How I Transformed The Way I Work And Live By Moving To The Cloud
From day one of my professional career as a CPA, I have been a passionate follower and adopter of the technology tools that are available to assist our profession in doing our jobs better.
I am likely dating myself, but, when those Compaq "Luggables" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Portable) came along, I was first in line. Why? Because I could see that the Luggable, despite it's small screen, and many other failings, would allow me to stop typing numbers into a 10 key calculator. Similarly, many years later, when organizations started providing remote computing solutions (PC Anywhere, GoToMyPC), I jumped onboard because I found that these tools would allow me to assist my employer and clients from anywhere, at anytime.
In 2004, when I started Kensington Business Solutions, one of my priorities was to be able to achieve a work/life balance for my employees and myself by creating a virtual organization.
Initially to achieve the virtual organization structure, before there were tools like DropBox, KBS was sewn together with Internet file synchronization tools. Everyone had files on their computers that would synchronize to the Internet and then synchronize to the rest of the computers in the firm. It was innovative at the time, but, I then lost sleep at night worrying about duplicating files, security holes, employees walking away with client files and many other flaws of the solution I had created.
So, again, I realized that there had to be a better way.
Today, KBS is 9 years old and operates successfully and securely and completely in the cloud. Employees and clients can get to their data from anywhere and, although hard drive failures are never without their inconveniences, they hardly derail me or my team because we can easily work from any computer knowing all the information we need isn’t sitting on one machine, but, is safely lodged in ‘server farms’ throughout the country.
One Software as a Service (SaaS) that has transformed my business the most is the password management system that we adopted a number of years ago.
In April 2008, shortly after meeting with a client of mine who was a well-known writer and speaker in the field of Nutrition, I received a call informing me that my client had passed away very unexpectedly. The call was from the client’s husband, who I had never met. Her husband, steeped in grief from the horrible, unimaginable event, felt he had to call me, because…I was the only one that had many of his spouse’s passwords. I went over to his home and provided all of the passwords that I had stored, but the image of that day has stuck with me.
When I came home from meeting with the client’s spouse, my husband and I had a conversation about the importance of these passwords. Since that time we have agreed to keep all of our passwords in an encrypted password management system that we both have access to.
KBS is currently using the cloud-based product, Secret Server Online, for our password management system and it is one of the most mission critical, reliable and valuable tools we have in our tool chest. With great confidence, we store over 1,200 ‘secrets’ in a secure portal that allows only the appropriate users to see the confidential information.
Because of my business’s reliance on “the cloud” for all of our data and passwords, I am confident that whether I am in my office, walking my dog, or somewhere in between, my information is both accessible and more secure in its spot on a server far away, yet as close as one of my devices nearby.