Designing Home and SME Networks 12 – Network Security – The Basics

Most home users can close their eyes and blithely pass over this article. That’s not to say it doesn’t apply, just that not many home users want to get heavy and official with their family, and this article covers the dread subject of Security Policies

What is a security policy?

A security policy is a (normally written) statement of what your systems’ users are and are not allowed to do. It also usually covers some aspects of the sanctions that will be taken for breaches of the policy. (Now you see why not many home network owners implement a security policy!)

A thorough security policy states the obvious, as well as the obscure:

  • If you don’t want your staff using work computers to surf the net for private purposes, say so. Say also what will happen if they get caught doing it. And tell them why (misuse of business resources, wasting time, traffic costs, impact on other business processes, danger of virus/trojan infections… the list is (almost) endless).
  • If you don’t allow users to take their laptops home, then tell them.
  • One often-missed threat is users taking company laptops home quite legally and then plugging them into unsecured home networks. Make sure that they understand that the company security policy applies ALL THE TIME, even when they’re at home or on holiday in the Seychelles.

Make sure that the policy is consistent and clearly-written. Consistency is especially important in its applicability. If the policy doesn’t apply to the boss’s son or to the IT director, make it plain in the policy and explain why. Users often use the excuse “Well, he did it, so why shouldn’t I?”

Of course, if the policy is too big, no-one will read it, so use all the advertiser’s tricks to push the point home: login notices, browser front-ends that you have to click ‘read and understood’ to continue, training and Q&A sessions, notice board announcements, regular monitoring and well-publicised sanctions, from verbal and written warnings, up to and including dismissal for very serious or repeated breaches.

And, once again, make sure EVERYONE knows about it, what it says and who it applies to. An important issue often overlooked is that the senior staff should be even more careful to apply it than the junior secretaries. After all, a Financial Director’s laptop is more likely to contain potentially company-destroying information than a salesman’s PDA!

Why bother to have a security policy?

Your security policy is a bit like an insurance policy. No insurance policy ever stopped an accident or prevented a disaster directly, but such documents:

  • Make users aware of what they can and can’t do and still stay within the rules – they ignore the policy at their peril!
  • Tell users that you are aware of what they do and what action you will take if the break the rules
  • Give you ammunition if any action becomes necessary
  • Gives your IT designer and support staff a baseline to implement your security architecture against.
  • And, possibly most important, prevent any transgressor saying “I didn’t know…” or “You never told me…”

Creating a Security Policy is always a two-way process – quite often the user/designer/IT support will come to you and say “But what about…?”

Remember: No security policy is ever really finished. Goalposts move, new facilities, services and threats develop. Your IT team should review your security policy every quarter, and the IT management team or the Board should review it annually.

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Why Security and Performance Are Important Factors When Choosing QuickBooks Cloud Hosting?

The use of cloud technology in the accounting sector is gaining significant traction with time. The perusal of cloud accounting is in works for businesses of all sizes and walks of the industry. Expanding the cloud market rather rapidly.

Many reports have stated that a large chunk of accountants are shifting their businesses to the cloud. Some even quote that it’s as large as 53% of the industry. They’re in unanimity that cloud computing has made their tasks significantly easier.

But with the surge in the adoption of the cloud, the challenges concerning security are rising simultaneously. Yes, performance has increased, but it is difficult for smaller firms to find the best QuickBooks cloud hosting plan to suit their business strategy. There is a galore when it comes to options but with those options, the aspect of security and performance has to be given equal attention.

Let us now know why security and performance are important factors when it comes to QuickBooks cloud hosting:

Apprehending Cloud Security for QuickBooks Hosting

Security in the cloud is inevitable to ensure that QuickBooks software is safe. While your data is more secure in the cloud as compared to the traditional method of storing data, it is only intelligent to understand the security aspect in the right context.

There are procedures, certain policies, system control, and technology, which when put together, help protect the data and infrastructure. Procedural implementation of these measures helps in safeguarding the clients’ privacy and keeping intact the security and authenticity of the data.

Security in the cloud, while hosting QuickBooks, can be configured in accordance with business requirements and size, nature of the business. Factors like traffic and multi-user authentication can also be put into arrangement.

As cloud hosting is managed unilaterally, it eliminates the need for a dedicated administrative team, thus cutting down operational costs significantly. Therefore, we see that it is quintessential to choose a QuickBooks cloud service provider offering best-in-class security, which is customizable as per your individual business requirements.

Zero Down On A Cloud Provider That Ensures Apt Security

When selecting a cloud provider to host your QuickBooks software, look for one that gives you an option and control as to where your data is stored and managed. You should be well informed by your cloud provider about the location and capacity of their data centers.

Do not skip on evaluating whether or not they provide proper data encryption. Critical data should be encrypted so as to avoid data accessibility to unauthorized users. Be well-read of your hosting provider’s security policy to decide if they are in alignment with your firm’s business approach.

Debunking Cloud Security Myths

As more and more accounting firms are moving their operations to the cloud,

there are a few inevitable concerns and myths which come up around its security.

These are some of the common myths related to cloud security:

MYTH- Public cloud isn’t secure

FACT- When cloud technology was first introduced, people were concerned about the level of data security that would be associated with it. Now, as a pleasant outcome, this is not a concern anymore, given the performance that the cloud has demonstrated.

With decades worth of market presence, QuickBooks cloud hosting providers have invested significantly in security measures and for the use of updated technology to make sure that your data is rendered the best notch of security that there is. QuickBooks providers can now backup data in different geographical areas, which makes them way more reliable and secure as compared to on-premise data storage.

MYTH-Anyone can access the data in the cloud

FACT- Losing control or data leak or mishandling of data are some of the major concerns people have while migrating their QuickBooks software to the cloud.

However, data privacy is one of the prime benefits offered by cloud technology. It is way more difficult for hackers to debunk data that is stored in the cloud as compared to on-premise or physically stored data. Popular research showed that 95% of failures in cloud security would be because of the end-user and not because of the data being stored in the cloud or remotely.

MYTH- It is easier for hackers to attack data in the cloud

FACT- It’s a common assumption that as cloud providers maintain and manage a number of data sources and data modules at once, each individual’s data is prone to breach and is more vulnerable. On the contrary, truth holds as most reputed cloud hosting providers adopt best in class security measures, such as fully-clustered multi-tier cloud infrastructure backed by 256-bit encryption and 24-hr network monitoring. All these security protocols make your data more secure and under better surveillance.

Decoding Cloud Performance for QuickBooks Hosting

The performance of an accounting firm or the user experience of a particular software largely depends on the performance of the cloud. Choose a provider that can deliver steady yet sporadic performance at scale.

Some of the key parameters in cloud performance that firms should look out for, prior to hosting QuickBooks on the cloud:

a) Scalability and Elasticity: Elasticity and Scalability offered by QuickBooks on the cloud helps reduce the overall business costs and provides ameliorated performance.

These factors can be evaluated through bandwidth, servers, and data warehouses. The cloud provider’s short and long-term strategy and service level should also be kept into perspective consideration.

b) Flexibility: This becomes a significant factor when evaluating the performance of a cloud provider. It’s desirable that the migration of applications to the cloud be cost-effective and convenient. There should be flexibility in terms of operating systems, databases, and programming models.

c) Downtime Issues: The foremost agenda when migrating a business to the cloud is to have undenied round the clock access to work, so as to increase productivity by multiple folds. For this, it is more than necessary that there be minimum downtime. Evaluate the cloud provider’s performance against their SLAs for the past year. Perfection can’t be expected as downtime is inevitable and all cloud providers face it, but it should be as less as possible.

d) Disaster Recovery: All this while we have been talking about data security. Data security becomes the prime issue when a premise or a data center is hit by a disaster or a mishap. This is where a cloud provider’s data recovery module comes into play. While evaluating the QuickBooks cloud provider, learn about their backup systems, contingency, and recovery in case of failure. Ask them how much time it takes for data retrieval and whether or not they have multiple recovery stations at varied locations.

A Word To Infer

Moving to the cloud is smart, but it is smarter to be smart when choosing your cloud provider. Peruse and Pick! Thorough research and planning makes sure that the QuickBooks cloud provider you choose, provides the performance and security that fits your bill and your needs of safeguarding your data, and that they’re secure enough for you to trust them.

Benefits of Using IT Security and Data Protection

In order to maintain the level of any organization, one needs a lot of research upon advancement on technologies that are convenient for their customers. There needs to be a constant study to understand what the customers accepts & prefer to operate for saving time and money.

Sustaining a devoted, full-time IT department is very expensive, time consuming and incompetent for smaller companies, hence it is always recommended to consider the guidance from the companies who offer the IT security services.

These companies provide project based resources having a wide knowledge and experience of the industry allowing their clients to have both – peace of mind, which helps them to further concentrate on business development and affordable IT support, where they don’t need to hire resources and offer salaries.

There are multiple benefits of considering the external IT security and data protection services. Some of them are as follows:

• Allows companies to concentrate on business expansions: There are so many tasks that distract the company managers from concentrating on the core activities that leads to business expansions. Various companies are also from different sectors where IT setup is just one single part used for automation purpose.

The time and energy spent on assuming these automation systems, searching for solutions, deploying and fixing technologies cost these non-IT companies very high. Having the IT data protection companies to take care of these things enables the internal staff to find out the sources of optimum revenue generations.

• Implementations of technical advancements: One of the most important objective for considering the IT Security Data Protection is that they are people having technical qualifications and always keep themselves updated with the latest updates on the technologies.

Usually the IT connoisseurs offer these services as they have an experience in setting up this industry for several years. So, one thing is certain that whatever solutions they offer for your industry, would be the best in class & technically advanced.

• Helps in saving Operational overheads: Most of the businesses spend around 40% of cost by setting up a team who specifically take care of technological research and analysis, even if they are not from the IT sector. This increases a lot of operational overheads and indirectly leads to dropping of profits.

These overheads include the high salaries of employees, vacations, compensations according to policies etc. and the time taken by them to get the result is also too high. In order to avoid the time loss and expenses, it is always better to consider the IT security and data protection services who work according to projects and who have most of the solutions ready with them. The only time required is during the deployment of the strategies.

• Pay-Per Project facility: Companies experience quite a problem when there is a hike in the growth factor and customer expectations. But as this doesn’t continue forever, it becomes difficult for companies to scale the resources as per the demand.

So, the best option to consider is to partner with the IT Consultant who work on Pay-Per Project basis. One can appoint them based on the number of projects coming in, there is no need for appointing the employees and paying them a fixed cost each month.

• Upsurge Productivity: There are many companies wherein Information Technology isn’t a core business, but it is just a small part to uphold the automations. In these cases, people with non-IT backgrounds also waste a lot of time in research for better business operations.

If they don’t get time, they hire resources with all employee benefits and who take care these things. But at a certain point, there is really a specific use of these employees. So, if these companies take the help of companies offering IT services, they can contribute their knowledge in the fields they are best at and leave the research and analysis tasks on this team.