Home' acuity : Acuity Oct 14 Contents without the need for a client to share
bank login details.
The data is supplied in a “read only”
format, ensuring it cannot be changed
and the owner retains full control of it.
The entire process complies with the
stringent Payment Card Industry Data
Security Standard for the safe handling
of transaction data and meets the
requirements of more than 100 financial
Who owns your info? Data
sovereignty and the cloud
Another key concern for clients,
particularly if they want to take
advantage of services that offer a better
price or range of features, is the control
they maintain over their data.
The concept of data sovereignty
is one that has become more widely
discussed with the growth of the cloud
and internet-based services in general.
This covers three broad areas:
• who has access to data?
• who controls the data?
• how will that data be made available
if the client wants to switch
Although control of access is an
important issue, it’s what happens when
a business leaves a cloud service that
makes questions of data sovereignty so
Before a business signs up to any
cloud provider, it’s important they have
a clear picture of the form in which
their data will be returned, and how
long it will take to get it all back.
Opportunities and risks in the cloud for SMEs.
BY ADAM FERGUSON
THE RAPID GROWTH of cloud
services and products and the adoption
of the technology among the small
business community has created a
raft of benefits for industry and the
In the first quarter of this year, just
under a third of SMEs in Australia and
New Zealand reported using cloud
products and services in the MYOB
Business Monitor Digital Nation report.
According to the report, businesses
that are using the latest technology
tend to be earning more, as well as
enjoying more sales and a greater level
of client engagement.
But, as with any new technology,
it pays to be aware of any potential
downsides for business clients –
especially where their most valuable
data is concerned.
Data security and the cloud
Data security is one of the most
common concerns for SMEs
considering a move to the cloud. For
businesses, the loss of data can be
disastrous, especially if it includes tax
records or sensitive client information.
For many business owners, keeping
data in-house just feels safer. They
take comfort in knowing information
is stored on a server on the premises.
However, in truth, keeping your data
in a cloud server with a reputable and
reliable vendor is, most often, far more
secure than storing it on an internal
system. Cloud storage means data can
be backed up across multiple, world-
class data centres, with an array of fail
safes and backups in place.
The security systems offered by
reputable providers are also far more
comprehensive than most businesses
can afford. In addition, they are
constantly monitored and updated – not
just when there is a reported issue, but as
part of a constant improvement cycle.
In saying this, it is important to be
aware that standards in the field are
not always consistent. A good example
of this in the online accounting field
is the practice of screen scraping to
collect bank data. Employed by some
providers, this practice can put both
the security and accuracy of clients’
data at risk.
[Screen scraping is collecting
screen data from one application and
translating it to another. It is useful for
capturing data from older applications
so it can be displayed using more
In MYOB’s experience, the bank feeds
feature is one of the most popular
on the cloud platform. It allows bank
transactions to be automatically
imported and matched to the correct
accounts in the business’ accounting
software. This process saves the
accountant, bookkeeper and/or
business owner many hours of tedious
data entry and significantly reduces
errors through incorrect coding or
recording of figures.
MYOB recommends the bank-
authorised data collection system
provided by BankLink, which provides
secure bank transaction data via
direct feeds from financial institutions,
acuity | OCTOBER 2014
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