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Cloudy with a Chance of Data Loss?

Not if You Back it Up!

· Cloud-Based Bookkeeping,Bookkeeping Tips,General Bookkeeping Questions

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and technology, cloud-based accounting software has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. With its promise of accessibility, scalability, and efficiency, cloud technology has revolutionized the way organizations manage their financial operations. Yet, amidst the convenience and innovation, there lies a crucial aspect often overlooked: data backup.

Imagine this scenario: Your business relies on cloud-based accounting software to track finances, manage transactions, and generate critical reports. Suddenly, a system glitch occurs, or worse, a cybercriminal infiltrates your network, leaving your financial data inaccessible or, worse, compromised. The impact could be catastrophic, jeopardizing your operations, reputation, and even legal compliance.

This is where the importance of backing up your cloud-based accounting software comes into play. Beyond mere precaution, data backup is your lifeline in the face of unforeseen events, ensuring continuity, resilience, and peace of mind in an increasingly digital world.

This week, we delve into the depths of data protection and explore the significance of implementing a robust backup strategy for your cloud-based accounting software. If you’ve ever wondered about the necessity of backing up your Quickbooks Online data, you’ve come to the right spot. Let’s get into it!


The Basics

Cloud-based accounting software refers to financial management tools that are hosted on remote servers and accessed via the internet, rather than being installed on local computers. Think Quickbooks Online, which you log into on your web browser versus Quickbooks Desktop, which is installed on your computer’s hard drive.

There are a number of features that users find advantageous and make cloud-based software so appealing:

  • Accessibility: Users can access the software and their financial data from anywhere with an internet connection, using various devices such as computers, tablets, or smartphones. This promotes flexibility and productivity for remote work or travel.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based solutions often offer scalable pricing models, allowing businesses to adjust their usage and subscription levels as their needs change.
  • Automatic Updates: Software updates and maintenance tasks are typically managed by the service provider, reducing the burden on users and ensuring that they have access to the latest features and security patches.
  • Integration: Cloud-based accounting software can often integrate with other business applications such as CRM systems, payroll software, or inventory management tools, streamlining data flow and improving efficiency.
  • Collaborative Capabilities: Many cloud-based solutions support multiple users and collaboration features, enabling teams to work together on financial tasks in real-time.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Cloud-based accounting software eliminates the need for expensive hardware investments and ongoing maintenance costs associated with traditional on-premises solutions.
  • Data Security: Reputable cloud service providers implement robust security measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular data backups to protect sensitive financial information.
  • Real-Time Insights: Cloud-based accounting software often provides real-time reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions quickly and accurately.
  • Disaster Recovery: Cloud-based solutions offer built-in redundancy and backup capabilities, reducing the risk of data loss due to hardware failures, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events. Because the data is housed in the cloud, you won’t lose everything, even if your computer is destroyed!

Even with all of these advantages, there can sometimes be some hesitancy to adopt this technology. Here are the most common misconceptions about cloud-based accounting software:

  • Security: Some businesses are hesitant to adopt cloud-based solutions due to concerns about data security and privacy. However, reputable cloud service providers invest heavily in security measures to protect customer data, rivaling the security of banks of financial institutions.
  • Reliability: There may be concerns about the reliability and uptime of cloud-based systems. While no system is immune to downtime, many cloud providers offer high levels of reliability and uptime through redundant infrastructure and data centers.
  • Migration Complexity: Businesses may worry about the complexity and challenges associated with migrating their financial data from traditional on-premises systems to the cloud. However, many cloud providers offer migration services and support to streamline the process for customers.

While we have fully embraced cloud-based software at The Numbers Agency, there are some risks that everyone should be aware of:

  • System Failures: Despite the reliability of cloud infrastructure, hardware failures or software bugs can still occur, leading to data loss or corruption if proper backup measures are not in place.
  • Service Outages: Even reputable cloud service providers may experience occasional outages due to maintenance, updates, or unexpected issues, temporarily preventing access to financial data and disrupting business operations.
  • Cybersecurity Threats: Cloud-based accounting systems are attractive targets for cybercriminals seeking to steal sensitive financial information or disrupt business operations through ransomware attacks or data breaches.
  • Insider Threats: Malicious insiders or negligent employees may inadvertently compromise financial data by mishandling login credentials, sharing sensitive information, or falling victim to phishing attacks.
  • Data Privacy Regulations: Businesses must comply with various data privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA, which impose strict requirements for protecting personal and financial data stored in the cloud.
  • Data Sovereignty Concerns: Depending on the jurisdiction in which cloud servers are located, businesses may face legal challenges related to data sovereignty, including restrictions on data transfer or government access to stored data.

Understanding the risks associated with cloud-based accounting software is essential for businesses to implement robust security measures and contingency plans to mitigate potential threats. By proactively addressing data loss, security breaches, and compliance issues, businesses can safeguard their financial data and maintain trust with customers, partners, and regulatory authorities.

The Big Question

Should I back up my Quickbooks Online data? We get this question a lot from clients and small business owners. There isn’t any one right answer to this question. According to Intuit, your data is safe and secure and is backed up automatically every night. You can read more about their automatic backups in this article: Do I Need To Back Up My Data with QBO?

This automatic backup has its limitations. For example, it backs everything up in real time, so there isn’t any way to restore a previous version of the file. Plus, if you read the terms of service, you’ll find that you are responsible for any lost or unrecoverable content. So, should the unspeakable happen and you experience some data loss, if that data cannot be recovered, you’re out of luck with Intuit.

The Quickbooks Online Advanced subscription includes a file backup system that can backup and restore previous versions of the file, but what if you are in one of their lower subscription levels? Is it worth paying a third-party app to backup your file? Let’s look into it!

Backing up cloud-based accounting software is valuable for several reasons:

  • Data Loss Prevention: Cloud-based systems are not immune to data loss due to various factors such as system failures, human errors, or even cyberattacks. Regular backups ensure that you can recover your financial data in case of any loss.
  • Business Continuity: Interruptions in access to critical financial data can severely disrupt business operations. Having backups allows you to quickly restore your accounting system and continue business activities with minimal downtime.
  • Protection Against Cyber Threats: Cybersecurity threats such as ransomware attacks can encrypt or corrupt your data, making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Backups provide a way to restore your data without succumbing to the demands of cybercriminals.
  • Compliance Requirements: Many industries have regulatory requirements regarding data retention and security. Regular backups help businesses comply with these regulations by ensuring that financial data is securely stored and accessible when needed.
  • Accidental Deletion or Modification: Human errors, such as accidentally deleting or modifying important data, can happen. Backups serve as a safety net, allowing you to revert to a previous version of your data before the error occurred.
  • Platform Reliability: While cloud-based accounting software providers strive to maintain high levels of uptime and reliability, no system is completely infallible. Backups provide an additional layer of protection in case of service outages or disruptions.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your financial data is securely backed up can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business without worrying about potential data loss or downtime.

In summary, backing up cloud-based accounting software is crucial for protecting your financial data, ensuring business continuity, complying with regulations, and maintaining peace of mind in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.

Best Practices for Backing Up Your Data

Implementing a robust backup strategy for cloud-based accounting software is essential for businesses to safeguard their financial data, maintain continuity of operations, and protect against the growing threat of cyberattacks and data breaches. By prioritizing data backup and recovery capabilities, businesses can enhance their resilience and effectively mitigate the risks associated with operating in an increasingly digital and interconnected environment.

Here are some best practices for setting up your backup system:

  • Establish a Backup Schedule: Define a regular backup schedule based on the frequency of data updates and the criticality of financial information.
  • Automated Backup Solutions: Utilize automated backup tools or features provided by your cloud-based accounting software or your third-party add-on app to ensure backups are performed consistently and reliably.
  • Redundancy: Implement multiple backup methods, such as cloud backups, local backups, and off-site backups, to create redundancy and reduce the risk of data loss.
  • Diversification: Choose backup solutions from different providers or platforms to minimize the impact of potential service outages or security breaches affecting a single provider.
  • Data Encryption: Encrypt backup files to protect sensitive financial information from unauthorized access or interception during transmission and storage.
  • Secure Storage: Store backup data in secure, off-site locations or encrypted cloud storage services to prevent unauthorized access and ensure data integrity.
  • Regular Testing: Periodically test backup files to verify their integrity and ensure they can be successfully restored in the event of data loss or system failure.
  • Disaster Recovery Drills: Conduct disaster recovery drills to simulate real-world scenarios and assess the effectiveness of backup and recovery procedures in restoring critical financial data.

Prioritizing data backup and recovery capabilities is essential for maintaining business continuity and safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive financial information in today's digital landscape. But how the heck do we actually implement this system? Keep reading:

  • Data Criticality: Identify and prioritize critical financial data that requires regular backups based on its importance to business operations and regulatory compliance.
  • Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs): Determine acceptable levels of downtime and data loss for different types of financial data to establish backup frequency and retention policies.
  • Compatibility: Choose backup solutions that are compatible with your cloud-based accounting software and support the types of data and applications used in your financial operations.
  • Scalability: Select backup tools or services that can scale with your business growth and accommodate increasing volumes of financial data over time.
  • Backup Policies: Define backup policies and procedures detailing the frequency, method, and scope of backups, as well as roles and responsibilities for managing backup operations.
  • Version Control: Implement version control mechanisms to track changes to backup files and ensure that multiple versions of critical financial data are available for recovery if needed.
  • Staff Training: Provide training and resources to educate employees on backup procedures, including how to initiate backups, monitor backup status, and respond to data loss or system failure incidents.
  • Emergency Response Plans: Develop and communicate emergency response plans outlining steps to follow in the event of data loss, system outages, or cybersecurity incidents, including procedures for restoring backups and minimizing downtime.

By implementing a comprehensive backup strategy for cloud-based accounting software, businesses can effectively mitigate the risks of data loss, ensure continuity of financial operations, and protect the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive financial information.


By embracing best practices, such as regular backups, encryption, and staff training, businesses can fortify themselves against the myriad of threats lurking in the digital realm. From system failures to cyberattacks, a robust backup strategy serves as your safety net, ensuring continuity of operations, protecting sensitive financial data, and upholding regulatory compliance.

As we navigate the complexities of an interconnected, digital world, let us not underestimate the power of preparedness. By prioritizing data backup and recovery capabilities, businesses can navigate through uncertainties with confidence, knowing that their financial data is secure, accessible, and resilient in the face of adversity.

So, let's take the proactive step today. Let's safeguard our financial data, fortify our businesses, and embark on a journey towards a future where resilience reigns supreme. Together, let's empower our businesses to thrive in the digital age, one backup at a time!



Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Consult with a qualified professional for personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation.