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Cloud Computing continues to transform the way in which organizations use, store, and share data, applications, and workloads. Cloud Computing has also introduced a variety of security threats and challenges. With so much going into the cloud, public cloud servers in particular, these assets become the natural targets for violators.  

The Vice President and Cloud Security Leader at Gartner Inc, Jay Helser, states that “The volume of public cloud utilization is growing rapidly, so that inevitably leads to a greater body of sensitive stuff that is potentially at risk”.

In contrast to what many people might think, the major responsibility for protection of corporate data in the cloud does not lie within the service provider, but only with the cloud customer. According to Heiser, “We are in a cloud security transition period in which focus is shifting from the provider to the customer”. He states that “Enterprises are learning that huge amounts of time spent trying to figure out if any particular cloud service provider is ‘secure’ or not has virtually no payback.”

7 Cloud Security Threats

  1. Data Breaches

A breech in data could be the main objective of a targeted attack or it might just be a result of human error, application failure, or poor security practices. It can involve disclosing any type of information which was not intended for the general public. This includes personal information such as health, financial, personality identifiable information, property information or trade secrets. An organization’s cloud-based data might hold value to different parties for various reasons. The risk of the data being breached is not unique to that of cloud computing. However, it does consistently rank as number one when it comes to customers.

  1. Insecure interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs)

Cloud providers have exposed a variety of software user interfaces (UIs) or APIs which customers can use to manage and interact with the cloud services. Provisioning, management, and monitoring are all performed using these interfaces. The security and availability of general cloud services are dependent on the security of the APIs. They should be designed to defend against accidental and malicious attempts to circumvent the policy.

  1. Insufficient identity, credential, and access management   

Violators impersonating as legitimate employers, operators, or designers can read, change, and sometimes even delete data. They will also try to issue the control plane along with management functions, sneak on data in transition, or even release malicious software which appears to initiate from a genuine source. As a consequence, inadequate identity, qualification, or key administration can enable illegal access to data and hypothetically catastrophic damage to establishments or end users.

  1. Account Hacking

Account hijacking or hacking is one of the oldest kinds of cloud corruption. However, cloud services have added a new threat to the landscape. If attackers gain access to a user’s credentials, they can easily eavesdrop on numerous activities and transactions taking place.  They can also manipulate data, return falsified information, and redirect the customers to illegitimate websites. The account and service instances may become the new base used by attackers. With these stolen credentials, hackers might also gain access to critical areas of cloud computing services which allows them to easily compromise the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of these services.

  1. System Vulnerabilities

System vulnerabilities can be defined as exploitable bugs in systems which the attackers can easily make use of in order to penetrate a system for data theft, taking entire control of the system and/or disrupting the service operations. Susceptibilities within the apparatuses of the operating system might put the security of all of these services, along with the data, at a significant risk. With the introduction of multi-tenancy in the cloud, schemes from various establishments have been placed close to each other along with being given access to the shared memory with resources which creates a new attack surface.

  1. Data Loss

The data which has been stored on the cloud might be lost for numerous reasons other than malicious attacks. Data could be lost due to accidental deletion by the provider of the cloud service or even because of a physical catastrophe such as a fire. This might lead to the permanent loss of data, unless the provider has taken measures to properly back the data up. 

 

  1. Denial of Service (DoS)

DoS attacks have been designed in order to prevent users of this service from being able to access the data and the applications. By compelling the targeted cloud service to ingest inordinate amounts of the finite system resources for instance processor power, network bandwidth, and disk space, the attackers might cause the system to slow down and leave all of the legitimate users without access to the services.


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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Business technology concept.
Cloud accounting technology is a new player in the economic landscape.

Cloud accounting is similar to traditional accounting and bookkeeping procedures done on an accounting software. Cloud accounting software is hosted on remote servers, similar to the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model. Data is sent to the server into a ‘cloud’ where it is processed and sent back to the user. All application functions are done off-site, into the cloud, not on the desktop. The accounting functions are done online and not on the desktop software. The internet or another network are used for the process. Users access cloud accounting software through a cloud application service provider. The software has not be installed on a computer. It can be accessed from any place in the world, provided the cloud applications service provider is present.

Features of an accounting software must include:

  • Inventory management
  • Sales tracking
  • Contacts management and contact history tracking
  • Account to accept credit card payments
  • Generating Invoices
  • Financial statements, cash flow statements and balance sheet
  • Budget planning
  • Payrolls
  • Taxation matters

BENEFITS OF CLOUD ACCOUNTING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Cloud accounting technology is a new player in the economic landscape. Why?  We’ve listed the reasons below.

1. Access to accounting and bookkeeping data anywhere and anytime in the world. You can spend time on other activities related to business operations or spend your quality time with family. You can go online to access cloud accounting software while sitting at home and keep yourself updated with the accounting and bookkeeping functions in your business. You always have an up to date view of the financial status of the business to make the right decisions at the right time.

2. Go paperless in accounting and bookkeeping. This step is Eco-friendly, too. Paperwork takes a lot of time for accountants and business owners. Small business owners need time to interpret accounting information. Accounting software makes it easy to interpret accounting information.

3. Cloud accounting software has multi-user access.

4. Cloud accounting software is automatically updated.

5. Cloud accounting reduces upfront business costs. You do not face regular maintenance and fees for upgrading the system.

 

A Few Cloud Accounting Software and their benefits

  1. FreshBooks

You can access FreshBooks from a desktop computer and mobile phones. It has many features used to simplify accounting processes. It makes it easy to track expenses, make online payments, generate customized invoices, generate reminders of late payments, purchase history with time-tracking, client records, and management of different projects with different rates.

30 days free subscription of FreshBooks is available for a new user.  After that, it costs $19.95 a month.

  1. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is the major bookkeeping and cloud accounting tool for small businesses and is used to handle accounting operations. QuickBooks is developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks is used to:

  • Generate invoices with the logo of your company and with all details required by the customers.
  • Process payrolls according to HR policies
  • Manage all business transactions, including bills from suppliers and vendors
  • Manage Inventory
  • Track expenses
  1. Kashoo:
  • Creating professional invoices
  • Categorization of income and costs
  • Connectivity with online credit cards and bank accounts
  • Online Sharing of data with accountant
  • Reconciliation of accounts due to double entry accounting process

20 transactions per month are free.

 4. Outright:

Outright is an online cloud accounting system for small businesses and is used for tracking expenses, profit, sales, and customers. Bank accounts and other services such as PayPal, eBay, FreshBooks and web stores can be connected to Outright and data can be easily exported from one app to another.

 5.   Xero:

  • Dashboard with bank balances, expenses, and invoices
  • Customized reports required by the small business
  • Tracking cash flow in real time
  • Graphical presentation of data
  • Data can be shared and accessible to accountant and others
  • Generating customized reports and reminders to customers
  • Scheduling of Payments and returns

Apple, Blackberry, and Android applications are available. Many add-ons like CRM, invoicing, inventory management packages are also available on demand.

 

CONCLUSION

Cloud based accounting technology is changing the landscape by providing its customers the services which were not available a few years ago. One can access their company’s data from anywhere in the world by logging into the account. Small business owners must avail this technology as the costs are affordable and benefits are more abundant than ever.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

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Cloud technology was introduced with the same hype and commitment as any other technology trend has ever emerged until now. It becomes sensitive for risk-averse segments, like finance and commerce, to enter the market with safety threats of monetary and informational securities. Keeping all of this in concern, many companies are choosing cloud-based solutions for various business processes that include supply chain management, ERP, procurement, commerce and CRM.

With cloud based solutions, you receive endless opportunities to improve the operational and technical structure of your business. Simply explained, cloud based models are relatively cheaper and even faster than any other system model to host various applications and an excess amount of business data. It acts as a transformational force, where business can measure customer responses and strengths with less cost, time and risk.

Cloud, indeed, proves better than traditional approaches to transform business processes with lesser capital investment against long-term implementation. It is, however, necessary for businesses to be change-oriented and wisely follow the proper practices for successful results.

Learn about your Limitations

The finance and commerce segments of any typical business already have an extensive portfolio and bookkeeping of technology systems over a period of time. This happens because of the significant requirement of large storage of essential information. This makes some of the existing technology applications limited to cloud deployments, as they are too old to be compatible with cloud technology. This becomes an important first step for any business to understand the limitation before synchronizing with cloud computing systems. A survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan declares that about sixty-one percent of financial institutions face the “inability to meet compliance requirements”. This happens because they fail to transform various applications to the cloud.

Implement Best Practices

It is highly essential for businesses to know the best practices to implement that are equally relevant to your business processes. While you must stay vigilant about the relevance of these practices, here are some ways through which finance and commerce businesses can get absolute clarity regarding proper cloud deployment.

  1. Have a strategic vision for the change

Before you go for any cloud campaign, you first should have an extensive vision that supports the reason for the change, significantly associated with your business goals and objectives. Many businesses miss out on the purpose of cloud deployment and take it casually as a technology, which leads them to troubles.

  1. Make a tactical process plan

It is again important for businesses to plan a road map that clearly defines the implementation approach. Other than a vision, the business should have a tactical plan that can describe the absolute purpose of cloud deployment You also need to make sure that the deployment is realistic enough to be managed by your team.

  1. Make a wise choice for platform

When choosing any technology for your business, you have to be sensitive about choosing the right vendor or consulting company. The wrong selection can cause a disaster for the whole initiative. A key cloud initiative requires the right technological skills and a highly trusted long term relationship between the business, consulting partners and the technical team.

  1. Get leadership in loop

Companies must essentially get the prime management leaders in the loop about their cloud deployment approach. If the cloud initiative is only restricted to the IT and Chief Technical Officer, the significance of the cloud deployment may stay unrealized and ignored to some extent by other team members.

  1. Get Prepared for Change Management

Introducing a new technology to the organization can be a challenge for your employees, particularly to those who are relatively junior in work. Cloud technology can result in an effective approach for a business, only when all of the users, employees and relevant people are well versed in the cloud resources. Significantly, change management sessions should be held to make everyone familiar with the cloud deployment.


Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

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Public cloud environments like AWS, Azure, Google, and Microsoft are known for being cost-effective for IT infrastructure. Sadly, this doesn’t happen each time because of the constantly increasing complexity in what the cloud offers to it’s users. Due to lack of knowledge and visibility about the cloud environments, most organizations fail to deal with the cost and unknowingly overfill money into public clouds. This is one kind of an error that makes it very difficult to be controlled or fixed.

Here are five mistakes that you should definitely avoid to increase the cloud instancing optimization and resource efficiency without affecting the performance risks in new environments.

1. Not having Command on Detailed Application Workload Patterns

It is not necessary that all workloads are designed irrespective of which public cloud you’ve been hosted with. You meet the error when you go deeper into cloud instance selection. For selecting the cloud instance, you have to be well informed about the reason for the workload, along with the utilization pattern.

The system of a batch of workload is different than the usual application. In apps, constant varying from peaks to valleys occur. While in public cloud, the workload does its work at least once at the end of each day. In order to understand the workload pattern between the days and its variation over a business cycle, you wisely have to select the right cloud instance and resources.

2. Inability to Meet Benchmarks to Normalize Inter-Platform Data

‘Like for Like’ is a common approach to deal with resource allocation when migrating from one cloud environment to another. There is a dire need to utilize benchmarks in order to standardize the workload information. It gives a more clear idea of how the workload will perform in the new environment.  This way you can expect more optimized performance on the new platform, which is likely to have better hardware than the previous one.

In simple words, we can say that normalizing the data is the only way to make an apple to apple comparison.

3. Focusing too much on the Sizing

Now, while sizing is an important issue to consider, it shouldn’t be the only focus. When you migrate to an environment that is running on more advanced and powerful hardware, you can reduce cost by modernizing workload as well. Compared to the savings delivered by right sized instances on the public cloud, modernizing can add 20% more value.

Modernizing requires proper understanding of the workload, catalogs, and cost, along with the ability to normalize the data. It all adds up to performance optimization. The analysis of all of these aspects should be an ongoing process, especially for apps that are regularly updated.

4. The Bump-Up Loop

One of the major culprits behind overspending or over-provisioning is the infamous bump-up loop. Certain workloads will use as many resources as they are provided. When more resources are provisioned, those apps will take more of it and they would do it for short cycles. This is the bump-up loop and it can literally hog resources and multiply the spending.

In order to prevent this expensive situation, you need to analyze and understand the behavior and pattern of each workload. This way the overall resource allocation and utilization will be optimized. 

5. Unmanaged Zombie Cloud Instances

Zombie instances occur when the short-term instance is deployed but not shut down. A single zombie instance may not cause much harm, but a pile of them can send the cost skyrocketing. A reasonable approach to avoid such waste is to keep an eye on the workload pattern across a certain time period i.e., a monthly or weekly cycle. Tools that are unable to provide long-term visibility into the workload are usually incapable of identifying zombie instances.

Conclusion

Avoiding all of these mistakes can optimize your cloud instancing, not just for cost but also for performance.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

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Just like all of the various technology trends, the cloud technology model initially emerged with lots of hype along with so many promises. It would be wise to step on new soil with utmost care, especially when it comes to the risk-averse commerce and finance segment when the information has more security, regulatory and privacy concerns. In spite of all these various concerns, numerous financial companies have been making progress using cloud-based technological solutions across various lines of business such as ERP, CRM, front office, procurement, supply chain and commerce applications.

Adopting the various cloud-based solutions present an opportunity for vast operational and technical improvements. To put it in simple words, cloud technology is a faster, simpler, and more affordable way to host numerous different software applications with huge amounts of data. In the widest definition, cloud technology represents a huge transformative force where users can employ new business competencies along with customer experience to launch amazing short time scales, reduced risks and lower expenses.

The cloud technology will enable an amazing business transformation in numerous ways in which the traditional approaches will not. This is because of the elongated implementation schedules along with the major capital investments that the customary approaches often require. However, using this innovative opportunity for transformation also comes a embracing the change and also following the best practices which will support a successful implementation and adoption. 

 

Know The Limitations

Because of the size and the department silos, commerce and finance organizations have a large and sundry portfolio of already existing technological systems. Many of these systems span across numerous years of procurements, new product launches, or the implementation of modern technology. Some of the applicants might not be perfect candidates for cloud technology due to the limitations it has on the security or usage. In reality, a study recently conducted by Frost & Sullivan on the cloud adoption validated this finding with 61% of financial service companies quoting an “inability to meet compliance requirements” as one of the reasons for not moving numerous applications over to the cloud. Other business procedures might still use manual or paper-based operations, making the shift to cloud technology a lot more challenging. As stated by the Frost &Sullivan research, 53% of all financial companies who were surveyed have implemented a “cloud first” approach for the new applications, however, do not plan to transfer legacy apps.

 

Adopt The Best Practices

So, where does the company start from? The very first thing you should do is complete your homework and research completely about the industry you are working in. It is important that you talk to your peers and employees in order to identify the correct business processes which make sense for the organization. However, through this entire process, keep in mind that you will be required to follow the best practices which are employed for successful cloud technology implementation and deployment. Following are 3 of ways that you can rest assured that you get a successful cloud technology deployment.  

 

1. Have an all-inclusive cloud vision, strategy, and blueprint. Before you embark on any of the cloud technology campaigns, it is important that you completely understand the purpose of this change. Numerous companies believe that using the cloud is simply a technology play, missing the precious opportunity to lay out a vision for noteworthy business transformation. In reality, careful business planning is probably the hardest challenge to overcome.

2. Create a genuine, well-designed road map with an implementation approach. Beyond this vision, you might also need a tactical plan. Most often, corporations initially bite off more than they can chew. They plan the initial scope to be very expansive and almost unobtainable. Before you begin with the deployment, ensure that the team is completely ready to handle the entire process.

3. Obtain the leadership buy-in. When your leadership team, including the CFO, CEO, CMO, COO, CHRO, etc, is not on board, it may hinder the decision-making process and slow down the progress of major initiatives. Nevertheless, if your cloud technology initiative is only supported by the CTO and the IT department, the actual transformative business advantages of the cloud technology may go entirely unnoticed, thus the organization might resist the implementation option. The process might even begin to feel like an entire failure. When you get everyone on board, it overwhelmingly increases the potential for success.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.