How Secure Is The Cloud For My Accounting Business?
You know that protecting your clients’ confidential data is of vital importance. But how can you balance security with efficient service? …With the Cloud.
Is The Cloud Secure For Accounting Firms?
Not a day goes by that we aren’t asked this. The short and simple answer is…
“Yes, the Cloud really is secure.”
In fact, the Cloud provides better security than storing files on servers and hard drives. Your data will be encrypted and accessible to only those you authorize. Your network won’t be exposed to hackers and viruses.
And with Mobile Device Monitoring your employees can safely use their own phones and computers to access data in the Cloud wherever they are – providing for fast, efficient service.
How Can You Ensure Security In The Cloud For Your Accounting Firm?
The key is to use an IT service company that specializes in secure cloud use for CPAs. It’s increasingly difficult for IT staff and employees to create and maintain safe environments in-house. Instead, they’re turning to IT companies that are capable of taking on the complex task of securing their data in a cloud environment.
Follow The 7 Principles of SOC 2 Compliance Recommended By CPA Canada
IT professionals experienced in the Cloud will ensure that your firm meets the SOC 2 principles for secure IT usage.
- You have the proper IT management and cybersecurity structure in place.
- Security IT policies are up-to-date.
- Your IT system is remotely monitored for risks.
- Risk assessments and analysis confirm that your IT is secure.
- You practice limited system access and physical security for your IT solutions.
- Your IT system is proactively managed.
- Changes are applied to your system as necessary.
Why Is The Cloud Secure?
Now, we can’t speak for all cloud service providers, but the majority of the top-tier ones have invested heavily in making sure that data, information, accounting records, customer information and more are all safe. Most cloud providers employ stringent security measures. Plus, their staff is trained and experienced in the implementation of measures that align with the most current security risks.
Is The Cloud Safer Than Storing Data Onsite?
Here are other reasons why we still believe that storing your accounting data in the Cloud is a much better alternative than storing data onsite.
- Cloud providers continue to invest in the right security solutions.
- Cloud providers will continue to monitor your network.
- And cloud service providers take security seriously… from physical security, to who has access to the data center, and who can get access to the information online.
How Can We Maintain Client Confidentiality In The Cloud?
Using cloud computing provides many benefits, so you shouldn’t let security concerns keep you from using cloud services. However, you need the assurance that your data and your clients’ will remain secure.
Your IT service provider is the best resource for this. They understand the risks and benefits of different cloud services and the types that would best serve your needs.
They can work with you to review cloud service contracts to ensure:
- Confidentiality, security and protection from unauthorized access or modifications.
- You’ll have a robust backup and disaster recovery plan.
- The cloud service provides alternative access to data in the event of a service outage.
- The cloud service will inform you about any security breaches that may affect your data.
- Compensation in case actions by the cloud provider results in a security breach.
- The contract acknowledges that your accounting firm owns your data.
Your IT service provider is your trusted partner when it comes to using the Cloud. They will also offer recommendations for additional security measures to ensure client confidentiality.
What Should We Look For In An IT Provider To Ensure Our Clients’ Data Remains Secure?
Below, we’ve outlined 7 important things to think about before making your final decision:
1. Can Your IT Provider Answer All Of Your Questions About The Cloud? Avoid working with service providers who are unclear about exactly what cloud services provide and the cost for this. Any reputable provider should be able to answer all of your questions to your satisfaction. This can prevent you from getting involved with a company that may not offer the highest level of secure service that your CPA firm requires.
2. Will Your IT Be Stored In High-Security Data Centers?
As you know, secured data centers combine high-tech safeguards with the latest in server room controls. This prevents the theft of equipment while providing the best protection against fire and heat. You’ll know that your clients’ data is:
- Protected by stringent levels of physical security.
- Monitored 24/7.
- Housed in buildings designed explicitly for high-tech networking equipment with suppression systems that won’t engage sprinkler systems on equipment in case of fire.
The right IT provider can ensure that your information is replicated in multiple data centers. Some cloud services only have one or two. Also, make sure they provide geo-tracking capabilities so you won’t worry about bandwidth, and that your data will always be easily accessible and recoverable.
3. Can You Be Assured That The Best Safeguards Are In Place? If a hacker holds your data for ransom or an employee accidentally deletes your computer files, the right IT provider will ensure that you can get back up and running quickly. Good providers specialize in preserving data and retaining control over ever-evolving security risks.
4. Will They Work With You To Ensure IT Security In The Cloud? When you use applications in the public cloud, you must ensure that your data remains secure. The right IT provider will ensure that the cloud environment you use is built with the proper security controls to keep attackers out. Having a partner that can deploy and manage your cloud solutions and will work with you on this, ensures best practices in cloud security.
5. Encryption Is Critical.
Always make sure that your cloud storage service offers local encryption for data. This provides double security because files must be decrypted to gain access. Encryption keeps data from anyone including service providers and administrators. Taking this small preventive measures can ensure that your accounting firm’s most sensitive information remains highly secure.
6. Are They Going To Take Responsibility For Securing APIs & Auditing? Although you control your data, the cloud service must provide for these security measures, including:
- Security by design
- Source code analysis
- Vulnerability and Security tests
- Secure deployment
- Protection against threats during use
7. What’s Included Their Contracts & Agreements? Most IT service providers now require service Level Agreements (SLAs). These outline the services that you receive, including your cloud services. Your SLA should clearly describe how your provider will handle your data including confidential records in the Cloud.
So, We’ll Ask Once More… How Secure Is The Cloud For Your CPA Firm in Vancouver?
First, learn about common data security concepts. Then, decide for yourself if your accounting firm is storing data securely. You’ll soon see that hosting in-house servers is quickly becoming a thing of the past for accounting firms, and its departure means the end of expensive hardware costs, never-ending maintenance, costly downtime and lack of IT security.
Finally, don’t believe the rumours and myths about cloud security. With a trusted technology partner, moving to the Cloud can be much safer than keeping your data on-site.
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