Cyber-security and Information Safety for Small Businesses

In today’s society, more business is being conducted online. You can even purchase your groceries online! As this trend rapidly increases, cyber-security and information safety have become large concerns for both businesses and their customers.

Any information stored on your connected electronic devices is always at risk to various hacking attempts and viral intrusions via the Internet. These threats can be minimized by tactics such as limiting your web browsing to secure sites and using antiviral software programs, but the risk is still always there.

Online businesses that utilize remote operations on-the-go have higher risk. While it can be so easy to connect to the local Wi-Fi at any coffee shop or restaurant to work at your convenience, using these unsecure networks opens opportunities for threats to access your system and sensitive or private data therein. It is important to ensure that businesses are taking security measures to protect their clients’ and their own information while using public networks.

An alternative to using unsecure Wi-Fi for work, especially when private information is at stake, is a personal hotspot. Most cell carries now allow computers and tablets to feed off the cellular network from a mobile phone. Tablets and watches can be activated for cellular activity. These are amazing options that weren’t so readily available less than a decade ago. As a coffee shop CPA, I am a strong advocate of personal hotspots.

Not all attacks come through your computer via the Internet. Phone and email phishing scams are highly prevalent and increasingly complex as scammers adjust their schemes to fit just about any situation one could match. IRS phone and email scam attempts are everywhere now as we enter the federal and state post-filing season for income tax returns. These scammers know that many people are already anxious and sensitive about tax audits so they feed off people’s worries and convince so many people to provide their sensitive personal data to them. Combatting identity theft is a very difficult process that can be prevented by taking certain precautions with virtual requests for private information.

Yesterday, the IRS posted a news release on their website addressing this very situation in IRS continues warning on impersonation scams; Reminds people to remain alert to other scams, schemes this summer. Always remember that the IRS will only contact you for any issues with your tax filings with notice by mail.

If you have any concerns about your tax filing, please contact your tax professional for advice. Don’t give your information to a scammer. If you don’t have a tax professional, please contact me at Carrollton Accounting LLC, the Personal CPA for the Modern Entrepreneur. I would love to work with you!