IRS Written Information Security Plan

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What is the IRS Written Information Security Plan?

The IRS Written Information Security Plan (WISP) serves as a critical framework to ensure the protection of taxpayer information. Developed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the WIPS outlines specific requirements and guidelines for businesses that handle taxpayer data.

The WIPS is not only a regulatory mandate but also a proactive approach to data security, emphasizing the importance of implementing robust security measures to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access, breaches, and other security threats. Compliance with the WIPS is not only a legal obligation but also essential for maintaining trust and credibility with clients and stakeholders.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a financial institution, or a tax professional, understanding and implementing the IRS WIPS is crucial for maintaining data security and regulatory compliance. Let’s dive in.

FTC Compliance

The FTC Safeguards Rule requires covered businesses to develop, implement, and maintain comprehensive information security programs that include administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect customer information.

The IRS Written Information Security Plan is a component of the FTC Safeguards Rule framework. It specifically addresses the protection of taxpayer information and outlines requirements for businesses handling such data. While the FTC Safeguards Rule sets broader guidelines for protecting customer information, the IRS WISP focuses on ensuring the security of taxpayer data specifically.

The FTC Safeguard Rule encompasses these 13 specific industries, including accountants, CPAs, and tax preparers. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a large firm, compliance with the IRS WISP is non-negotiable.

Accountant or tax preparation service
Automobile dealership
Business that prints and sells check
Business that wires money for customers
Career counselor in financial organization
Check cashing business
Company acting as a finder for transactions
Investment advisory company
Mortgage broker
Personal property or real estate appraiser
Real estate settlement services
Retailer that extends credit
Travel agency with financial services

The WISP Requirements

Achieving compliance involves three key steps: Assess, Implement, and Report. Begin with a risk assessment to evaluate your current security posture. Implement recommendations and develop a plan of action. Finally, monitor, test, and report progress to the board of directors.

Meeting IRS Written Information Security Plan Compliance

  • Designate a Qualified Individual (QI)

    Empowered IT Solutions can serve as the Qualified Individual (QI) to oversee the implementation and supervision of your information security program. With our expertise in compliance services, we ensure that all aspects of the program are effectively managed and aligned with regulatory requirements.

  • Conduct a Risk Assessment

    We conduct comprehensive risk assessments tailored to your business's needs and regulatory obligations. We identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, providing insights to inform your security strategy effectively.

  • Design and Implement Safeguards

    Leveraging our expertise, we help design and implement appropriate safeguards based on the risks identified in the assessment. From encryption protocols to access controls, we ensure your data is protected against potential threats.

  • Regular Monitoring and Testing

    We establish ongoing monitoring and testing processes to evaluate the effectiveness of your safeguards. Through regular assessments and penetration testing, we identify weaknesses and proactively address them to enhance your security posture.

  • Security Awareness Training

    We offer comprehensive security awareness training programs for your employees. We educate your staff on best practices, phishing awareness, and data handling protocols to mitigate human-related risks effectively.

  • Monitor Service Providers

    Our team monitors your service providers to ensure they meet security standards and comply with contractual obligations. We conduct vendor risk assessments and implement oversight mechanisms to safeguard your data throughout the supply chain.

  • Keep Your Information Security Program Current

    We stay abreast of evolving threats and regulatory changes, ensuring that your information security program remains current and effective. We update policies, procedures, and technologies as needed to address emerging risks.

  • Create a Written Incident Response Plan

    Empowered IT Solutions develops a comprehensive incident response plan tailored to your business. We outline procedures for detecting, responding to, and recovering from security incidents, minimizing potential damage and downtime.

  • Require Reporting to the Board of Directors

    As your Qualified Individual, we provide regular reports to your board of directors, keeping them informed about the status of your information security program. We communicate key metrics, incident response activities, and recommendations for ongoing improvement.

Our team specializes in guiding businesses through the compliance journey. From conducting risk assessments to implementing security measures and reporting progress, we offer comprehensive support tailored to your needs.