Stay sharp, finance pros. IRS just published guidance on security awareness, warning you to watch out for scams in late 2020 and early 2021.
Right now, criminals are taking advantage of every situation they can to carry out scams – the holiday rush, tax season, coronavirus concerns.
All that, plus the growing trend of more remote work, makes online security a necessity, says IRS.
A quick security awareness checklist
To help your company (and its money) remain secure, the Service offered some basic security awareness tips.
Make sure your finance staffers can check off all eight of these:
- Use – and regularly update – security software for both your computer and your phone. Tip: Anytime you or IT see an update’s available, notify your team, with a deadline to update it by.
- Verify that your anti-virus software has 1) a feature to stop malware and 2) a firewall to prevent intrusions. If not, consider upgrading.
- If working from home, secure your at-home Wi-Fi network with a strong password.
- Also, if working from home, think about using a virtual private network (VPN) to safely connect to your workplace. Tip: Again, enlist IT here. To ensure security awareness, work with IT to verify that employees are actually connecting to VPNs.
- When online, check that 1) there’s a padlock icon before the web address and 2) the URL begins with “https.”
- Back up data and files from your computer and phone to a cloud service or an external hard drive, in case the files become compromised. Tip: Like the reminders on software updates, you may want to issue reminders on file backup to your team as part of your ongoing security awareness.
- When it comes to passwords, double-check each one is unique and strong (i.e., a phrase or string of words that only you could guess).
- Use multifactor authentication whenever you can – not just for work programs, but for email and social media, too.