Handling sensitive consumer data such as social security numbers and bank account information is a core part of a tax professional’s job, yet many feel inadequately protected from cyber crime-related risks, according to a recent poll of National Association of Tax Professionals’ (NATP) members.
The survey of 633 tax professionals polled at the association’s annual conference in Phoenix revealed that fewer than half of attendees polled were very familiar with the risks posed by cyber incidents, such as data theft, identify theft and computer viruses. Only 15 percent reported having cyber liability coverage, and just one in three (33 percent) report having a written business continuity or disaster recovery plan.
“Tax professionals need to prepare to withstand an unexpected event given the sensitive data they work with on a daily basis,” said Marc Schmittlein, Travelers executive vice president, who runs the company’s small business unit. “It is increasingly important to have a written business continuity plan in place to identify and mitigate potential threats to a business. Travelers’ relationship with the NATP is just one way in which the company supports small business owners and ensures they have the right plans in place to protect their businesses as they grow.”
Travelers shared its own risk education platform with tax professionals attending the Association’s conference to raise awareness of emerging industry risks – with a particular focus on cyber – and to educate members on effective risk management techniques.
As cyber crime continues to grow in popularity and frequency, it is increasingly important that tax professionals work with their independent agent to develop a well-rounded insurance program.
The survey of 633 tax professionals was conducted on-site at the National Association of Tax Professionals annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz., from July 8-11, 2013. The results are intended to represent those tax professionals in attendance.