Tax Season Tech: How Managed IT Services in Chicago Secure Financial Data

JMA Consulting

The Chicago landscape changes dramatically as winter turns to spring. Golden daffodils spring from the cold earth as buds form on trees and become rich foliage. But leaves and flowers are not the only things bursting forth. February ushers in tax season, marking increased cyber threats as businesses share financial and confidential data with their tax preparers. What are these threats and how can a Chicago-based managed IT service secure your organization’s financial data?

The Threats

That tax data originates in your internal accounting systems. How secure are these applications, the servers storing that software and data, and the devices accessing those systems? Does your system properly encrypt your data, protecting it not only in your database, but also in transmission? Organizations who have moved their operations to the Cloud realize greater security, but cyber criminals are becoming more familiar with the Cloud, too.

Remote and hybrid work is no longer a future model. Employees can literally work from anywhere, opening your network to new threats. Whether simply looking over the shoulder of someone working from the nearby Starbucks or hacking into the unsecured link between a remote device and a poorly protected network, cyber thieves can access and hold ransom precious company data.

Taking advantage of the human element, hackers seek to deceive your employees, vendors, and customers into opening email attachments that give these cyber thieves access to your valuable company data. Delay or failure in applying updates to internal software and devices encourages new vulnerabilities.

In addition to human intervention, disasters can occur that bring down your network and corrupt or destroy precious data. Failure to manage regular data backups, employ effective restore processes, and develop and review recovery plans can spell disaster for an organization.

Are your tax preparers internal? If so, they will need to file reports containing sensitive data with several government agencies.

The Solution

A managed IT service has the expertise to focus on the security and maintenance of your network. They can also architect upgrades to your IT infrastructure to ensure you are using state-of-the-art security applications including firewalls and virtual private network (VPN) software. In addition, the consultants at a managed IT service provider can educate your employees regarding the nefarious tactics of cyber thieves.

Many businesses need to share their financial data with an outside tax preparer. A managed service provider can review your electronic connections with these external applications to ensure your data is encrypted and delivered securely. Again, these connections rely on the security of your own IT infrastructure through robust firewall and VPN applications. A managed IT service provider can monitor threats to your network and determine the effectiveness of your security software.

Do you have an internal IT team? If yes, do these individuals have the time to maintain their certifications, troubleshoot employee problems, research new software applications, apply upgrades, replace aging equipment, maintain backup procedures, efficiently address IT support issues, and develop the IT budget for the new fiscal year while keeping an eye on threats to the security of your network?

Long before tax season, an IT team must focus not only on maintaining your IT infrastructure, but these professionals must also monitor and test the health of your network. A managed service provider can routinely test your backup and recovery procedures to ensure data is not lost during an outage. Using innovative tools, they can identify network threats and vulnerabilities and mitigate them.

A managed service provider in the Chicago area can lift some or all of your team’s burden. Their licensed professionals can focus on securing your data using the most effective tools. Whether you contact with a Chicago managed service provider for all your IT management needs or simply augment your own team with their services, the professionals at JMA can secure your financial data during this busy tax season and throughout the year.

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