Cloud computing is becoming the standard delivery mode for most enterprise software applications. While security is a consideration for any application, it is particularly important for accounting software. The major areas to consider when evaluating cloud computing accounting applications are:
• Identity management
• Application security
• Data security
• Privacy protection
Any cloud computing vendor should be able to provide satisfactory answers to questions regarding each of these security requirements.
Identity management controls access to the system that holds your data. In some cases the application provider will supply the identity management, or you can use your own identity management data through single sign-on (SSO) or other user authentication techniques. It is important to maintain appropriate security levels through standards for password length, complexity, and expiration.
Application providers must create secure areas for their clients to store and manage their data. Usually firewalls are used to prevent unauthorized users from seeing or manipulating data that does not belong to them. Make sure that your provider has the appropriate controls in place to segregate and protect your data. Usually there are firewall specifications or other protections that vendors can provide to establish that adequate protections are in place.
Data redundancy and backup are just as important in cloud computing as any other software environment. Accounting application providers should definitely have adequate backup procedures in place to handle your critical data. Ask for evidence of backup and restore procedures, and test these procedures on a regular basis. Also, it is a good idea to maintain your own backup data in a secure location.
Most accounting applications provide ways to mask critical customer data, such as account numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, etc. Access to unmasked data should be restricted to only top level administrators who should have access to that information. You can review with your service provider how data privacy is controlled and protected in their application, and verify that their procedures meet the appropriate standards for privacy.
Using cloud computing for accounting systems does not present a different security risk from using any other type of hosted software. But there are certain controls and standards that must be met by vendors who offer accounting services in their hosted environments. Make sure that you investigate the security requirements listed above, and that you can establish that your data and application environment are adequately protected.
ERP is the most complex—and costly—business software product available today. Many businesses struggle to implement an ERP system without breaking the bank. Read this guide to learn more about what you can expect in terms of cost—and how to save money during the implementation process. more
The retail landscape is changing, particularly in the area of security and loss prevention. With mega-breaches at Target (40 million stolen debit and credit cards), Home Depot (56 million unique cards), and eBay (145 million people affected), security has become a topic that cannot be ignored. more
With the immense changes the retail industry has undergone and continues to face today, there are mistakes that you as a wholesaler simply can’t afford to make. Certainly, one of these—perhaps the greatest of all in our technology-driven age—is choosing the wrong retail business management software for your business. more
Does your current software give your retail business the visibility and flexibility you need to be responsive and competitive? Or has your business outgrown your business management system? more