Cloud computing has been gaining rapid popularity since the 1990s. There are no arguments there.
With the onset of the current pandemic and all businesses opting for remote working, the revenue of cloud services is forecasted to grow by 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019, according to analyst firm Gartner Inc.
Although many businesses are opting to cloud solutions as their go-to for data storage and remote access to computer resources, some businesses are yet to adapt to cloud solutions to accentuate their performance. They might be doubtful about factors such as – security.
In particular, businesses such as CPA firms bound by multiple legal liabilities will have to put every aspect under the lens before choosing any platform that will be privy to their data. Although cloud solutions can be considered any accounting firms’ safest bet when it comes to a platform to store data and front applications, they will still have to examine multiple considerations before choosing any one cloud solution.
Let’s have a look at some of the factors that are recommendable for any CPA firm to consider while picking a cloud solution:
1. Security and Reliability
These are the biggest concerns of any CPA firm while choosing a cloud solution.
Cloud solutions by themselves are secure but yet, in a business such as accounting where the security of the client data is of utmost importance, they will have to keep in mind the following aspects before they can choose a solution:
- Whether the solution provides uniform protection irrespective of the location of remote access.
- If the cloud solution provides additional protection against cloud borne threats with added encryption facilities across the kill-chain.
- Prevention against unauthorized data transfers, especially from the corporate account to personal accounts.
- Elimination of gaps in security policy and enforcement of secure web and remote access.
2. Access Authentication
When accountants are on a client visit outside of the firm premises, it becomes essential for them to access any data they need to discuss with the client or even when they are working remotely.
The firm should ensure that the cloud solution that they subscribe to provides access to its employees with necessary authentication. The vendor providing the solution will provide a log of all the accesses to the firm at any time if there is a speculation of fraudulent behavior.
3. Performance and Scalability
It should be a top priority for a CPA firm to opt for a cloud solution offering a private server – the resources are exclusively allocated to their organization. No other organization will share this particular server to host any of their applications or perform any tasks.
This would play very well to the advantage of the CPA firm as it provides a window; one – to control the infrastructure and execution of the server, two – to make appropriate modifications to the storage capacity and resources at the will and need of the business.
Thus, eliminating any chance of risking access to confidential data and the hampering of resources. The availability of private resources adds to the performance by helping in easy retrieval of any virtual file/data (as it reduces the number of nodes through which the data transfer takes place), will be able to handle the complexities in the data file, support large file systems, and maintain uptime.
This is another crucial aspect that a CPA firm should consider while choosing a cloud solution as no solution will be devoid of IT issues. Although the internal IT team in a firm will be able to rectify these issues to a certain extent, the solution provider’s IT team will always be better equipped to help with the issues as they will have a view of the root of the problem, which helps in permanent remedy.
Hence, it is advisable, especially for a CPA firm which might need access to its files throughout the week to subscribe for a solution that provides support across different mediums such as call, email, and chat at all times.
5. Cost Considerations
In any Service Level Agreement, the cost plays a major role – it is applicable even when a CPA firm is opting for a cloud solution. It isn’t always necessary that a low costing cloud solution is inept, and an expensive one will serve all your needs. The only way you can decide on a solution is by trying multiple cloud solutions and choosing the one that caters to all your requirements as a firm and, at the same time, comes at a justifiable cost.
A CPA firm should not hesitate to negotiate the costs and terms with the cloud solution provider. Instead, it would help if you tried to get the best features: the money’s worth from the cloud solution for their utilization.
Any CPA firm must choose the best cloud solution at the first go as changing solutions might lead to a lot of setbacks. This becomes even more important for businesses like CPA firms; there is a risk of data leakage while transferring files from one solution to another.
The factors mentioned above are crucial while choosing a cloud solution for any CPA firm which would want to maintain the safety and, at the same time, avail the best features of any cloud solution.