The Importance of Cyber Security

Cyber Security and Your Small Business

Cyber security is vital in the digital age and a growing concern for small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses. In a recent SBA survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber attack. For additional information visit

Here are three useful tools recommended by the SBA:

FCC Planning Tool
The Federal Communications Commission offers a cybersecurity planning tool to help you build a strategy based on your unique business needs.

Cyber Resilience Review
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cyber Resilience Review (CRR) is a non-technical assessment to evaluate operational resilience and cybersecurity practices. You can either do the assessment yourself, or request an on-site assessment by DHS cybersecurity professionals.

Cyber Hygiene Vulnerability Scanning
DHS also offers free cyber hygiene vulnerability scanning for small businesses. This service can help secure your internet-facing systems from weak configuration and known vulnerabilities. You will receive a weekly report for your action.

More Tips from the IRS

Here is a list of tips provided by the IRS during National Tax Security Awareness Week 2019:

Shopping Tips

  • Shop at sites where the web address begins with “https” – the “s” is for secure.
  • Don’t shop on unsecured public wi-fi.
  • Use security software for computers & mobile phones; keep it updated.
  • Protect personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  • Use strong and unique passwords for online accounts.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Back up files on computers and mobile phones.

Recognizing and Avoiding Phishing Scams

  • Phishing emails bait users into opening them. Thieves pose as a trusted company – maybe a bank, a favorite retailer or even a tax professional.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails. The scams tell an urgent story and instruct the receiver to open an embedded link or download an attachment.
  • Don’t take the bait. The link may send users to a website to log in, but the username & password goes to the thieves. The scam may suggests users open an attachment, which secretly downloads malicious software.

Password Tips

  • Use word phrases that are easy to remember rather than random letters, characters and numbers that cannot be easily recalled.
  • Whenever it is an option for a password- protected account, users also should opt for a multi- factor authentication process.
  • Store any password list in a secure location, such as a safe or locked file cabinet.

Be Alert to Business Identity Theft

  • Identity thieves are displaying a sophisticated knowledge of the tax code and industry filing practices as they attempt to obtain valuable data to help file fraudulent returns.
  • To protect taxpayers and their business returns, the IRS has taken steps to identify and prevent business IDT, for example Forms 1120, 1120S, 1041 and 1065.
  • There are certain signs that may indicate business identity theft has occurred. Businesses, partnerships and estate and trust filers should be alert to potential identity theft.

Written Data Protection Plans

  • Federal law requires tax professionals to create a written information security plan and implement its provisions to protect their clients’ data.
  • To get started on an information security plan, tax professionals can review IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.
  • The FTC-required information security plan must be appropriate to the company’s size and complexity, the nature and scope of its activities and the sensitivity of the customer information it handles.