With more and more applications being accessible through the cloud and constant news of hacking, ransomware, and stolen data happening around us, security is on everyone’s mind. It is logical to assume that data that is being compromised is “in the cloud” at a cloud provider, but in reality, much of this data is actually being hacked from on-premise servers that do not have the security a cloud provider would have.
As accounting professionals, we tend to have two major concerns when it comes to cybersecurity:
I used the paraphrase “in the cloud” above because, while many people claim that their data is “in the cloud,” the fact of the matter is that their data is sitting on a physical server in a physical location that is accessed through an internet connection. These are either on cloud provider servers, which are located in specially built buildings with security, full back up capabilities including redundant backups to other servers in other locations, or servers setup by various companies to allow employee access to data remotely through the internet. This is more common with the various technologies available to companies and the need to allow a virtual or physical workforce to access company data.
That brings us to this question: since the data is sitting on a physical server in the first place is it safer in a “cloud provider’s” facility or in your own office? To answer that, we need to look at the potential threats to our data.
Since most of our data is accessible through the cloud either using your own infrastructure or a cloud provider’s, let’s look at why it would be safer use a cloud provider’s infrastructure instead of your own.
It truly makes more sense to use a cloud provider for the above reasons, but the main point is, let’s not be fooled into thinking that if the data is local, it is secure or more secure than with a cloud provider. Data that is accessible “through the cloud” is so much better protected because cloud providers are equipped to protect our data and are in business to do just that. Accounting professionals and their clients should be focused on growing and managing their businesses and not on trying to protect their data in their local environment.
If your computer is connected to the internet, then your data is in the “cloud,” either because it is setup for remote access or because it is vulnerable to sophisticated hackers. That being said, I would say a true cloud provider is better suited to protect our data then we are. It’s their business, not ours. Whether your data is in the cloud or on your local servers, here are some tips to keeping your data safe:
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