IRS Tips To Protect Your Data

phishingAs a small business owner,, you know that the threat of identity theft is a real threat to the security of your business. The IRS has recently suggested these six basic steps to take to help protect your data.

1. Use Security Software. Security software can protect your computer – and your data – from numerous threats posed by malicious programs, also known as malware. Many computers come with security software already installed. Make sure to turn it on. Set it for automatic updates to allow for protection against emerging anti-malware threats. Also, make sure you add security to all your digital devices, including your laptop, tablet and mobile phone.

2. Use Data Encryption Software To Protect Sensitive Data. If you keep sensitive financial data such as prior-year tax returns or important records on your hard drive, consider investing in encryption software to safeguard documents with password protection.

3. Use Strong Passwords. Use strong passwords of 10 or more digits that include letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password for all your accounts, especially your financial accounts. Change your passwords every few months. Create passwords not only for your online accounts but also for access to your computer for an added layer of protection.

4. Avoid Phishing Emails. Never reply to emails, texts or pop-up messages asking for your personal, business, tax or financial information. A favorite tactic of cybercriminals is to pose as businesses, credit card companies or even the IRS and ask to update your account or divulge your Social Security number. Reputable companies never ask for sensitive data over unsecured channels.

5. Back Up Your Data Regularly. Periodically back up all the data on your computer via your protected cloud storage or a separate disk. If your data gets stolen or you suffer a disk failure, recovery is easy if you have routinely backed up your information.

6. Protect Your Wireless Network. If you use a residential wireless network connection, make sure you have a strong password protection for it. If you use public Wi-Fi, never share sensitive data. If a public Wi-Fi hotspot does not require a password, it probably is not secure.

Source: IRS Tax Tip, 11/16/16

If you have questions about starting, growing, protecting, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Certified Business Advisor, Small Business Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners just like you and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, management, business planning, and small business advisory services. We can advise you on how to start, manage, grow, and terminate a small business. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at