As The Tax Deadline Fast Approaches, Are Your Clients Protected?
Large businesses aren’t the only ones required by law to protect client data, as businesses of all sizes are required to take the necessary precautions and measures to ensure data protection… And accountants are no exception.
As the impending tax deadline (April 17th) is now just two weeks away, CPAs will be moving sizable amounts of client data across various communication channels, including email. If you haven’t taken the steps to ensure that the data that you’re sending via email is protected and secure for your clients, you’re not too late.
A large number of accountants still send confidential documents across platforms like Gmail, AOL.com, MSN, and Yahoo! All of which are unprotected platforms that hackers can access with relative ease. So, how do you send emails in a protected fashion? The answer is a secure email solution.
With a secure email solution, accountants can become federally compliant in a matter of seconds. From the sending of the messages and attachments to the storage process, a secure email solution can handle all of the compliance issues that continually weigh you down. You wouldn’t think that a term like “encryption” would be an easy fix, but it really is!
Now, all you have to do is choose a secure email solution like NeoCertified to send your secure email messages. Easy enough, right?
You’ll want to find a solution that is federally compliant, relatively easy to use, and one that you can trust with your clients’ data. Make sure the solution that you choose has some sort of history and credibility. For example, NeoCertified has been dealing with encrypted information since 2002 and is one of the leaders in the secure email industry.
You wouldn’t want to simply choose the cheapest solution that Google spits out because in the end the consequences of handling your clients’ data improperly could result in fines and breaches that are far worse than a $99 fee. Test out various secure email solutions’ free trial accounts and choose the one that you feel you can trust. It’s important to understand that the solution you choose will be handling your clients’ sensitive data, so take your time when researching which would be the best fit for your business.
It’s also a major bonus if the secure email solution offers 24/7 customer support to handle any issues that may arise. If a recipient can’t access the secure email message that you’ve sent, do you really want to be the one to walk them through the issue?
Also, choose a solution that integrates into your current methods. If you use an email system like Microsoft Outlook, a large number of solutions will integrate directly into Outlook to make the process as fluid as possible.
What types of emails do I need to protect?
So, you’ve found your secure email solution and now you’re composing your first secure email message. Great! You’re off to a great start. But then it hits you… you’re really not sure what emails need to be sent securely and what don’t.
Well, fortunately, it’s pretty easy to determine which messages are going to need be encrypted and which can be sent via your standard email platform. If your message includes anything that you wouldn’t want sent on an open-faced postcard then you’ll want to make sure it’s sent securely.
Here are some types of information that should always be protected:
• Credit card numbers
• Bank account numbers
• Social security numbers
• Full names
• Tax identification numbers
• Attachments that contain one or more of these pieces of info.
In the end, if you’re unsure whether or not the information needs to be protected, err on the side of caution and send it securely anyways. Most secure email solutions have a one-click process to send securely, so it shouldn’t hinder any of your current processes.
I’ve sent my clients’ tax information securely, now what?
Now, continue to use the secure email solution whenever you need to send confidential documents or sensitive messages across email. The process is far too simple to neglect and should be adopted into your everyday routine. And in the end, your clients will appreciate you taking their information seriously.
If you have any questions on how a 7-day free trial of secure email would work with your business, give us a call today and we’d love to help you out!
Written by Peter J. Schaub
President & CEO, NeoCertified