According to the Government Accountability Office, the computer systems in use at the Internal Revenue Service have not been fully secured against insider threats. This means that taxpayer data including Social Security numbers and income figures for millions of Americans is at a potential risk. The GAO announced its findings on March 16 in a 36-page report. Gregory Wilshusen, who serves the GAO as a director of Information Security Issues, commented in the report that, "A lack of fully effective compensating and mitigating controls impair IRS's ability to ensure that its financial and taxpayer information is secure from internal threats."
The IRS is not alone; computer security is one of the biggest issues that all American businesses face in this age of online commerce and internet banking. Unfortunately, the issue of IT security must encompass threats that come from inside an organization as well as those that emanate from the outside.
One powerful way to handle both kinds of threats is to adopt an IT support model known as managed services. In a managed services environment, businesses are provided with remote management and monitoring from an IT company with expertise in providing a wide variety of robust security measures. Because a managed services approach provides monitoring on a 24/7 basis, security alerts can be issued in the middle of the night if needed. This allows problems and issues that arise to be dealt with on a much timelier basis than is generally possible during a traditional 9-to-5 arrangement for in-house IT support.