Cloud Business Services: Taking data safety into account

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Cloud Business Services is leading the way in the digital accounting industry, capitalizing on online apps and real-time, cloud-based accounting capabilities to better serve their clients and prove that they’re more than bookkeepers.

Tanya Hilts, the company’s President, explains the firm’s mission and ethos: “Our goal is to offer high-quality customer service, investing ourselves with our client partners. We firmly believe that when our clients succeed, we succeed.”

A few years ago, Hilts and her team decided to transition from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. However, she was aware that the move came with certain risks. 

Switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online? Follow these steps.

Manual data recovery is wasted time

Hilts immediately noticed an issue with the other applications that her client was connecting to QuickBooks online. It was as if they had a life of their own.

“A client would go ahead and integrate an app and it would end up making a mess. We would have to go back and clean that up. And there were a lot of hours spent going in and doing manual cleanups. I recall one file alone was 20 some odd hours to fix.”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

Hilts says the worst part is this repair work distracts from more important work and the cost gets passed onto the client. Invoices have sometimes hit thousands of dollars.  

“I knew there was a problem and the solution was not my manual time fixing things and having clients disagree with a large bill for that time.”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

The limitations of protecting data in online software

Hilts says with QuickBooks Desktop, you could easily revert to a previous file. That’s not the case with the online version. And as she dug deeper, Hilts realized that QuickBooks Online (and most online software tools) do a great job at making sure the software is always working, but stops short of ensuring all your data will always be there each time you log in.

“We knew QuickBooks Online backs up data to multiple servers, but that’s only in the event of a platform failure. It wouldn’t help us in the event of other data loss scenarios, such as human error.”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

Hilts is referring to something called the Shared Responsibility Model. It’s a common agreement used by most Software-as-Service (SaaS) companies that governs who is responsible for data in platforms like QuickBooks Online. In straightforward terms, the SaaS provider and their customers share the duty of care to protect data. QuickBooks keeps its platform secure, available, and compliant, but you’re responsible for protecting and backing up any data you or your clients input into the software, like account-level files.

It’s often a surprise to many people, but this shared responsibility is outlined in QuickBooks Online’s terms of service, which states: “Archive your Content frequently. You are responsible for any lost or unrecoverable Content.” Content includes any data, information, materials, text, graphics, images, music, software, audio, video, or works of authorship that are uploaded, transmitted, posted, generated, stored, or otherwise made available through the platform. In non-legalese, this means that you, the user, is responsible for the data you create in your client files.

Anatomy of a data loss disaster

The most common form of data loss is caused by human error (it’s estimated to be the root cause of up to 90% of data loss incidents.) It’s inevitable that humans will make a mistake or delete something, whether it’s you, one of your colleagues or a client that jumped into QuickBooks Online just to make a few changes. 

However, human error isn’t the only way your QuickBooks data can get lost. Here are some other common culprits:

Third-party app errors

Most SaaS platforms allow integration with third-party apps to enhance communication between existing toolsets. When these tools work well together, the efficiency and productivity gains are fantastic. However, third-party integrations typically require “read and write” permissions, meaning they can change, manipulate, or delete your data if connected improperly.

Malicious actors

Gone are the days when cybercriminals focused exclusively on large international enterprises. Today, all too often, their targets for ransomware, phishing attacks, and malware include smaller SaaS users. Disgruntled current or former employees who still retain user privileges have been known to deliberately interfere with companies’ databases, wreaking havoc on day-to-day operations.

Rogue CSV files

CSV files are handy for importing large volumes of data. Not all SaaS tools allow for the use of them, but many do. But CSV files aren’t infallible, and they have the potential to accidentally corrupt or break things.

Rewind Backups for QuickBooks Online is an automated solution that protects SaaS users from any and all of these eventualities and the potential consequences: hours of expensive manual work, customer frustration, and reputational damage.

A matter of trust

Hilts was impressed by Rewind’s value proposition and saw the wisdom in taking an automated data backup approach. 

“Seeing that other accounting professionals I respect had also thoroughly tested and gained trust in Rewind added to my sense of security in this backup solution. Rewind has built up a solid reputation of trust in our industry.”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

Knowing that a copy of all Cloud Business Services’ data is duplicated in a separate, independent location also delivers valuable peace of mind to Hilts: “After all, you wouldn’t keep both sets of your car keys on the same key ring, would you?”

Hilts explains the ease with which Rewind deftly addresses any unwelcome data loss events in her company’s routine operations:

“If at any time we realize we have a problem, typically ones involving app integration issues or accidental deletions of entries during year-end clean-ups, we can go in, select a point in time, and restore transactions with the press of a button – it’s beautiful!”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

Ease of deployment is another plus of the Rewind solution, as Hilts explains: “You literally just plug it in, connect and authorize it, and it starts working in the background immediately. By the next morning, everything is backed up. It’s so simple and easy.”

The fact that Rewind is SOC2 compliant further cemented Hilts’ confidence in Rewind as a backup partner. She also liked having the option of storing data in a US data center or one based in Europe to ensure abidance with all applicable data privacy regulations.

Confidence to experiment

Once Hilts and her team had deployed Rewind and had peace of mind that their data was being reliably backed up, they developed new confidence to experiment with different apps and integrations.

Even though she lives and breathes technology, Tanya says she doesn’t trust it easily. “Early on, I decided to put Rewind to the test, but I couldn’t break it!” she says.“We knew that if there was a glitch or unexpected error or exception, we could, well, just “rewind” and go back in time!

“This is particularly helpful when working with a client that decides to connect one of their favorite third-party apps to the platform without our knowledge. Sometimes app incompatibilities can wreak havoc on their chartered accounts!” she explains. “With Rewind, we needn’t spend hours fixing such problems, and the client isn’t presented with an unexpected bill for the time we spent doing so.”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services

No going back

Hilts is so impressed with Rewind’s automated backup functionality that she’s made it an obligatory add-on to all her new client accounts over the last two years. “Today, Rewind is automatically a part of our ecosystem.”

“Before we had Rewind, our backup process involved hours of manual work. Now, that’s an unfathomable option. After all, if you have a gas fireplace, why would you want to return to rubbing sticks together to make a fire?”

Tanya Hilts, President, Cloud Business Services