfully implementing each security element requires critical decisions, careful planning (using IRS resources, such as IRS 4557, Taxpayer Data Protection), and commitment with at least some level of investment.

Adding other important elements to your security strategy can help companies mitigate the logistical, financial, and legal challenges associated with the Security Six compliance and maintain customer data privacy.

A single data breach is enough to eradicate customer trust. Hence, the need to fully implement the security six.


Tax Pro Tip: Follow the "Security Six " Steps to Protect Client Data

Tax professionals should review security measures to ensure that they fully protect sensitive taxpayer data. All tax professionals should carefully review the protection of their data. Part of this review follows the Security Six protections.

Here's more information on these basic protections that everyone, especially tax-sensitive data professionals, should use:


1. Antivirus software

This software scans your computer's memory or files for certain patterns that may indicate malicious software, also known as malware, on your device. Antivirus vendors discover new problems and update malware daily. This is why users need to install the latest software updates.


2. Firewall

Firewalls protect against outside intruders. The firewall protects your network and computers from malicious or unnecessary web traffic. This helps prevent malware from entering the user's system.


3. Two-factor authentication

Two-factor (2FA) authentication adds a layer of security beyond the password you use to access your accounts online. The returning user enters credentials such as login details, i.e., username and password. Then there is a second step, like entering a security code that is usually sent to a phone, email, or app such as google authenticator.


4. Backup Software or Services

Users should regularly back up critical files from their computers and hard drives to external sources. This gives you access to your important files should anything happen to your software or computer.


5. Disk / Drive Encryption

Since tax professionals store sensitive client data on their computers, users should consider disk encryption software. Drive encryption is also known as disk encryption. It turns your computer data into unreadable files. This implies that only those authorized to access the data can do so, and an unauthorized individual cannot have access to your drive.


6. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Employees of many tax companies sometimes have to connect to unknown networks or work from home. Therefore, the office must establish an encrypted virtual private network. This allows for a more secure connection.

A VPN provides a secure, encrypted means to transmit data between a remote user on the Internet and the corporate network.


Final Words

By following the six security measures suggested above for taxpayers, accountants, and other professionals, you can relax knowing that your customer data is secure.

In addition to the "Security Six" described above, the IRS and Security Summit partners recommend that tax professionals review their professional insurance policies to protect the business against data theft.


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