42% of Australian businesses have adopted cloud software in some form, but if you’re running an online practice there can still be worries from clients around the security of working in the cloud.
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Keeping business data and sensitive information secure is a big concern for business owners. So it’s important to explain clearly and sensibly how a cloud accounting approach is not only safe and secure, but also brings the client a whole host of other significant benefits.
WORKING WITH ONLINE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
As a cloud practice, you’re no longer just an accountant in the traditional sense – you’re a trusted business adviser and technology consultant too.
Online accounting platforms such as Xero and QuickBooks Online bring your business clients a highly secure environment to run their accounts and manage the financial life of their business – and it’s all done online, through their laptop browser or mobile app.
Instead of using a desktop-based application on an office computer (where your data is saved to a local hard drive), online accounting lets users work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. The accounting and business data is uploaded to a cloud server, bringing the assurance that the numbers are always backed up and safe.
But there’s one common question you’re almost certain to be asked…
How secure are these cloud servers and how safe is my financial data online?
WHY CLOUD ACCOUNTING IS A SECURE PLATFORM
To answer the security question and help clients feel comfortable with online working, you’ve got to make the security aspects very clear, and place real emphasis on how the protection of client data is a priority not just for you but also for cloud providers as well.
Here are some of the key elements to talk through with clients and targets:
Data is saved on secure cloud servers
Clients’ accounting data data will be saved across multiple data centres to make it less prone to malicious hacks, and the physical servers will be protected both by online security systems and real-world security safeguards on the ground at the data centre.
What’s more, there are backups built into these networks – if one site goes down your data is saved somewhere else.
Military grade security protects their accounts All data will be encrypted using the industry-standard TLS (Transport Layer Standard) encryption technology. Accounts are no longer sat on an office server or on an easily stolen laptop: data is backed up automatically to cloud servers with true military grade protection.
Software is always the latest version
Logging into cloud software from a browser means clients will always be using the most up-to-date version of the software. That means no updates to download, no fixes to install and security settings that are always 100% current and targeted to resolve any known threats.
To put this in context, one of biggest ransomware attacks in history (Wannacry from May 2017) happened because of an old vulnerability in Windows.
By the time they sent out an update, it was too late. Not a problem with cloud security though, as all the main software providers (including Receipt Bank) have dedicated security teams keeping their software fighting fit.
THE BENEFITS OF THE CLOUD APPROACH
One key point to convey is that storing data in the cloud is just using a computer somewhere else to store your data, rather than the computer in your office.
The same risks exist in both scenarios, but the cloud systems have much more advanced security and full time teams guarding that data, unlike most accountant’s offices. In addition to this, the cloud also brings a lot of advantages that tip the scales in its favour.
When clients work online:
- Accounts are accessible 24/7
- Access is more secure
- IT costs are reduced
- A wide ecosystem of online tools
Cloud providers know that online security is a key concern for business owners, and are highly proactive about updating their solutions to meet customer expectations and keep their online security watertight.
By learning the basics of cloud security, and highlighting the key safety precautions and benefits of an online approach to accounting, you can easily put business owners minds at rest.