Cloud Safety: Is My Accounting Data Safe?
Long gone are the days of hard drives, CD-ROMs, and dare we say, floppy disks. Today’s accounting software is in the cloud, allowing small business owners to run their entire bookkeeping suite from any device with internet – be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
It’s a complete game changer for busy entrepreneurs. No longer are you tied to a desk to invoice customers, file and pay liabilities, or complete payroll. As long as you’ve got internet, you’ve got your books.
However, with the increase in online traffic, comes an increase in online attacks. We’ve all heard the horror stories of hacking, like massive corporate data breaches and stolen confidential information. Some of us may have personally experienced a form of cyber-attack, like credit card fraud or password theft. All of us, from the technophobes to the tech-savvy, have good reason to be wary.
As far as your accounting data goes – we’re happy to say that YES, your data is safe on the cloud.
The cloud applications we use, including QuickBooks Online, SmartVault, and Dext, are the most safe, reliable and secure apps in the industry. But how can we be sure? Read on to find out.
Your data is backed up, and then backed up again, and again, and again...
The cloud can be a little confusing – in the absence of a hard drive, many ask: where is my data physically located? Is it really in the sky, in the form of a fluffy white cloud?
Well, the answer is no. Your data is actually stored on multiple servers (essentially massive computer/hard drive combos) across North America. These servers are backed up regularly – as in multiple times per hour, per day. And not just in one or two locations. They are part of a large network of servers that are ready to take over in the event of a malfunction.
The facilities that hold these servers also have strict physical security measures, such as 24/7 surveillance, security, alarms and fire/flood protection.
Why is this better than offline and local? Well, when you run your software and store your data on your own computer or hard drive, you are responsible for protecting your data. That means completing regular daily backups, and safeguarding it from being damaged, lost or stolen.
Your data is encrypted – AKA unreadable to hackers
The apps we use such as QuickBooks, SmartVault and Dext, all employ the highest level of security available today.
Our apps use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Security Layer). What the heck does that mean? In short, it means keeping the conversation between your computer and the accounting software secure and private. When data is sent between the server to your system, it gets scrambled up using complex algorithms to ensure hackers cannot read it.
The algorithm is called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and it’s used by the US and Canadian government. It’s virtually impenetrable and with today’s level of computing, it would take billions of years to crack.
Of course, technology continuously changes and evolves. These big players are always at the forefront of innovation. You can be sure that as we move into the future of cloud accounting, they will be ahead of the game with the latest security features.
You’re in complete control of your data
You are the owner of your data. That means you are in control of who sees what, and what permissions they have.
Part of the reason why these apps are so beneficial to accountants and bookkeepers is because they have powerful and detailed paper trails. You get access to a complete history of your file, showing you exactly who has accessed it, at what time, and what changes were made. This log cannot be modified or deleted in any way.
And you never have to share your username or password to provide access. You can set up and personalize a user’s access and modify their level of permissions, as uniquely as you need. These users include employees, auditors, bookkeepers and accountants, and you can remove access as quickly as you added it.
You can also require two-factor authentication, which will send a unique code to their phone number every time they access your file, to confirm their identity. The only people who can view your file are the ones that you choose.