Your business’ financial information is perhaps your single most valuable asset. Protecting that data is essential. If you’re considering moving to cloud-based bookkeeping software, it’s natural to have some concerns about security, particularly with the spate of recent thefts involving big-name retailers and consumer information. Just how secure is cloud-based bookkeeping software? What should you look for in a solution to ensure your peace of mind while safeguarding your data?
The Evolution of the Cloud
Only a few short years ago, most small business owners were just trying to come to grips with what the cloud actually was. Today, it’s been embraced by companies large and small thanks to its myriad benefits and capabilities. It’s been rolled out in a wide range of forms, from online storage through solutions like SkyDrive and Dropbox to Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. This evolution has grown to encompass accounting and bookkeeping as well. And, surprisingly, it has turned out to be more secure than your local server or desktop for protecting essential financial information. If you need a software which provides personalized applications and portals to some customers or tenants, visit Salesforce.com for more details.
The Threats to Locally Stored Data
If you store your financial information locally, you face a wide range of threats. There’s the threat of disaster, for one thing. A fire, flood or just a burst pipe could destroy your server or storage system, compromising your data. It goes beyond the threat of disasters, though. Your local data is only as safe as your system (or your local IT guy) can make it. Most of the time, that’s not particularly secure. Even a beginning hacker can find their way through basic firewalls and security software, accessing your financial data and crippling or even ruining your business. With a secure cloud solution, there’s no way for hackers to gain access to your company’s financial information through local machines. However, it’s not without its caveats – mobile devices.
Do Your Part
Cloud-based bookkeeping software is accessible from any web-enabled device, and that includes your smartphone, tablet and laptop. This is a huge benefit for small businesses, but it can also be an exploitable security risk. If your mobile device is stolen and your system password is stored/saved for immediate access, then the thief can easily access the information stored on the cloud. There’s a very simple way to prevent this from happening. Don’t save your login information.
For instance, let’s say you’re using Google Chrome to access your bookkeeping software. When you land on the login page for the first time, you’re required to enter your username and password. Chrome then asks if you want it to remember this information for you – click no. If you let Chrome store your information, then it automatically fills in your username and password every time you land on the login page. That’s convenient for you, but it’s also convenient for thieves. No cloud-based bookkeeping software is secure if you and your employees don’t do your part to safeguard access to the platform.
Questions to Answer before Choosing a Platform
Before you choose any cloud-based bookkeeping software, you need to answer several important questions (as not all services provide the same security).
What type of protection is used? Look for a company that uses at least 128-bit encryption, but 256-bit is far better. This is the same level of encryption used by banks and other financial institutions.
What security measures are in place? Your financial information should be stored on servers with physical protection – redundant power backups, and redundant backup machines.
Is security audited? The company providing your bookkeeping software should undergo regular security audits to pinpoint threats and risks.
Cloud-based bookkeeping software is far more secure than desktop software or onsite server storage, but you must choose the right company.
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