New IRS Cyber Security Plan Template simplifies compliance

The IRS now requires that every tax preparer that files electronic returns must have a Cyber Security Plan in place.  For months our customers have asked us to provide a quality solution that (1) Addresses key IRS Cyber Security requirements and (2) is affordable for a small office.   Today we announced the release of our IRS Cyber Security Plan Template.   With this new product we have taken the best elements from our other leading products and scaled them down to the needs of a small tax office.

What is a Cyber Security Plan?

In short, a “plan” is a high-level document that describes the individual elements that make up a cyber security program.  A “plan” if different from a policy, in that it includes comprehensive information about the organization, it’s information technology assets, and how to protect them.   The Cyber Security Plan must also be supported by written information security policies, which are the basic business rules for protecting sensitive customer information.   To help address this, our plan includes a complete set of pre-written information security policies that address the key elements of cyber security.

The details of what goes into a cyber plan are outlined in several IRS publications, including IRS Publication 4557 – A guide for Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.  Among the requirements are the following:

  • Develop the Written Cyber Security Plan
  • Appoint a Cyber Security Manager to oversee the Plan
  • Develop Security Policies to support the Plan
  • Train Employees on the elements of the Plan
  • Periodically Review and Update the Plan
  • Report any possible breaches to the IRS

It is important to note that a Cyber Security Plan providers the outline for activities that must be done by the organization.  These include, among other things, to make sure that information systems are properly configured and properly used by members of the organization.   While the Plan does not remove the need for these activities, it provides a dramatic shortcut for getting started, saving many thousands of dollars in consulting fees.

How does a company get started?

Like all of our “Made Easy” products, the IRS Cyber Security Plan Template is easy to customize.   All of the documents are in MS-Word or PDF format.   To customize, the organization simply replaces our “Company X” wildcard with the organization name.   In just minutes, the organization has a draft Cyber Security Plan that is ready to customize.