Used to be that that teachers scolded me for having my head in the cloud. Nowadays clients are scolding me cause that’s where I want to put their accounting data. In the cloud. With cloud accounting software.
“But, I don’t want all my important info in the cloud!” They tell me, “What about security, what about privacy?”
Sure. I get it. Security, privacy; they’re critical.
But here’s thing.
“Your data,” I tell them, “Is probably safer in the cloud. It’s backed up, it’s version-controlled, It won’t get lost because of a hard drive failure or because someone stole your computer.”
“And,” I add, “It’s accessible from anywhere—your smartphone, your tablet, and from any web-enabled computer.”
Sometimes, some of them start coming around. They love those benefits. But then comes the biggie; the sharp-toothed, mean-spirited, data-hungry monster that lies under the bed of almost every small-business owner.
“Yeah, but PRIVACY! What about privacy? I don’t want some hacker stealing my accounting data.”
And you know what, they’re right. In today’s world, privacy is quickly becoming a lost art. And like most valuable art, it’s appreciated by some (small biz owners it seems) and pretty-much ignored by others (any kid with a smartphone). And this is where I’d explain encryption and vault-like security, “Just like your bank!” And this is where I also explain that no one–not a soul–has had their data stolen while using cloud accounting.
Still, they’re not swayed. Not completely. And that’s when it’s time to break out (with apologies to Lennon/McCartney) the “Cloud Song.”
But seriously, whether you like it or not, your data is already in the cloud. And if you think about it, you’ll see that it’s true. Almost all of your most personal information is already stored up there, somewhere in the cloud.
Never mind the obvious ones like Twitter or Facebook. Never mind the everyday ones like Gmail or Dropbox. Never mind all the stuff you stream or search like Google or Youtube or Netflix. And never mind all the website ads that you click or the Amazon purchases that you make, and never mind how all those sites track, in some way, your habits and your preferences.
Because those are all trivial–small potatoes in fact-when you consider all the other personal info that’s up there–in the cloud–without your input. Nor, perhaps, your knowledge.
Think of your medical records. If you’ve been to a doctor recently you may have noticed that all your aches and ailments are now getting inputted into a computer. And, If you bank or use a credit card just about anywhere, think of all your financial data (account balances, credit info, loan payments) that’s sitting right there, on your bank’s servers. And if you pay taxes, think of the goldmine of personal data that the tax agencies are siting on.
So you see? Without your active input, without your approval almost, you’ve already got a lot of you–a lot of the most important parts of you–up in the cloud. Yes, there’s a lot at stake here. And because of that, there’s also a lot of effort being put into protecting those parts of you from prying eyes.
So you’ve got two choices. And one of them is just about impossible.
The first choice is get off the grid. Don’t bank, don’t see a doctor, don’t use email, don’t get a smartphone and never use the internet. (Like I said; impossible).
Choice two is embrace the cloud. But be safe about it. Only use trusted service-providers; don’t visit doubtful sites. Setup multiple passwords and change them regularly. Use antivirus. Use strong spam filters. And please never, ever, click an official looking email from CRA, the IRS, or from your bank. If they want to contact you, don’t worry, they’ll call.
So yeah, be safe. Protect yourself. And join the millions of other small-business owners jumping onto cloud-accounting.
And if you do, don’t worry. I promise, I won’t sing.