10 Cloud Security Questions You Should Ask Your QuickBooks Host

QuickBooks has been the premier software for the accounting industry for a couple of decades now. However, since its inception, there have been various advancements in the technological platforms to install it – from the conventional computer systems in the office to cloud computing. 

Diverse industries from around the world have shown a keen interest in the adoption of cloud for hosting their QuickBooks, giving them extended features like remote access, enhanced collaboration, and real-time visibility into data.  

However, while choosing a QuickBooks hosting provider, one aspect that has always been a concern is data security. Since the accounting department deals with critical financial information of the company, they expect the provider to be fully equipped with the latest security standards and technology.

Here are ten essential questions you must ask your QuickBooks hosting provider to ensure complete QuickBooks security.

  1. Is your cloud complaint with the latest security standards?

There are various security standards and data compliances that the QuickBooks hosting providers need to adhere to. It ensures the customers that their data is secure with the provider and the confidentiality is intact. Check if the QuickBooks provider is compliant with regulations like GDPR.

  1. Do you implement access controls for the QuickBooks files?

Access control policies helps prevent unauthorized access to the data. The admin can set roles for different users in an organization and set file permissions according to them. The file permissions can be anything from view, edit, or comment. Enquire if the QuickBooks hosting provider implements access policies and do you get control over it. 

  1. Will you be responsible for Patch management?

The Operating System is updated with security patches regularly to fix the security vulnerabilities and encounter the new threats. The QuickBooks hosting provider should take responsibility for patch management to ensure that you get the latest OS version. Moreover, ensure that the patches are updated in the backend without you experiencing any downtime. 

  1. What practices are followed to mitigate DDoS attacks? 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack targets a network by sending millions of fake requests so that the network gets overloaded, leading to downtime. The hosted QuickBooks providers should provide protection against DDoS attacks by ensuring a 24/7 network monitoring of all the incident data.

Any anomaly in the traffic patterns should be identified automatically and notified instantly to the support team. In case of an attack, dirty traffic should be filtered and blocked immediately. 

  1. Where do the cloud servers reside?

As cloud service providers offer remote access to QuickBooks, the data center they choose to host your software and data can be in any location. However, it is essential for you to enquire about the data center locations to get clear visibility into the security of your accounting process. Ensure that the data centers are not in a disaster-prone area. Also, it is preferable that the data center is in US as other countries may not have similar data protection laws. 

  1. What data backup options do you offer?

The accounting sector handles some of the most critical client information they cannot afford to lose. Hence, when it comes to security, data backup is one of the essential attributes to look into a QuickBooks hosting provider.

Ask about the backup policies of the provider, including the retention time, backup frequency, and recovery time. Also, check from the provider if the backup service is automated.  

  1. What are the sign-in options available to access the cloud?

No matter how robust cloud security might be, you still need to access them from end-point devices. Hence, it is essential that the hosted QuickBooks provider offers multi-factor authentication to login to the cloud. 

This ensures that even if your password gets compromised, no unauthorized personnel can access your accounting process.

  1. What encryption standards are a part of your cloud setup?

When accessing QuickBooks remotely, it is essential to prevent it from threats like man in the middle attacks. Data encryption ensures that hackers are not able to extract the data in transit for their malicious purposes. 

It is recommended that you make sure whether the QuickBooks provider implements the latest data encryption standards like TLS 1.3 during transit. The good providers, however, implement encryption at the server level as well. 

  1. Do you offer Disaster Recovery?

The good QuickBooks hosting providers deploy a redundant infrastructure in the data centers. However, the best ones have a plan in order to ensure data protection during a disruptive event, such as earthquakes or floods. 

Ask for the QB provider’s disaster recovery plan. The data should be replicated in diverse geographical locations so you can continue working even during a disaster. Also, check the time that provider takes to shift your access from one location to another.  

  1. What will happen to the data if we choose to opt out of your services?

Whenever choosing a hosting provider, planning an exit strategy is essential to ensure smooth migration back to on-premise infra. Ask the provider what procedures they follow to hand over the data after deciding to opt out of their services. Also, ensure that no data is retained from their end after the exit.    

Final Note

Getting answers to all these questions will make sure that the provider’s security architecture is robust enough to store your data. Once you are convinced with the security of the provider, you can look into other features to decide if the QuickBooks provider is good for you.

Learn More About Ace Cloud Hosting

How to Make A Website Secure: A Guide for Business Owners

Given the ever-present threat of cyberattacks, it is crucial for business owners to make website security a top priority. Although the question of how to make a website secure might sound complex, it’s not as hard as it seems. In fact, just taking a few simple steps can greatly improve your website security. If you’re a business owner, read on to learn about how you can secure your company website.

How to Make a Website Secure in 6 Steps

When it comes to web security for business owners, here are six simple steps how to make a website secure.

1.    Install an SSL certificate

These days, installing an SSL certificate on your site is a must. An SSL certificate protects your data as it travels between your site and the server. This makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to intercept sensitive information such as credit card numbers. Many hosting providers offer a free SSL certificate, but if you handle credit card information, it is recommended that you purchase one as it has more security benefits (i.e. longer certificate lifespan – Extended Lifespan (LV), tech support and a warranty).  

2.    Sanitize input fields

Cybercriminals often access a website’s database through its contact forms. To prevent this, ensure form data is formatted properly within each input field before it’s submitted. You can accomplish this by predefining what a visitor can type in each field. For example, you might only allow letters and hyphens in the name field. Regularly sanitizing the input fields on your website is important for securing your database.

3.    Use client- and server-side form validation

It’s also crucial to check the data in each form field before it’s submitted to prevent malicious data from entering your system. You can implement client-side validation using JavaScript to review form data and ensure it’s acceptable before submitting it to your web server. As an added precaution, use server-side validation so your server can also review the data before accepting it.

4.    Scan for malware

Another important step for how to make a website secure is regularly scanning for malware. You can simplify this process by investing in an automated website malware scanner that monitors your site for threats 24/7. For added security, opt for a solution that automatically removes any malware immediately upon detection.

5.    Implement vulnerability patching

Website vulnerabilities are weak points in your website’s code that cybercriminals can exploit to gain control of your site. These vulnerabilities are often caused by outdated plugins or CMS (content management system) software. To safeguard your site, you can invest in a vulnerability scanner to find and patch site vulnerabilities.

6.    Use a web application firewall

Finally, business owners can implement a web application firewall (WAF) to provide an additional layer of protection for their websites. A WAF monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic to your website and blocks unwanted traffic, malicious bots, and cyberthreats from reaching your site.

Keep Website Security Top of Mind 

It’s also important for businesses to make cybersecurity a company-wide priority. Here are a couple of ways to help ensure security remains a priority within your organization: – Read more

Learn More About SiteLock

How To Choose A Website Builder – Criteria Analysis

Worried about how much you need to invest in hiring a web developer? In 2020, you don’t need to. Not even if you have no technical skills in website building. A simpler solution is available in the form of drag-and-drop website builders. 

You’ll find lots of user-friendly DIY website builders. Some of them are free, also. The fun is, that is where the problem lies. How do you decide which one will be best for you? What are the criteria that you can use to decide which will best fit your particular needs?

We have used our experience and expertise and enriched it further with rigorous research to identify the six main criteria that you need to consider.  If you keep these in focus, you’re unlikely to make the wrong choice. 

  1. User-Friendly Editing 

Every drag-and-drop website builder offers a WYSIWYG editor. What You See Is What You Get: that’s what it means. Not all of them are the same, however. Some of the platforms have visual editors that are particularly convenient for beginners. 

The other tools in such platforms are also easy enough to use. A complete beginner can get a grip on them by experimenting with them for a while.  That will increase your options for exploring different design options. 

Some website builders are not so easy to use. You may need to have some degree of technical knowledge to make your way around them. So, choose a platform based on your technical skills. 

  1. Readymade Templates

All of these drag-and-drop website builders offer design templates that you can use. These will save you the trouble of designing it yourself. However, customization options are also available, though they vary across platforms. 

Some website builders offer templates for free, while others charge a price. To access most of the Shopify templates, for example, you need to have a paid plan. Wix, on the other hand, offers its templates free of cost.   

Whether paid or free, the templates are designed by professionals. Free templates don’t imply any compromise in quality. However, the number and types of templates vary across platforms. So do customization options.

  1. Technical Support

Basic support is always available by default. If you need to escalate a complaint or need immediate support, you’ll need to opt for a paid plan. If you’re a beginner, you might be in need of immediate and ongoing support.

Some website builders offer prioritized support if you have a premium account with them. If you think your business will suffer unless you can quickly address any website issue, paying that extra cash could be beneficial.

The mode of support varies across platforms. The usual routes are: 

  • Online chat
  • Email support
  • Feedback form
  • Telephone calls

Some website builders offer online chat and telephone call options only to paid users. Some of the more popular platforms also offer strong community support. Some platforms also offer excellent tutorials. You may not even need any support after that. 

One thing to bear in mind is that not all platforms offer multilingual options. Most of them are in English. If you need website builders with instructions and other functions in a language other than English. 

If you need it in Russian, for example, you’ll have to be careful in your choice. Otherwise, you’ll have to depend on online translation, unless you can solve the problem yourself.

  1. Costs

You’ll find these website building platforms offer several tariff plans. Most of them have a free plan as well. The basic functions you get with the free plan may not be sufficient, however. To get more functions, you need to pay.  

The higher the price, the more are the functions you can access. 

Let’s explain with an example. Suppose you want to use a free platform to build your company’s website. The platform offers up to 500 MB of storage space, up to 1 GB bandwidth, and access to plenty of templates free of cost. 

This may well be sufficient for you to begin with. However, remember that you cannot get your own domain name. Your website will be hosted on the builder’s domain. So, your website will bear the builder’s name. 

Also, every page will have the website builder’s ad. If you want a domain name of your choice free of the platform’s name, you’ll have to buy domain space. Some platforms charge higher to remove their ads. When you need more storage space and bandwidth, the tariff is likely to be even higher.

Different website building platforms offer different tariff plans. However, what you need to consider is not just the price, but what all the plan includes. A cheaper plan may end up being more costly as you may need to pay separately for additional functions or storage, etc. 

An “all-inclusive” plan at a higher price may be a more profitable option in the long run.

  1. Possibilities For Business

If you want to run an online store, you need to be particularly careful. An attractive website with SEO tools inserted may be enough for a freelancer or a sole proprietor to sell their service/s more effectively. A self-introduction and a feedback form may be all that they need.   

If you want to run an online store, that is not going to be enough for you. You’ll need to integrate payment options. Sales analytics, reports, and similar other things are also essential for a business to function efficiently.

To run an online store, you must choose your platform carefully. Make sure that the website builder you choose offer all of the above facilities. Else, you’ll face problems later as your business grows and you need to add more functions to your website.

  1. Integration Possibilities

To successfully run an online business through your website, you need to integrate different services. Payment and delivery options, social network linkage, a CRM system, etc. are some of the typical needs.

Most website builders supporting business sites offer these facilities. However, they hardly ever come free of cost.  Be ready to pay extra for integrating these services with your website. 

So, when you choose a website builder, check for the integration options. For instance, some foreign platforms are not responsive to CIS clients. These platforms may not allow integration with local delivery services.

How To Make A Decision After All?

Each of the criteria described here is important. But the final call is: Prioritize your needs over the price and keep business growth in focus.  

It is critical to match your needs with the options a platform offers. 

If it is an online store that you have in mind, however, the type of your business should drive your choice. For some kinds of businesses, just the basic functions of an inexpensive website might be sufficient.

A different business may find just the basic functions inadequate. The nature of the business may demand more capacity and functions. 

The stage of your business is also a key factor. It may make good business sense for a startup with a limited budget to go for a simple website that does not cost much. For an established company with a stable market position, however, a more expensive website may be crucial. 

Also, don’t fall into the trap of comparing contemporary website builders with those that existed 10 years back. These modern platforms offer a range of powerful functions to suit varying needs. 

Go by your needs. You are the best judge of which platform offers you the best solution.