Send Sensitive Data through Bridge West’s Secure Portals and NOT in Emails
Cory Parnell, CPA |Principal and Chief Executive Officer | Bridge West LLC
Email is the most common and most used way to exchange information. We send and receive emails every day, both at work and at home. The average US worker sends and receives 50+ emails per day. While most emails contain non-sensitive information for which email is perfectly suited, almost everyone does send or receive sensitive documents via email now and then.
Email providers do their best to secure email communication, but in today’s digital world in which we do business, electronic communications are vulnerable and under attack. And while it is convenient to send sensitive data by email, it is unsafe from a security standpoint. Email by default is not, and never was, intended to be a secure mechanism for sending sensitive data. Although you need credentials to log in and access the email in your mailbox, email is by default sent from server to server in clear text that can be read by anyone while in transit.
Examples of information you should never send via email include:
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
- Federal or State issued ID numbers
- Federal or State forms
- Any bank/financial statements or account numbers
- Credit/debit card statements or numbers
- Health information
- Personal information
- Business information
- Payroll information
- 1099 Information
Securing sensitive data is a top priority for Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer (BGM) and we recognize that receiving or sending sensitive data by email has significant risk. Therefore, last year we began using two software platforms, Suralink and SafeSend Returns to receive and/or send sensitive data. The following is a reminder about how both solutions work and what they do.
Suralink for Business Clients
We use a robust portal system for our business clients called Suralink, which allows us to communicate and exchange data with clients. Due to its many features and capabilities, we like to say that Suralink is a portal on steroids.
Below are the key features of Suralink:
- Easy access into your account
- Secured Web-based system
- Ability to drag and drop documents or upload documents
- Organizes and automate requests
- Share and upload files with date completed
- Track progress of specific items or tasks
- Invite other team members to have access to a specific folder
- Live support for users
- Tutorial for users
SafeSend Suite of Products for Individual and Business Clients
BGM uses the SafeSend suite of products for communicating and exchanging data with our business and individual clients. SafeSend Returns offers our clients an easy way to securely review, view, and sign their tax returns from their computer, tablet, or mobile devices. SafeSend Organizers offers our clients an easy way to sign their engagement letter, complete interactive questionnaires, and upload their tax documentation via a secure site. SafeSend Signatures offers our clients a secure way to review, view, and sign important documents digitally from anywhere they have internet access.
Below are some of the features that our clients get to enjoy:
- Engagement letters and any other legal documents with electronic signatures
- Interactive individual client organizers
- Assembly, delivery, e-signatures, and 7-year storage of all tax returns processes via SafeSend.
BGM appreciates all the support from our clients and staff in using Suralink and SafeSend. The positive feedback that we have received from users has been overwhelming. We feel that Suralink and SafeSend offer the safest and secure way to obtain sensitive client data and much- improved communication with clients.
If you have questions about Suralink or SafeSend Returns, please contact your dedicated BGM professional. You can also visit our website to watch quick informational videos about how each of these options works:
Cory Parnell, CPA, is the Chief Operating Officer of Bridge West LLC, CPAs & Advisors to the cannabis industry. For more information about the CLAIM Act or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact Cory at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-287-6327.