KPMG Survey Finds Shift to Cloud Presents Unexpected Challenges, Costs
By Frank Byrt
Common Questions about Cloud Migration
Alysia Dahlke, marketing manager at Cetrom Information Technology, Inc., a provider of Cloud computing solutions, spoke with AccountingWEB about accountants' most pressing concerns as they consider transitioning to Cloud. Here are a few of the questions she says accountants most often ask:
Is moving to the Cloud secure? Dahlke said concern over security is the number-one issue for most firms. But people are already using the Cloud for personal transactions, as most online banking is conducted via Cloud. Cetrom says it uses the latest in hacker and virus protection, and its systems are at the same level of encryption as those of the leading financial institutions. In addition, Centrom's clients receive daily tape backups for disaster recovery, and systems include multiple firewalls, safeguards against employee tampering, and constant monitoring of the hardware and software.
After moving to the Cloud, will my firm still control its own data? A firm's Cloud system can be customized, such that it can define who should be allowed to access data and what controls should be in place, which results in greater control of data than before migration.
What software and applications can a Cloud system host? Most Cloud providers offer a wide range of SaaS (software as a service) applications, ranging from standard office applications and e-mail to sophisticated accounting software. Cetrom's CPA Cloud computing offerings, for example, include hundreds of such applications and programs.
How will moving to the Cloud affect current IT roles within our organization? In effect, a move to Cloud is an outsourcing of an IT department's responsibilities, such as the constant upgrading and maintenance of hardware and software, so Cloud computing can result in IT having more time to work on other projects.
What does Cloud cost? Prices vary depending on the applications, time of use, the number of people accessing Cloud applications, and the volume of data involved. Dahlke said 99 percent of Cetrom's customers save money when the costs of buying and managing a traditional in-house system is weighed against that of using a Cloud services provider. "We even take care of licensing and upgrading software so clients don't have to worry about that," she said.
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