Home » How cloud-hosted desktops solve challenges faced by accounting firms 

How cloud-hosted desktops solve challenges faced by accounting firms 

by Nathan Zachary

Financial information arguably is the most heavily guarded. Industries in every sector and of every size go the extra mile to protect and safeguard their financial records against all forms of theft and intrusion. The reason for this is transparency. Keeping a transparent record of all financial dealings, assets, and accounts makes sure that accounting operations and audits can run without hiccups. Security being something of a taciturn requirement in this area, accounting firms have often reconsidered adopting cloud technologies. After all, their concerns are both grounded and understandable. 

When data is hosted off-premises on servers controlled by third-party cloud service providers, having security concerns is perfectly normal. This is also the reason why some companies with stricter compliance standards choose to deploy workspaces on a virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) that is created and maintained within the office or on remote servers but does not involve a third-party cloud-service provider. This is and has been the traditional use of VDI technology. However, many businesses today and especially accounting firms – big and small – are transitioning to the cloud. Why? 

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Features of Cloud-hosted Accounting 

With the resolution of security requirements, the other benefits that cloud-hosted desktops or virtual desktops offer become clearer. With the elimination of hardware restrictions that come with an on-site setup of the virtual desktop infra, customization of accounting processes becomes a reality for the first time. From inventory tracking and payroll management to report processing and online accounting, accounting involves a host of operations that occur synchronously across multiple applications. Cloud-hosted desktops hosted on the cloud bring together all apps and add-ons on a singular platform, so access becomes centralized and more convenient. The less time it takes to access the information you need, the more time you gain in putting that information to use! 

The ability to collaborate with colleagues in real-time is another boost to productivity and ease of information sharing, as it cuts down on the time taken to email accounting files among multiple users. This also prevents the serious issue of file multi-versioning for arising at all. Similarly, the presence of multiple high-end servers lends an uptime guarantee of 99.99%, so accounting applications run uninterrupted and data is accessible at all times.  

Five Ways Cloud-hosted Desktops are essential for Secure Accounting: 

  1. As a rule, physical desktops are prone to wear and tear as well as employee outbursts that can have a negative impact on overall productivity and work output. More importantly, however, implementing safeguards to protect data and maintain the integrity of these machines can be very expensive. Because security upgrades occur regularly and automatically on the cloud via a central console, data, as well as endpoint devices, are secured without the need to purchase and install isolated security protocols. To understand how the cloud accomplishes data safety manoeuvres, let us look at the security implants a third-party cloud service provider like Ace Cloud Hosting would have in place. In an attempt to ensure comprehensive physical and digital security, virtual desktops come with a multi-layered security infrastructure to surround all virtual desktops. This usually begins with the encryption of all mission-critical data with TLS 1.3 and 256-bit data encryption to make data loss-proof while in storage and transit. IP restrictions, Intrusion and Prevention System, as well as protection against ransomware and DDoS attacks, are similarly deployed. 
  1. For amplified digital security, Security Socket Layers (SSLs), best-in-class antivirus software and multiple firewalls are set up by a third-party cloud service provider. Comprehensive end-user device protection is ensured by the latest state-of-the-art security measures such as the Multi-Factor Authentication system (MFA), OS Hardening, and OS patching. 24X7 monitoring of the entire network ensures brute force protection so that malicious traffic and hacking/activities are detected and nipped in the bud in real-time. Typically, tier 3+/4 data centers are used to host data and application-hosting servers. These centers are equipped with top-notch security features such as round-the-clock CCTV surveillance. The location of these data centers is spread across massive geographical areas including multiple continents – for instance, Ace Cloud Hosting maintains multiple Tier 3+/4 data centers across the USA and Asia Pacific region – that are safe and reliable (anti-disaster-prone, with minimal power cuts) to ensure high data resilience and zero performance latency. 
  1. Thus, security concerns are rapidly changing from being an obstacle to being the biggest incentive for accounting firms to move their data and applications to the cloud. Handling sensitive, financial information and managing/implementing compliance standards are easier because cloud desktops rely on centralized IT resources that cover all areas of design. Deployment and regular upgradation. Moreover, data storage in solid-state drives (SSDs) ensures top speed and optimal performance across all compute-intensive applications. That being said, choosing the right cloud provider is imperative. Reputed cloud providers implement the latest and highest security standards, offer 24*7 customer support, and provide end-to-end managed services. They also come with a team of reliable IT experts who can handle unforeseen crises and BCDR processes like second feature. Accounting firms cannot and should not tolerate cost-cutting when it comes to the security of their data, and it is always advisable to go with the more experienced option than just a cheaper one. 
  1. The reason for this is that most data loss occurs due to the breaches arising from within the office. Meaning data is actually more (not less) secure when hosted on off-premises servers. There is however another more important reason why data hosting is commonly outsourced. Third-party cloud providers are often more reliable and professional when it comes to safekeeping data. After all, some of these providers have considerable expertise and years of experience in doing just that. Their IT teams are highly competent and knowledgeable when it comes to guaranteeing security as well as uptime of the servers. While it is true that these providers offer similar services to multiple businesses, they take every precaution to make sure that the data stored on their servers is as safe as it can possibly be. Because businesses rely on these providers with their data, the providers in turn do everything in their power to keep earning that trust. Because if they don’t, they quite simply go out of business. 
  1. One important aspect of the enhanced data security standards implemented by third-party cloud providers is BCDR or Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. Cloud service providers are typically much more adept at ensuring that businesses pick up from they left off after an IT outage than the businesses themselves are. The Unitrends State of BCDR Survey Report from last year found that in most cases cloud technologies formed a ‘key aspect’ of BCDR strategies. From retention and disaster recovery to endpoint backup and data resilience, cloud provides a comprehensively protected environment for storage, retention, and recovery of business-critical data. As such, the role of cloud in BCDR is testament to the cloud’s natural resilience and immunity against cyberattacks. 

The Bottomline 

The permanence of a distributive workforce is a post-pandemic reality that the accounting world has had to reckon with. But the sooner it embraces the emergent global trend of a hybrid workforce, the better its chances of multiplied workforce productivity. As we saw, cloud-hosted virtual desktops offer the best guarantee of a secure and high-performance computing environment for remotely managing complex accounting operations with greater ease and convenience. That is why, it comes as little surprise that the accounting industry is taking the virtual route to security, growth, and ease of operation.  

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