Benefits and Costs of Cloud Computing for Accounting Firms

I sometimes hear and read concerns about accounting firms using Cloud applications.  Mostly the stated issue is security that is, of the data stored with the Cloud supplier.  The other issue, which seems less considered is security as the data is transferred to and from the Cloud.

Yes, there may be a possible loss of data, indeed hacking has happened, but that can happen with data stored on an in office system.  I am told one Cloud supplier did go broke and though their data had been written to another source, it was dropped there.  So there was no duplicate data.  It could be argued, if not adequately backed up, in house data can also be lost, for example if the sprinklers go on, hence the need for off site backup.

One solution may be to go with a reputable cloud supplier which has anti hacking provisions and multiple back up storage arrangements.  Plus, favour a supplier who will allow the occasional (annual?) transfer of unencrypted data and save (at another location) so there is still some control.  There is a requirement for secure data delivery, a high security network which also allows for carrier diversity for times of crisis. For firms in some country areas, the speed of internet connections is such that optimising use of Cloud applications is not feasible.  For other firms, if there are so many possible efficiencies with Cloud applications, do the benefits outweigh any likely costs?

Feedback and thoughts from suppliers or users is welcome.

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For Accountants

The official account of For Accountants, an online resource specifically designed for accountants in public practice.