The accounting and tax industry is interested in the power of the cloud. The ability to feasibly utilize advanced accounting and bookkeeping features remotely in a secure manner helps improve the operational efficiency of the business. For this reason, cloud spending was 72 billion last year and it is expected to increase to 110 billion next year.
There’s no doubt in the fact that businesses are accepting and adopting cloud-based solutions and services for QuickBooks Desktop, but many are still worried about the security.
Is your QuickBooks safe on the cloud?
The cloud is fueled by the experience and skills of a great IT and security team employed by the service provider. There are several security measures like encryption, restricted data access, and regular updates that help secure your QuickBooks data on the cloud.
A Few Questions About QuickBooks Data Safety On The Cloud
Some questions asked by accounting and tax businesses hosting QuickBooks on the cloud. We have answered these major challenges faced by businesses.
Where is My QuickBooks Data?
When you host QuickBooks on the cloud, your data is stored in cloud servers. By the cloud servers, we mean a network of physical data centers that are managed and maintained by the cloud provider. Think of the data center that you may set up in-house, and increase the size and number of these data centers to understand the huge network that cloud providers set up.
Cloud vendors often create redundant servers across various continents or states to ensure you have secure access and maximum uptime.
Can I Keep Sensitive Data On The Cloud?
Ideally, if you are hosting QuickBooks on the cloud, you are keeping your sensitive data on the cloud. Every sensitive client-related file of QuickBooks software is accessed via the cloud.
It is safe to move your sensitive data to the cloud, given that your cloud provider is using advanced security measures and you are using the access control feature.
What About The Access Control?
Since we are talking about access control, how can you manage it in the cloud?
The cloud provider uses authentication methods to help you define which employee has what type of access to the system. For example, you don’t want an intern working on high-level tax files of your biggest clients. Hence, in that case, you decide on role-based access for your application.
How Is Endpoint Security Maintained?
An endpoint is any device used by your employees to access QuickBooks on the cloud. Since this device is not directly controlled by the cloud provider or your IT team (if you allow BYOD), you can’t control security on this device.
However, there’s nothing to worry about because any security threat on the endpoint doesn’t reach your QuickBooks. This is because your users are only opening an image of the software on their end devices. Any damage to the endpoint doesn’t go to your hosting instance. Further, IT admins have the power to centrally manage and remotely refresh or sign out an endpoint from the network to ensure security.
How Safe Is My Data On The Cloud?
For a business that has accounting and tax as core operations, managing security is difficult. It needs to create an IT team with several experts. Hosting QuickBooks on the cloud keeps the software safer than in-house structure.
Let’s understand how:
Firewalls are an imperative part of your network security system that tracks traffic incoming on the network. These external and internal firewalls are often used in the cloud servers to track traffic accessing your QuickBooks software and its data.
How do we use both types of firewalls?
On the cloud, the external firewall is used for multi-factor authentication. This tracks traffic that is trying to sign in to your network. The external firewall ensures that only authenticated users are receiving access to your data.
For example, any employee of your business would need to authenticate his or her identity via MFA to get access to QuickBooks on the cloud. But, if there’s an ex-employee whose access has been revoked, he won’t be able to sign in to the network because firewalls may stop this person from gaining access to QuickBooks.
Similarly, there are internal or software firewalls that help you control the role-based access of employees within your organization. You can decide which employee category can access what type of data. This role-based access helps offer limited and full access to different stakeholders and employees of the company.
Data encryption is the process of masking your data with an encryption key so that it is not readable to any person that doesn’t have the key. There are several types of encryption methods used by cloud service providers. The best one is TLS 1.3 and 256-bit encryption that helps cloud providers encrypt data in transmission.
On the cloud, many times, your QuickBooks data is also masked at rest, so that cyber attackers are not able to decipher any meaning from this data.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention
Intrusion Detection and Prevention systems are two broad technologies used in the security domain and also used by your QuickBooks hosting provider. With an Intrusion Detection System, the cloud provider detects any unusual activity in the system and responds to the incident quickly. With an Intrusion Prevention System, the cloud provider is able to prevent attacks based on past data and learnings.
Both these systems aid cloud security and help prepare a quick response when and if there’s an intrusion.
Your QuickBooks data is safer on the cloud due to IDS/IPS, encryption, DDoS protection, regular OS patching, and other security measures. The cloud provider also backs up your data to various redundant servers to help you retrieve your files when there’s a disaster like situation. This means that even when you lose your data due to disaster or accidental deletion, you can restore a backup file to continue working.
Before selecting any cloud provider for hosting QuickBooks on the cloud, understand their security measures, compare it with the above list, and then make a decision.