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Why and how the cloud is the safest place for your accounting firm’s data

2nd May 2024
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Silverfin’s cloud platform is used by over 800 firms to automate core accounting work, making it faster, easier and better.

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Cybersecurity is a top priority for many accounting firms – and for good reason. In 2023, about a third of UK businesses experienced a cyberattack: a figure that likely underreports the true scale of data breaches, according to a survey by the Department of Sciences, Innovation & Technology (DSIT). 

Your data is safe in the cloud


So, how do you mitigate the risks while continuing to reap the benefits of using cloud-based software to connect, centralise, access and analyse your client data more effectively? The answer can be found in the cloud – here’s why. 


Cloud vs. on-premises systems

For some accounting firms, the mere thought of migrating (client) data to the cloud conjures images of data breach nightmares. But, contrary to common misconceptions, moving to the cloud is actually the smartest move in terms of data security. 

That’s because cybersecurity risks often stem from outdated and – hence – vulnerable systems, while cloud-based solutions from Software-as-a-Service (Saas) providers offer enhanced security compared to traditional on-premises setups. Benefits include:


Compliance & encryption 


Securing on-premises systems is labour-intensive and costly. In contrast, cloud environments offer scalable, continuously monitored data centre access. What’s more, SaaS providers invest heavily in security measures, such as robust encryption mechanisms, strong authentication methods, granular access controls, and continuous monitoring tools to detect and mitigate potential threats promptly. 

Robust infrastructure


Patch management (i.e., applying updates to software, drivers, and the like to protect against vulnerabilities) on traditional systems frequently results in organisations running outdated software. This leaves them highly susceptible to security breaches. With the cloud, however, SaaS providers continuously maintain, update, and patch the digital infrastructure, reducing costs and efforts for businesses to manage their data effectively and securely. 

Disaster recovery & business continuity


Natural disasters and network outages pose significant threats to data and business operations when servers are on-premises. However, the cloud offers enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity measures. For instance, data distributed across multiple cloud data centres ensures seamless transfer in case of downtime.

Automated monitoring 


Cloud ERP providers centralize security threat detection and defence, utilising sophisticated systems to prioritise vulnerabilities. Automated scoring systems identify and remediate vulnerable data, continuously monitoring emerging threats. Such a level of centralised of automated monitoring is virtually impossible to reach with on-premises systems. 

Knowing who to trust: 5 critical questions

Now, we can already hear you think: “That’s all well and good, but how do I know which providers to trust wholeheartedly?” Valid question! And the answer is just a few queries away. To ensure the security and integrity of your firm's data, here are 5 critical questions to ask – and what to look for in the answers – when assessing a SaaS provider's cybersecurity prowess:


  1. Which data security measures are in place?  

Be sure to prioritise providers that implement robust data security measures. Look for a combination of various best practices such as:

  • industry-standard data encryption protocols, 
  • access management methods, zero-trust principles and endpoint protection tools like multi-factor authentication and encrypted password vaults, 
  • vulnerability management procedures such as automatic and code-based scans and bug bounty programs. 


  1. How do they commit to compliance? 

Ensure that the SaaS partner adheres to relevant regulatory requirements, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the UK Data Protection Act. 

Additionally, certifications such as ISO 27001 and the use of frameworks like NIST also demonstrate a commitment to security and compliance standards. 


  1. How secure is their development lifecycle? 

Running cloud-based applications requires developing code, which in turn could introduce vulnerabilities into the software. To make sure the provider is up to this challenge, make sure to ask about how their engineers handle, review and push code into production, and how they check for possible vulnerabilities and data dependencies. 


  1. How do they ensure data availability and recovery in times of need? 

Inquire about the provider’s data backup and disaster recovery processes to ensure the continuity of your operations in the event of unexpected disruptions or emergencies. A reliable and redundant backup system and contingency plans are essential for minimising downtime and data loss.

In addition, make sure to look into the provider’s incident response processing and reporting as well as their security monitoring tooling and alerts. 


  1. How do they factor in behavioural aspects? 

While technology plays a crucial role in safeguarding data, it’s only one side of the coin; the human element also forms a crucial link in the cybersecurity chain. 

So, be sure to verify if and how the provider engages their workforce in data security. Here are some best practices to be on the lookout for: 

  • employee background checks, 
  • continuous employee training programs,
  • phishing exercises, 
  • awareness campaigns,
  • mobile device management.


Why you can trust Silverfin 

Curious as to how Silverfin brings all these and other aspects together into a robust security culture? Check out our detailed overview of how we make sure your firm’s and clients’ data is protected by a best-practice-based, multifaceted and watertight approach to security. 

Take a deep dive into our security culture.