Monthly Archives: May 2015

Cloud Computing and Security Debate Continues

Ed Van Deman
By Technology

There is little doubt the most talked about topic in the information technology world is the debate over the benefits and security concerns of using cloud-based systems. For a long time, it seemed that there were only two sides of the argument:

  • Pro-Cloud Argument – “Cloud computing offers so many advantages of sharing data and outsourcing the data backup and hardware support. Sure, there may be issues regarding the security of my data.  But, somebody else is looking after that….  Aren’t they?”
  • Anti-Cloud Argument – “My data is much safer in my office behind my company firewall. I have a solid network that is well administered by my staff. I do not see the benefits of cloud computing.”

We believe that both of these arguments have some merit, but both are overly simplistic. In many ways the security supporting cloud-based solutions is far superior to that which many offices have for their firewalls and overall security protection. Therefore, to argue that your office environment is more secure than a cloud-based solution may not stand up to scrutiny. Certainly, there are significant data-sharing and hardware support benefits to be had from cloud-based solutions. However, these features may solve problems that some clients do not have. Before adopting any new technology, be sure you are solving a real problem that you actually experience or are susceptible to.

In light of these considerations, we have developed a strategy that does not fully embrace either of the above two arguments. Our strategy is a middle ground and can be described as: Moving Forward Cautiously

Our Strategy

We believe there are many strong arguments for the benefits of cloud-based technologies. However, data security is a critical issue that must be understood and addressed with the proper technical resources. While we move forward with promising technologies like cloud computing, we still remain cautious. We believe it is better to be overly cautious than extremely sorry for allowing a data breach.

We have followed this policy for several years. Other responsible professionals also share this point of view. The April 2014 issue of the Journal of Accountancy had an article with the promising title, “Harnessing the Power of the Cloud.” This article opened with the sobering statement, “Experts advise caution as the profession exploits the great potential of the emerging technologies.” The article goes on to say, “CPAs leveraging the web for their business efforts need to be aware of the security concerns and protect themselves and their clients and companies’ data.”

Clearly there are benefits to be had from new technologies like cloud computing. There are also security issues that should not be ignored. In line with this strategic thinking, we have developed the following company policies:

1. On-premises Solution

For clients that want an accounting and portfolio tracking software system they can install and operate from their own offices, we will continue to provide that solution for the foreseeable future. Our Version 9.5 product is an outstanding financial reporting system that can be installed on your private network servers where you maintain total control over your data and its security.

2. Invest in New Technologies

We will also continue to develop new products using the latest technologies, such as cloud computing, improved user interface techniques, or advanced methods of customer support. We offer our clients a view into these new technologies, so they can provide feedback from their perspective. This also enables them to prepare for a potential future transition to a new product.

3. Manage New Technologies Effectively

We will persist in the constant evaluation of new technologies and security features to assess their overall strengths and weaknesses. We seek to build on the strengths they offer while understanding their weaknesses and we will take steps to address those shortcomings before exposing clients to unnecessary risks. This will enable us to help clients understand the merits and deficiencies of all their options, as they evaluate the alternatives available to them.

We hope this article is helpful as we work with you meet your reporting needs. We are proud of our commitment to provide great financial reporting solutions while maintaining the highest levels of customer attention and support.

Happy Navigating!
Ed Van Deman
CEO

Editor’s Note: We are always interested in your comments and feedback. You can write to us at: editor@finnav.com.

Three Steps to Efficient Technical Support

Daniel Serrano
By Education

Because we understand the critical importance of customer support, Financial Navigator encourages users to contact us whenever you have a question about our family office software or how it works. It only takes a few minutes to ensure you are handling an issue the right way, which is far better than forging ahead and possibly creating a tangle of confusion.

You can help make the process quick and easy. By taking the following steps before you contact our Technical Support department, you could significantly reduce the amount of time required to resolve your issue.

Step 1: What’s the Problem?

Letting our support team know as many details as possible about the problem you are experiencing will speed up the process tremendously. Some questions to consider are:

  1. When did the problem first start occurring?
  2. Is there an error message that pops up in connection with your problem?
  3. Does the problem happen in only one specific entity or in multiple entities?
  4. What actions were taken in Financial Navigator (“FN”) just before this problem occurred?
  5. What actions were taken in FN immediately afterward (if any) to try to solve the problem?
  6. Do you know where your FN database is located on your system?
  7. Can you recreate the problem if asked to?
  8. How are you hosting Financial Navigator? Is it located on a local server, external server, in the cloud, etc.?

There is also some information you might need to get from your IT team, such as:

  1. Do you have administrative access on your computer?
  2. Are there any restrictions to being able to log into an FTP server?
  3. Can a third party, like Financial Navigator, remote into your system via GoToMeeting?
  4. Have any restrictions been placed on the root FN directory?
  5. Are your User Account Control settings as low as possible?

Step 2: Back Up Your Database

Before calling in for support, always back up your FN database, in order to save and protect your most recent work.

In fact, we strongly recommend that you routinely back up your whole FN directory. This will need to be done internally, so contact your company’s IT team if necessary. Backing up your computer’s files on a daily basis is an important practice for everyone.

Step 3: Prepare for GoToMeeting®

GoToMeeting is a web-hosted service created by Citrix Systems® for online meetings, desktop sharing, and video conferencing. Our support team utilizes GoToMeeting every day for training, support calls and to solve user problems. To make sure that logging onto GoToMeeting will be fast and easy for you, download the GoToMeeting launcher to your computer.

Now, you will be ready if we need to remote into your computer to see its desktop. If so, we will ask you to go to this website: www.joingotomeeting.com, which will present the screen below:

goto-meeting-screen

To start an online meeting, our customer service representative will provide you with a 9-digit code to type into the “Meeting ID” box, indicated above. We have found that using a headset via your computer provides the best sound clarity for these meetings. Alternatively, however, you can call in with your telephone, using the phone number that will be provided on the screen by GoToMeeting. Either way, you will be connected and able to show us where you are having a problem.

Your time is valuable, so we want to be as efficient as we can. By taking these three steps ahead of time, you will enable our support team to address your technical problem as quickly as possible, to get you back on track as soon as we can.