April is here and along with warmer weather and spring blooms, comes tax season. Taking steps to ramp up your security when filing is important, especially this year as cybercrime is rising at an unprecedented rate. Things like conducting a background check on your CPA, or using a secured network are great steps to keep your data safe. However, when you need to send or share a file, what can you do to ensure it is securely delivered?

Whether you plan to share files with a CPA, banker, or spouse, it is important to make sure they are delivered in the most secure and reliable way.  Here are two ways to safely send or share your files this season.

Secure sharing platforms

From cloud-based tools to apps and services dedicated to sharing your files securely, options abound. Platforms like these encrypt your files while being sent and stored, preventing hackers and third parties from accessing them. Things to consider when choosing a secure file sharing platform include:

  • Does the platform offer end-to-end encryption? If your files are encrypted while at rest/ stored and while in transit, your data will be secure all the way from the sender to receiver. A third party such as an application server would not have access to the data.  
  • What are the permission settings? Are there security permissions that can be applied to inhibit anyone with the link from viewing your files and documents? The more capabilities you have to secure folders / files, the better. If there is a “public” option make sure that some form of Multi-Form-Authentication “MFA” is available. Just because you email someone the “link” to a file share, does not mean your process is secure.

A quick list of file-sharing platforms include: Firefox Send, Dropbox, WeTransfer, Google Drive, OneDrive, SendAnywhere, and iCloud.

Encryption and password protection

It is best to avoid sending sensitive documents such as tax filings through email as it poses numerous security risks if not properly prepared. If email is your only option, take precautions such as password protections and encrypted communication. Avoid putting any sensitive information in the body of the email and compile sensitive documents inside an encrypted wrapper.

Microsoft office provides you the capability to encrypt documents, further securing them with a password. To password protect a document in Office 2010 or later, follow these steps:

-Select the File menu

-Select “Protect Document” in the info section

-Select “Encrypt with Password”

-You will next be prompted to submit a password that will be required any time the document is opened.

Looking to learn more about how to secure your sensitive data? Drop us a line at solutions@thetek.com