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Whether anybody really understands how “the cloud” works is something we may never know. Regardless of whether we understand it or not, we are already living in a cloud computing world of social media, mobile devices and the birth of the App Generation. It is easy to see how cloud-based systems are quickly emerging as the most advantageous method of accounting. Cloud-based accounting allows you to stay connected and access information from anywhere, at any time, but is it safe?

Although it is easy to see the advantages of working with a cloud-based accounting system such as QuickBooks Online, we often have to ask ourselves if there’s a risk. Seemingly, every day we hear about a new type of cyber-attack; ransomware, email phishing, computer/network hacking, etc. There are an endless number of risks we take by putting our most personal information on the internet; however, by taking the proper precautions you can diminish the risk of an attack.

Your accounting and payroll data can be some of the most sensitive documents to make its way across the internet. To help protect the information and accounting files you are sending to your accountant, you can incorporate the following procedures:

  • Use A Portal:  Use a secured portal to upload documents to your accountant. Lindsay & Brownell, LLP provides ShareFile to securely sync, store and share documents with its clients.
  • Change Passwords Regularly:  It is recommended that you change your password every 90 days. Newer versions of QuickBooks software require regular password changes and security PIN identification for additional security.
  • Limit User Permissions:  Limit permissions within your accounting software for each person that has access.  Limiting permissions allows each user access to their specific area to perform their individual duties and no access to others.  This limitation can eliminate unnecessary access to payroll data and other sensitive information in your accounting software.
  • Backup Your Files:  Backing up files, in particular your QuickBooks accounting software, can protect you against accidental loss of data, database corruption, and hardware failures.  These backup files will not only protect you against valuable data loss, they will also save you the time it would take to recreate the information.
  • Accountant’s Copy Password:  Sending an accountant’s copy of your QuickBooks accounting file through the internet can be risky. It’s a good idea to use a different password for your accountant’s copy in addition to your regular QuickBooks password.

For additional information on how to you protect yourself against cyber-attacks or how to securely send information to your tax or accounting team, please contact Kristi Yanover at 858-558-9200.

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