The majority of tax professionals are not fully aware or protected against cyber-risks, according to a recent survey of 633 National Association of Tax Professionals members.

Fewer than half of the NATP attendees (36 percent) polled at the annual conference July 8-11 in Phoenix were very familiar with the risks of cyber-incidents such as data theft, identify theft and computer viruses. A little more than half (51 percent) reported being somewhat familiar.

Only 15 percent of respondents have cyber liability coverage, while 33 percent report having a written business continuity or disaster recovery plan.

Of the possible cyber-incidents listed as threats to a business, which included computer viruses, data theft, business interruptions and intellectual property theft, 40 percent of respondents said they were most concerned with all of the above, with data theft, at 30 percent, and computer viruses, at 20 percent, also ranking highly.

On the other hand, a majority of respondents reported being very or somewhat confident in their business having adequate insurance to protect against cyber-crimes (65 percent) or insurable risks that can result in significant financial losses (76 percent).

Property casualty insurance provider Travelers shared its risk education platform, with a focus on cyber-issues, with NATP conference attendees.

“Tax professionals need to prepare to withstand an unexpected event given the sensitive data they work with on a daily basis,” said Travelers executive vice president Marc Schmittlein, who runs the company’s small business unit, in a statement. “It is increasingly important to have a written business continuity plan in place to identify and mitigate potential threats to a business.”

Full survey results are available here.


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