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Balancing the Books and Bytes: The Essential Role of Local IT Security for Cloud-Reliant Accounting

Accounting firms, the modern-day guardians of financial data, are increasingly turning to cloud accounting software for its convenience and efficiency. However, this digital shift brings a crucial consideration to the forefront: the indispensable need for robust local IT security. The reliance on cloud-based tools should not eclipse the importance of a comprehensive, managed IT security strategy.


The Illusion of Complete Security in Cloud Accounting

Cloud accounting software, like Xero or QuickBooks Online, offers a plethora of benefits – accessibility, ease of use, and real-time collaboration, to name a few. However, a common misconception among accounting firms is that using these cloud-based tools absolves them of the need for robust local IT security. This belief couldn't be further from the truth.

A study by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 69% of organizations believe their data is at risk in the cloud. While cloud providers do ensure a high level of security, the responsibility of protecting sensitive data isn't theirs alone. The concept of shared responsibility in cloud computing highlights that while providers are responsible for the security of the cloud, customers are responsible for security in the cloud.

The Local IT Security Umbrella: More Than Just a Raincoat

Think of local IT security as an umbrella in a downpour. The cloud might be the sky, vast and seemingly all-encompassing, but the raindrops of cyber threats can still find their way through. Here's where a robust local IT security system comes into play:

  1. Comprehensive Data Protection: Cloud software providers focus on securing their platforms, but local IT security encompasses a broader scope. It protects not just the data on the cloud but also the integrity of local systems, networks, and endpoints from which this data is accessed.

  2. Tailored Security Posture: Every accounting firm has unique security needs. A managed IT service can provide customized security solutions that align with specific operational requirements and risk profiles.

  3. Proactive Threat Management: Cloud services typically offer reactive security measures. In contrast, a dedicated IT team can actively monitor and preemptively address potential security threats, ensuring a higher level of data protection.

  4. Ensuring Compliance: With stringent regulations governing financial data, accounting firms must ensure compliance not just in the cloud but across all data touchpoints. Local IT security helps maintain these standards through regular audits, updates, and compliance checks.

  5. Employee Training and Awareness: One of the biggest threats to data security is human error. A managed IT service can provide ongoing training and support to staff, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness that cloud software alone cannot achieve.

The Role of Managed IT Services

Managed IT services play a pivotal role in bridging the security gaps left by cloud accounting software. They offer:

  • 24/7 Monitoring and Support: Continuous monitoring of network and system activities to quickly identify and respond to threats.

  • Regular Security Audits: Assessing and fortifying the security posture to prevent data breaches and leaks.

  • Disaster Recovery Planning: Developing robust backup and recovery strategies to ensure business continuity in the event of a cyber incident.

Lessons from the Field

cloud accounting

The need for robust local IT security in conjunction with cloud accounting software becomes even more evident when we look at real-world incidents. For instance, a UK-based accounting firm experienced a data breach in 2019, leading to the loss of sensitive client information. The firm relied heavily on cloud software but neglected local email security measures. This oversight led to unauthorized access to sensitive client data, showcasing the need for a holistic security approach.

A Dual-Layered Approach to Security

While cloud accounting software is a powerful tool for modern accounting firms, it's not a standalone solution for data security. The synergy of cloud accounting with a fortified local IT security system creates a dual-layered defense, essential for safeguarding the lifeblood of any accounting firm – its data.

Remember, in the world of cybersecurity, a stitch in time saves nine.


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