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February 6, 2017
Data is becoming the new currency for thieves to steal. Hackers can find out information that affects the stock market, sell client data to identity thieves, and lock servers till a ransom is paid. These are all real world scenarios and happen several times a year in the U.S. alone. Cloud service providers are trained to thwart these events. They have the skills and the technology to stop hackers where they sit.
Securing the Data
Thieves cannot physically get to the data, which is the first step of protection. The second step is stopping them from accessing the data online. Many cloud service providers use a two-step authentication to access data. This is particularly helpful with today’s mobile devices. Everyone wants to be able to access their records when they are not at work. In most cases, this is not a problem, but accessing secure client or accounting data is another issue.
Another option cloud service providers rely on is the hybrid cloud. This type of infrastructure allows normal duties to be performed in the cloud, but highly sensitive materials are stored locally at the CPA offices. Data stored at the offices is not accessible from the outside world. The cloud provider links the two systems, but there is limited access. As JournalofAccountancy.com mentions, “Accounting systems typically encrypt their data by default, and a separate encryption scheme is typically applied to credit card data contained therein. Therefore, hackers who target this type of data must break three layers of security: (1) the cloud’s security, (2) the accounting system’s security, and (3) the credit card security.”
The Importance of Disaster Recovery
Data is everything to CPAs, and hackers are not the only threat. Natural disasters are on the rise. A disaster, for many, means the loss of data. Once data is lost it is often non-retrievable. Cloud service providers have many disaster recovery plans that will fit your CPA firm’s needs. TOSS C3 has proprietary software that was created specifically for this purpose. It is called vBCDR. There is more information about disaster recovery and data protection in this TOSS C3 article.
Data itself can take many forms. It is not just clients’ personal information or the tax records of a major corporation; it is also the development tools created to run software, applications, HR information, schedules, and pretty much everything else. The question then becomes, which data is must save, which is should save, and which can be deleted.
Cloud service providers have protocols set in place to meet all these needs. Although it is rare, some organizations may want their data wiped out in certain circumstances. Others need a strong backup system setup to record all the data every day, week, or hour. Isolation of data is one of the strong points of cloud storage.
Data must be secured, regardless if it is on the move, sitting still, or currently being used. Cloud service providers can help find the right plan for your CPA firm or office.
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