Cloud technology security is a significant concern among accounting professionals. While nothing is absolutely secure on the internet, reliable cloud providers take effective measures to increase the protection of vital and confidential information. Here I will address the question of “is cloud-based practice management software safe?”
Interested in learning more about what practice management software is and how it can help your firm? Check out this article detailing everything you need to know about practice management software.
First off, let’s discuss cloud security.
Understanding cloud security is now essential, as almost every company stores some data in the cloud. By 2021, Cisco predicted that 95% of all workloads would be running on the cloud, and 451 Research found that in 2018, 90% of companies were already hosted on the cloud. This includes a lot of high-profile organizations, which require extreme security including NASA, the Department of Defense, Capital One, Samsung, and many banks that currently trust the cloud with their information.
Strict regulatory standards
Since the cloud allows for information to be accessed from any device, cloud providers—like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft—are held to rigorous regulatory standards to protect highly sensitive and confidential data they are in charge of. Google provides a very thorough overview of compliance on its website—as do other cloud service providers—noting that its “products regularly undergo independent verification of their security, privacy, and compliance controls, achieving certifications, attestations of compliance, or audit reports against standards around the world. We’ve also created resource documents and mappings against frameworks and laws where formal certifications or attestations may not be required or applied.”
IT experts trained to protect against security attacks
Onsite hard drives can often be hacked, but a big difference with the cloud is that big tech corporations have teams of trained experts whose job it is to protect data against cyberattacks. This is a lot more holistic than the average accounting professional using encryption for emails.
Usage of cloud systems for work safety
Cloud-based systems such as virtual desktop infrastructures allow companies to secure their data and storage and let their employees work remotely. VDIs allow users to connect to the same virtual desktop and personalize it. These services, which are run through a central server allow using older or less powerful devices to accomplish the same tasks.
Using Practice Management Software For Accountants to Help Protect Client Data
As an accountant, it’s absolutely essential to keep your clients’ data safe. Security should be a top priority, and one of the best things you can do when looking at software providers is to check its security measures. For example, some accounting practice management software encrypts data, offers access control, and uses two-factor authentication (among other measures).
Accounting Today pulled together a list of questions to ask your cloud provider (or the company providing a cloud-based service) that can help you get started on finding the right fit for your company.
In addition to the inherent security features offered by accounting practice management software, below are a couple of easy-to-implement actions you can take to make your firm safer.
Arm Yourself with Information
A great way to secure your client’s data is to constantly stay up to date with the latest risks. Though the foundational security practices stay mostly the same, it is imperative that you are aware of the most likely security threats at any given time as most security breaches happen when uninformed people accidentally let hackers in. Kaspersky Lab found that 90% of security incidents happen from human error rather than malicious attacks.
Being up to date on the latest scam tactics (and making sure your employees are too) can protect your firm from many scam tactics. Each employee should have access only to the information that they need. A helpful resource to keep up with information security trends is an IRS e-News subscription.
Create a Password Strategy
Creating a password from a random string of numbers, letters, and special characters usually means creating something you won’t be able to remember. On the other side of the spectrum, passwords can be far too simple and hence easy for someone to guess – for example “p@$$word123”.
Recent password advice from security experts is fairly straightforward: passwords should be long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and you should use a password manager. Additionally, you shouldn’t reuse passwords.
You may also want to change your passwords every once in a while, but the efficiency of that practice is disputed. Most security experts today think that if you have a strong password, you don’t need to change it unless you believe it’s been compromised.
Is Cloud-based Practice Management Software Safe – Summary
The cloud and cloud based services, especially those for accounting firms, are making waves in the industry. As an accounting professional, clients rely on you to keep their data and finances safe. A great way to do this is to implement cloud based practice management software.
If you are interested in learning more about cloud-based systems and security measures, check out this blog for more information.