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IRS Safeguard's Rule Cyber Security Social Engineering Customer Data

Renew Your Tax ID Number & Secure Your Data

The Importance of Data Security

It’s time to renew your prepared tax identification number (PTIN) for 2020. A data security responsibilities statement was added to the PTIN renewal process. It was added to keep you aware of your legal obligation to have a data security plan and data protection for taxpayer information. This is due to the Safeguard Rule. The Safeguard Rule states, “financial institutions must protect the consumer information they collect.”

As cyber-criminals continue to attack CPA firms, data security becomes more important. Accounting firms have important and sensitive client information hackers can use to get access to accounts or sell on the dark web. As a result, 71% of cyber breaches are financially motivated, according to a Verizon report on cyber-attacks in 2019. Knowing that, it’s easy to see why the accounting industry is so appealing to a cyber-criminal. Moreover, they steal taxpayer information and file fraudulent tax returns that they benefit from.

IRS Safeguard's Rule Cyber Security Social Engineering Customer Data

Securing Your Data as a CPA

If you’re an accountant or part of CPA firm, don’t fret. There are a few things you could do throughout your day to minimize risk of vulnerability to these attacks and keep your clients safe in the process.

Protect all email accounts with strong passwords. 81% of company data breaches are due to poor passwords, according to another Version report. Cyber criminals, like many people don’t want to work hard, they want to work smart. Therefore, they try and find the simplest route to achieving their objective. This is to say, if their objective is to hack an account the first thing they aim to get access to is password information. For instance, protect email and work accounts by using longer, more complex passwords that use a mix of numbers letters and symbols. Multi factor authentication is an additional way to prevent password access. For example, Nerds Support’s cloud software partner “Workplace”, requires users to log in through their desktops and their mobile devices. If the user fails to confirm they’re attempting to log in to their account within a few seconds, access is denied entirely.

Download anti-phishing software programs that help fight against phishing scams. 92% of malware is delivered through email. In addition, there anti-phishing programs like “avast!” and “Google Safe Browsing” that check pages against potential threats.

Do not open or download any attachments from suspicious or unknown domains. Hackers often use personal information on social media to create the illusion that they’re either existing or potential clients.

Only send password-protected, encrypted documents when files are shared with client over email.

Always back up sensitive data, preferably in a secure external server.

Develop a detailed security plan for clients.

The rising popularity of Cloud Computing

These simple IT solutions for accounting firms won’t replace a secure network and infrastructure. Managed IT for CPA businesses is an investment that will protect a firm from an attack of any kind.  As a result, any accounting firms are choosing to adopt cloud services for CPA firms specifically due to regulation requirements.

Cloud computing has become a strategic investment for many accounting firms. It has real-time responsiveness, a secure and scalable infrastructure, and a multitude of services that adapt to industry specific requirements. Additionally, the cloud helps develop a security plan to ensure an accounting firm complies with the safeguard rule.

The standard for cloud accounting service providers is maintaining compliance. Cloud compliance is the principle that cloud providers must be complaint with standards that the cloud customer faces.

Working in the cloud gives organizations flexible, convenient and secure solutions but it also requires working closely with the cloud provider and IT services team. All cloud providers have something called a Service level agreement.  SLA’s cover things like quality of service, availability and responsibilities of the cloud provider . That is to say, it’s a contract between the cloud provider and the client. Look into SLA’s if and when choosing a service provider.

There is a rising emphasis on data security and protection, as we discussed in the opening paragraph. The cloud is a helpful opportunity to advance your IT infrastructure. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to secure your client’s sensitive data.

If you have any further questions, Contact Us and we’ll be sure to answer them swiftly!

Cloud computing improves accounting firm. through productivity and increase revenue

3 Ways Cloud Computing Can Improve Your Miami Accounting Firm

As an accountant, you deal with a plethora of vital information and data on a daily basis. Clients entrust you with the most important numbers that define them. To assist accounting professionals keep track, control, and acquire accounting data, many are turning to cloud computing. Are you one of them? Cloud computing, at one time, was seen only as an IT buzzword, but the system has become a necessary business partner and strategy for successful accountants and firms. Cloud computing is the singular answer for swift recovery, cost-effective management, and comprehensive data storage. There are three important ways your accounting firm can benefit from a cloud computing strategy.

 

  1. Increases capacity and connectivity without increasing risk

Your accounting firm can take on more clients and increase your reach in the market without having to assume the security risks and financial burdens of doing so. A cloud computing system grows with your firm. From small, independent start-ups to large corporate firms, a cloud computing system can be tailored to accommodate both your immediate size and future capacity. For any business to increase capacity, connectivity is essential. Connectivity among business partners, clients and collaborators will increase your firm’s efficiency and communication. In a modern firm, connectivity occurs on the phone, on mobile devices, on laptops, on desktops, and over text messages. Before cloud computing and mobile technology, work was completed only within the four walls of the establishment. Cloud computing and mobile technology gives each contact agency. Immediately, the risk of intrusion, loss and theft may concern you, but cloud computing ensures everyone can still remain in contact, outside the firm’s walls, while still establishing and maintaining a secure environment. When the hesitation of mobility eases, the firm’s access is limitless.

 

  1. Decreases data loss and enables swift recovery

In our digital world, intrusions and security threats are commonplace. Every business has a plan to prevent and combat security intimidations. Cloud computing is an effective companion to a comprehensive security plan. Cloud computing enables users to securely store data in a remote location so that essential information is not lingering on a device. At any point, the business contact can eliminate or limit access to the cloud system. If the company and/or any of its devices are damaged or lost in a natural disaster, lost, stolen, or hacked, the information stored in device is safe. Business will resume as usual without any interruption in data recovery and operations.

 

  1. Saves the firm money

There is no need to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, on an expensive system overhaul, software programs, energy costs, and massive in-house IT operations. Nerds Support’s Miami cloud infrastructure is designed to accommodate various devices with different operating system, and it does so without a massive room and collection of hardwares. Updates in software and hardware are done automatically so the company does not have to worry about maintaining a schedule that is both compliant and secure. The cloud computing company does the work for you. The cloud computing system also fast tracks document access, which enables users to confirm and receive important documents and data; this cuts down on paper usage and book keeping services, while increasing productivity and profit.

Cloud Computing for Accounting can help your business grow

How Cloud Computing Helps Accounting Firms in Miami

The term “cloud” in the IT world is becoming as common as “Google”. We hear it thrown around a lot, but many still don’t understand it. Simply put, Miami cloud computing is accessing and storing data via the Internet, as opposed to your hard drive. All you need is to have your data synchronized with other information over the Web for easy access. Businesses can subscribe to a cloud application over the Net, “rent” out services from major companies such as Amazon and Google, or even create their own personalized applications for the whole company to use. When it comes to accounting, cloud computing can be extremely beneficial to your firm. Let us give you a few examples at to why you should consider the cloud for your firm if you haven’t already.

 

Save Money With Miami Cloud Computing

When you invest in cloud computing products, it’s going to cut your hardware and software costs. You no longer have bills associated with software products and the licensing attached. A yearly subscription to a cloud computing supplier is more cost efficient than hefty startup fees associated with initial software and licensing startup.

Document storage on your PC or Mac takes up hard drive space, so that is another expense you won’t have to worry about with the cloud. Any system maintenance will now be the responsibility of the cloud supplier, so there is no need to pay to have software monitored.

You won’t have to pay for updates to your system constantly by an IT expert, since the cloud will be kept up-to-date as part of the service.

 

Secure Data Storage

There is nothing worse than losing all your clients’ financial data. With cloud storage, you won’t have to worry about the possible risk of data loss. In the event that your computer crashes, a hard drive has a meltdown, or a natural disaster occurs like a flood, your data is going to be safe.

Increased Growth Potential

If you stay in the dark ages, you cannot grow as a business. By keeping up with the times and showing that you’re following the latest technology, you’re more likely to attract new business and keep old clients. As you grow, the cloud helps you expand, instead of being slowed down by antiquated technology. More storage space also frees your accounting firm up for new clients, as the cloud basically allows for unlimited development.

 

More Flexibility and Mobility

With the cloud, your business’s information can be accessed from any desktop or mobile device, which allows employees to access what they need from any place at any time. You can have more than one person working on a project at one time, from different locations.

 

Increased Accessibility

Cloud computing can also make you more accessible to clients by using portals to share data with them, or offer remote consulting services. Clients can easily pay bills using web based payment systems, and your accounting firm can help clients leverage online invoicing and payment systems.

If you have questions about how the cloud can help your business, feel free to contact us or start a chat in the comment section below!