Ransomware attacks are all too common and can devastate a business. This is especially true for bookkeeping and accounting firms. Clients expect their financial information to be kept safe and the loss of trust after a ransomware attack can ruin a financial services firm.
A great way to protect your company from ransomware is to host QuickBooks and/or Sage with your clients’ data files on a Cloud Desktop. This will not only keep your client’s business-critical financial information safe in a top-tier data centre behind layers of redundant security but allow you (and clients) to securely access QuickBooks/Sage anytime, anywhere, from any Windows, Apple, or Android device.
What is Ransomware and How are You Infected?
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the files and data on the company’s network. Many times, backups are also encrypted. After encryption, access to your files and data is denied until a ransom is paid, usually in the form of cryptocurrency. Ransom amounts range form hundreds to thousands of dollars for small businesses and can destroy a business even if the ransom is paid.
Common methods of ransomware infestation are email phishing, drive by downloading, and social media files. With email phishing the ransomware is part of attachment or link in the email. As attacking methods become more sophisticated these emails look more and more legitimate.
Another and more insidious method of ransomware is drive by downloading. Browsers can pick up ransomware by simply visiting an infected website. Keep your systems software updated with the latest patches and be wary of browser plugins to help keep your files protected.
Social media is another common place to become infected with malware. With social media users are continuously sharing files and downloading content that are commonly infected with malware. Again, always check your download is from a trusted source and be careful where you click!
At a minimum, most bookkeepers make backups of their client’s QuickBooks or Sage data. But if the backups are stored on a system on the same network as the workstation, the backups are also very likely to be encrypted by ransomware.
How Can Cloud Desktops Protect Your Bookkeeping Business?
To protect their clients, many bookkeepers host QuickBooks and Sage applications and data on a Cloud Desktop provided by a vendor like Concero. The most secure type of Cloud desktop service for bookkeepers allows QuickBooks and/or Sage to be installed on a private server. Secure access to the server and applications is then given to end-users via a remote Windows desktop session using Citrix workspace technology.
Out of the box, a Cloud desktop delivers robust security for QuickBooks and Sage applications and data. For example, Concero’s Cloud Desktop service features:
- The assignment of private servers to every customer
- SSAE 16 SOC II certified data centers
- Robust access control systems with two-factor authentication
- Fully redundant compute, network, and storage infrastructure
- Local and offsite system and file-level backups
- Around-the-clock network intrusion monitoring;
- Automated patching; and integrated anti-virus systems
While no platform can guarantee immunity from crypto and other viruses, a Cloud Desktop service from a trusted vendor provides baseline level of physical and network security and availability impossible for small and medium-sized organizations to match.
Most significantly, by using a Cloud desktop service to host QuickBooks and/or Sage, bookkeepers isolate their clients’ business-critical financial data from any virus or ransomware that infects their personal computer or any other computer on their local network. This isolation coupled with being hosted on a private server provides powerful protection from ransomware.
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