Many questions still surround cloud computing for accounting professionals. I often hear issues on reliability, the idea it is a fad, or costs. The biggest issue raised is whether these cloud services are secure
for your accounting professionals and their client’s data.
Cloud computing is technically not a new concept. Back in the 1970’s, mainframe and minicomputers were all accessed by remote terminals. After the early success of the PC, CompuServe and AOL started providing online hosted services, accessed
through phone lines. Today, if you are using Facebook or thousands of other online services, you access them through the internet. Conceptually, this is the same way mainframes were accessed 40 years ago.
Popular cloud services are securely hosted in remote facilities with many layers of protection. Physical security is one of the first recognizable features any facility should be providing. Most are hardened buildings manned around the
clock tightly and controlled with regards to who has access to the data center. Online security and access control are tightly managed with only authorized access to specific infrastructure and systems. This is all managed by strict guidelines though
compliance and regulations, designated by standards like PCI DSS, ISO 27001, SAS70, SSAE 16 and HIPAA.
Security is not a guarantee, but a process to follow best practices based on expertise, training and planning.
Another aspect of these standards is reliable disaster recovery systems in the cloud. The time to recover from a disaster is the most important part of any business tragedy. A failed server at a business can several take days to get back.
Meanwhile, cloud disaster recovery can take only a few hours. How long can your business afford to be down?
The end user experience has gotten a lot easier over the years with more intuitive graphical user interfaces for personal computers, but back-end devices and systems have only gotten more complex. An example is trying to understand, but implement
proper security updates is more critical than ever today. When was the last time you updated the firewall protecting your network and data?
Cloud computing moves the expertise, effort, and risk to more highly qualified organizations. This helps you focus your attention on clients, tax laws, regulations, and fillings.