One of the questions we hear often in relation to online cloud accounting software is: “How secure is my data?”
And while that’s a very good – and completely understandable – question, it’s almost an irrelevant one in this day and age.
1. Your Data Isn’t Floating in the Sky
Contrary to what some people think when they hear ‘cloud accounting’, your financial data isn’t actually bouncing around aimlessly above your head. Instead, it’s held on state-of-the-art servers in data centers, which are themselves highly secure buildings, fortified by steel doors, concrete walls, and patrolled by guards. And the servers are further protected by the latest anti-virus software and firewall technology.
If anything, by switching your data to the cloud, it ought to be more secure than it would be if held locally on your own servers in your own offices.
2. The Benefits Outweigh the Risks
There are many benefits to cloud accounting. Namely instant access to up-to-date data from anywhere, and at any time. And such benefits shouldn’t be dismissed over security concerns, particularly if you currently use a desktop accounting system.
By relying on those types of systems, you cannot guarantee the security of your financial data simply because you have servers on your premises. The fact of the matter is, desktop systems are prone to the following vulnerabilities:
- Should a break-in occur, servers could be damaged or stolen;
- If you don’t stay on top of your antivirus or firewall software, data can become compromised or corrupted;
- If you don’t implement backup procedures, you run the risk of losing data;
- And a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood can lead to servers (and the data they hold) being destroyed.
What’s more, a typical desktop-based accounting system is incredibly limited. Beyond the security concerns, they are often unable to support high-speed, real-time remote access. This all but rules out flexible working arrangements for staff, and makes it difficult to share up-to-date data with your accountant.
Of course there are always argument for retaining a desktop system, chief among them the fact that internet connections can and do go down, restricting access to cloud-based data. However, where risks are concerned, this one is relatively small, and can be countered by the fact that power failures can and do occur too, which would in turn restrict access to desktop-based systems.
Neither option is 100% perfect, but the benefits of the cloud certainly make it the clear winner in our eyes.
3. Cloud Accounting Is Very, Very Secure
The most obvious argument against using cloud accounting systems is that with your company’s financial data being stored in a data center, all it takes is one successful attack by hackers to compromise it. And while this is obviously a concerning thought, it’s not something that’s been overlooked by the platforms offering cloud-based accounting software. Steps have been taken to prevent such an incident from occurring.
For starters, your data is typically encrypted by default, with another layer of encryption added to sensitive information such as credit card data. This means that anyone audacious enough to try and hack these systems must break multiple layers of security: the data center’s firewall; the accounting system’s encrypted data; and the additional level of encrypted information (i.e. credit card details).
The care and attention dedicated to the security of these systems means they have not historically been targets for hackers, and cloud accounting companies know that complacency will most certainly cost them their business should they ever let their guard down.
As we’ve already stated, the benefits of cloud accounting systems far outweigh the risks. And while there are a number of reasons to pause when considering the switch (price, features, implementation, training) concerns over security shouldn’t be one of them.
When you make the move to a cloud-based accounting platform, you can rest easy knowing that your data is more secure than it could ever be on your own servers. Particularly as you won’t have that extra responsibility of updating firewalls and antivirus software, or running regular backup procedures; it’s all taken care for you, meaning you can get on with running your business.
Let’s Put Your Business in the Cloud
Moving from a familiar system to something new like a cloud-based accounting system can be incredibly daunting. But it’s also very important if you wish to push your business forward and take full advantage of the valuable features and benefits the cloud has to offer.
The good news is, we have helped hundreds of companies just like yours embrace the cloud. And our friendly and experienced team here at Polay+Clark are ready to help you do the same by introducing cloud accounting to your business.
Get in touch today to find out more about our services.