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worry about emails security

From this year we email accounts and tax return to clients as attachments instead of posting to them. My question is whether emails are not secured and what can be done to increase security (obviously there is too much sensitive data sent over the internet and we need to make sure that we are protecting client's data over the transfer re identity fraud etc). Are there any proven and practicable/easy ways to transfer the data with maximum security (eg any software for encryption etc) and to avoid any problem with data processing act (i am not sure what the act says on this). I know you can put passwords on pdf files but this is a bit of a hassle and difficult for some clients to implement as well as for us to administer.

Furthermore, my other related question is, is it acceptable for the client to sign the tax return and accounts and email scanned signature instead of posting the docs by normal post? Are we covered for obtaining client's authorisation for online filing of their return if signature is not the original but a scanned one?

thanks

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You really need to implement a secure document exchange solution like DocSafe.
See. http://www.doc-safe.co.uk/
A lot of accountants are using this (or similar) now,

Captain

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Still a way to go

Agree with the Captain that online, secure collaboration, like DocSafe and Iris's new OpenSpace is the way for the future but, until you get the functionality, cost and ease of something like Dropbox then email will still be a preferred choice.

We have passworded all PDFs for many years now and clients are fine with it.  You can combine all the docs (with bookmarks) into one PDF and we just password the version on the email with the client's date of birth in ddmmyyyy format.  Another way is to combine into a passworded winzip file.

Yes, these days, unless you are auditing, there is no need to get any paper sent back by clients. In fact in most cases we just get an "OK" email plus scans of resolutions to OK accounts where there are a number of shareholders/directors.

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Email Encryption

There are lots of products which allow you to encrypt emails and which one to use will depend on your IT infastructure.  There are also some cloud email providers who offer encryption as an option.

Removing the security from a PDF file is a pretty easy thing to do, so I wouldn't rely on a password protected PDF as being very secure.

As Paul said zipping the files up and adding a password is a better choice, however make sure you use a complex password (both case letters, numbers and special characters) as otherwise they are easy to break.

 

 

 

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