A Smooth Transition to the Cloud
A small business gains access to sophisticated technology it could not previously afford. A mid-size company reassigns its IT staff to strategic projects that encompass far more than day-to-day tech operations. A large organization is able to tap into enhanced business intelligence and put it to work more quickly.
These are some of the success stories associated with cloud computing. Cloud technology is quickly becoming an integral part of everyday business life, smoothing the way to valuable business process outsourcing opportunities and making it easier to identify and use critical business intelligence. In fact, over 65% of IT security professionals reported using some type of cloud technology for mission-critical applications and data, according to the AccelOpps Cloud Security Survey 2013. And CPAs are integrally involved in many organizations’ shift to the cloud.
- Lower costs for companies that outsource applications or depend on a third party’s infrastructure.
- Greater access to sophisticated and varied solutions, particularly for smaller organizations.
- The chance for more nimble and effective responses to changing technology needs and new developments.
- The freedom to spend time on the core business without the distraction of managing various technology concerns, including infrastructure, applications and internal systems.
There are challenges associated with cloud computing, of course. For example, Netflix learned the importance of availability issues last December when services for its customers were disrupted due to problems with Amazon’s cloud computing operations, upon which Netflix relies. Issues with Amazon’s cloud services had previously caused glitches for Reddit, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram and Heroku. In spite of headlines like these IT professionals overwhelmingly agree that the world-class data centers utilized by mainstream cloud software publishers provide availability far surpassing those generally afforded by individual networks operated as separate entities.
Security, privacy and confidentiality are also critical issues, particularly if sensitive or crucial data is stored offshore. Companies may be completely unaware of where their data is kept and of the security and privacy standards that the cloud or its subcontractors may follow, all of which may affect not only privacy and confidentiality but also accessibility of key data.
While organizations—and the CPAs who work with them—clearly can’t ignore cloud service opportunities, it’s obvious that a thorough understanding of the full spectrum of considerations involved is necessary. CPAs can get started with a free webinar series that introduces the best ways to unlock their firm’s potential, and then take advantage of all the resources available to transform your client services. As more organizations turn their attention to cloud options, CPAs are well positioned to help them make a smooth transition.
Gregory L. LaFollette, CPA, CITP, CGMA, Vice President of Product Strategy, CPA2Biz. Greg is responsible for CPA2Biz's overall product roadmap and leads the development of the company's firm-based cloud solutions. Prior to joining CPA2Biz, Greg was a consultant to public accounting firms and to technology vendors with a focus on the accounting profession. CPA2Biz is a subsidiary of the AICPA.