Technology: security as a service

Rachael Singh, reporter Accountancy Age

Many people are reluctant to allow financial data to be held in data centres
and accessed through the internet as they believe it to be too ‘risky’. But we
trust service providers to be secure in other areas of our lives, so why not the
finance function?

For many of us, our hard-earned cash is entrusted to banks. The bank will
protect those valuables. Everything is checked, rechecked and secured with such
zeal, sometimes you can’t get to the money yourself.

The banks are capable of guarding those assets better than we can ourselves.
Why can’t we apply the same principles to financial data protected in data

Both cloud and SaaS allow users to access software through the internet.
Cloud is an infrastructure that allows users to hire out space to run their
software. SaaS works by letting a provider hold the information for a company in
a group data centre online.

The data centres are usually based in America and are guarded – some even
have retina and fingerprint scans before workers can enter. Other protocols
include no single employee being allowed access to all parts of the building.

Some analysts believe finance should be completely in-house and that other
functions are better suited to the cloud, such as customer relationship
management or business intelligence, at least until any doubts over data
security have been put to rest.

Although it may seem wise to have all financial data in-house rather than
holding it in another country, can it be entirely wise to turn down the
opportunity for a specialist company that invests so much in security to guard
your data?

Rachael Singh is a reporter on Accountancy Age

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