Secure file transfer systems are almost a standard feature on an accounting website design nowadays. They're all very much the same, and are generally good enough from an online security viewpoint. Some are still sincerely better than others, however. It's uncomplicated enough to check that your files are properly encrypted and password protected. The weakest point in a lot of CPA site protection isn't in the data management, it's the physical datacenter that the data is stored to. Datacenters with professional looking websites and first rate code may very well be stored in the basement of a private residence. It takes a physical examination of a datacenter to determine it's real quality, and that can make shopping around rather expensive. You don't want your client's accounting data hosted on a low cost "cheap" datacenter.
I learned this lesson the hard way. I was using a datacenter based out of an office building out in Chicago when an exploding transformer disabled some of my clients' file transfer systems. This wasn't just a brownout. The explosion started a fire that actually damaged or destroyed a number of their servers. This incident opened up a huge can of worms for me. I had spent ridiculous amounts of time creating the perfect online security system, but as an accounting website design professional I had become lost in code. I had utterly failed to properly consider the physical security of the actual servers. All the online security in the world is useless if the physical security of your data server is compromised.
I shudder to think how much worse it could have been. While "what if" scenarios were rolling around in my head when a worst case scenario made me shudder. These days identity theft is a hugely popular and profitable source of income for a diverse range of criminal elements. It doesn't much matter how well secured the information is on-line if someone can just unplug the server and walk out of the building with it.
Step one in addressing any problem is research, and it didn't take me long to realize that the AICPA had already done the hard work for me. What I needed to do was move my clients data onto a server with a SAS 70 Type II security certification. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires all publicly traded companies to use SAS 70 Type II Certified datacenters. These exhaustive security audits are administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and performed by specially trained CPA firms.
Armed with this information I started shopping around. The difference between these data centers and the ones I had been using was night and day. SAS-70 datacenters are housed in a secure, 24/7, around-the-clock, guarded facility with closed-circuit motion sensitive video surveillance. Physical access to the servers is strictly limited to only authorized datacenter personnel. When I made my choice I went high-end. I found a place that used fingerprint scanners, and nobody gets in without being authenticated by their own prints and a fingerprint from the guard at the front desk.
The information security of your website is not enclosed in your accounting website design. Don't overlook the value of a secured datacenter. If you currently employ one check it out and make certain it's properly secure. If you're looking for one take time to make sure it's a good one. Naturally I'm an enormous fan of SAS 70 certification. The effortless way to make certain your datacenter is reasonably secure is to make certain it's SAS 70 Type II certified.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Kenny Marshall is a marketing consultant and former Vice President of CPA Site Solutions, one of the nation's leading web firms oriented entirely to accounting website design.
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