Some IRS Security Program Areas Not Compliant under FISMA

By Jason Bramwell
 
A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) stipulated that until the IRS takes steps to fully implement all eleven security program areas covered by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), "taxpayer data will remain vulnerable to inappropriate use, modification, or disclosure  possibly without being detected."
 
Under FISMA, which was enacted to strengthen the security of information and systems within federal government agencies, the Offices of Inspectors General are required to perform an annual independent evaluation of each federal agency's information security programs and practices. 
 
In Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration  Federal Information Security Management Act Report for Fiscal Year 2013, TIGTA reported it found the IRS was not compliant with FISMA requirements in two of the eleven security program areas: configuration management and identity and access management. 
 
According to TIGTA, the two areas did not meet the level of performance specified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FY 2013 Inspector General Federal Information Security Management Act Reporting Metrics due to the majority of the DHS-specified attributes being missing or not working as intended. 
 
While generally compliant, three security program areas  incident response and reporting, security training, and remote access management  were not fully effective due to one program attribute that was missing or not working as intended, according to TIGTA. 
 
The remaining six security program areas included all of the program attributes specified by the FISMA reporting metrics. Those security program areas included:
  1. Continuous monitoring management
  2. Risk management
  3. Plan of action and milestones
  4. Contingency planning
  5. Contractor systems
  6. Security capital planning
"The IRS collects and maintains a significant amount of personal and financial information on each taxpayer," the report stated. "As custodians of taxpayer information, the IRS has an obligation to protect the confidentiality of this sensitive information against unauthorized access or loss. Otherwise, taxpayers could be exposed to invasion of privacy and financial loss or damage from identity theft or other financial crimes." 
 
TIGTA stated it does not include recommendations as part of its annual FISMA evaluation and reports only on the level of performance achieved by the IRS using the guidelines issued by the DHS for the applicable FISMA evaluation period.
 

You may like these other stories...

As anyone who's ever been through a divorce can attest, the pain of parting with your spouse isn't just emotional—the fallout from divorce can wreak financial havoc as well long after the dust in the courtroom...
Former DOJ Tax Division head Kathryn Keneally joining DLA Piper in New YorkGlobal law firm DLA Piper announced on Thursday that Kathryn Keneally, the former head of the US Justice Department Tax Division, is joining the firm...
OECD calls for coordinated fight against corporate tax avoidanceDavid Jolly of the New York Times reported that dozens of countries with the most advanced economies have agreed on principles for concrete action to prevent...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.