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  • January 08, 2019 12:48:59 PM
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Onestop IT Solutions provides IT services to your business. Established in 2003, OnestopIT has grown to a staff of 9 with 3 offices covering Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team offers IT support, IT strategy, IT security and IT compliance support. At Onestop IT we care about understanding the specific needs of your organisation and translating these needs into action plans to support and develop your business.

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    Here’s Why You Need Third Party G Suite Backup

    G Suite is a highly attractive collection of tools for SMEs: they’re cheap, even free to use, widely known and cloud-based, allowing you to work from anywhere. Since the productivity suite is owned by one of the world’s premier tech giants, most people trust their data is in good hands when it’s stored with Google.  Discover more The post Here’s Why You Need Third Party G Suite Backup appeared first on Onestop...

    G Suite is a highly attractive collection of tools for SMEs: they’re cheap, even free to use, widely known and cloud-based, allowing you to work from anywhere. Since the productivity suite is owned by one of the world’s premier tech giants, most people trust their data is in good hands when it’s stored with Google. 

    That being said, Google doesn’t take responsibility for your data if you are the reason it’s removed from your account and it doesn’t offer a straightforward backup solution to restore deleted files and messages. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons you need a third-party service to make sure your data stored with G Suite stays safe. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about backing up your Google data.

    How Google backs up your data

    As most dedicated users of G Suite will likely know, when a user deletes a file, it’s not actually deleted right away. Instead, it’s moved into your Bin where it can be recovered from for the next 30 days. After that, admins of your organisations can still restore permanently deleted files for 25 additional days by using the Admin Panel. After this, Google deletes the data completely. Additionally, files from deleted user accounts can be restored for up to twenty days.

    Apart from the delay it employs before it deletes files permanently, Google has two ways to decrease your chances of losing data: Google Vault and Google Takeout. What’s important to remember is that neither of these is advertised as a data backup tool. Instead, these tools help you to retain and export data.

    The Takeout tool allows you to download all data belonging to a Google account as an archive file. However, you can’t download files stored in shared folders – and when you’re dealing with a work account, this will likely be the majority of files the account is associated with. What’s more, you won’t be able to download all of your files at once if your account has more than 50 GB of data.

    The Google Vault is a web-based archiving tool that helps you retain data on your organisation’s user accounts by setting rules for what can be deleted. Additionally, you can easily search, audit and export data using Google Vault. However, this isn’t a recovery tool: once a file is deleted from Google Drive, it also disappears from your vault because the tool doesn’t create a duplicate of files – it simply archives them.

    Two important reasons not to rely on G Suite for backups

    Google has a number of centralised hubs to store multiple versions of your files, so the chances of them losing your data are essentially zero. Even so, you’ll need protection against data loss on your end. This includes things like human error, ransomware and other malicious activity like unauthorised access from stolen work devices. 

    When you consider the fact that Google states it doesn’t “make any commitments about the content within [their] services”, it’s clear that your data is your own responsibility when you store it using the G Suite. Below are some of the major disadvantages of G Suite “backup” to illustrate why it’s not a good idea for organisations to rely on Google’s recovery features alone. This goes to illustrate the importance of having a strong third party backup strategy in place.

    1. High potential for human error

    The potential for user error is by and large the number one reason you need an external backup for your data outside the G Suite. In fact, as much as 90% of all data breaches can be traced back to human error. So whether it’s accidentally deleting an important file, losing your work laptop or falling prey to a phishing scam, well-meaning employees can be the reason you lose vital information unless you have a backup service to fall back on.

    Some common situations where well-meaning employees could end up costing you your important data include trying to create more space on your Drive or deleting files to try to safeguard sensitive information within files with external collaborators. And if no one realises that important information has been moved into the Bin, it could be permanently deleted before anyone’s the wiser.

    Some other ways you could lose your data that are related to user error include installing dodgy third-party apps and staying signed in to your G Suite account on multiple devices. The latter is a problem because while staying signed in makes life easier, it could also expose your organisation to risks if our device gets lost or stolen.

    And do you always read the T&Cs of tools you download onto your work devices to run alongside your G Suite apps? Chances are you don’t, and this oversight could expose your organisation’s data to external threats when you press the “Allow” button to let the tool access your files. After all, according to Syscloud’s G Suite Third-Party App Security Report, around 70% of medium-risk apps and 44% of high-risk apps available in the store had more than a million downloads, meaning this is a very common oversight.

    2. Restoring Google data is labour-intensive and not foolproof

    Even in cases where you can recover deleted data, the process can be pretty labour-intensive. This is because recovering deleted data using Google’s tools works by restoring your application to a specific point in time before data was deleted. This means that you can’t recover individual files or messages past the thirty days they’re kept in the Bin. So if you’re an admin trying to restore these after this, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

    First of all, you won’t be able to specify the location where you’d like the recovered files to be restored to meaning that they’ll be restored to their original location. This means that if there are files or messages you don’t want to recover, they could overwrite more up-to-date versions of themselves. To combat this, you should make copies of files you don’t want to be replaced by their earlier iteration.

    Additionally, you won’t be able to recover file structures. This means that if you have a complex file structure, you might need to dedicate a good chunk of time to recreating your folders. This means you lose precious time you should be dedicating on other tasks.

    What to look for in your G Suite backup service

    If the above has convinced you to invest in a third-party backup service for your G Suite data, what should you look out for when shopping for one? Like we talked about in last week’s article, your chosen tool should back up your data several times a day to make sure you don’t miss out on work done after data has been lost. 

    You should also look for a solution that automatically restores file structure to minimise downtime and that allows you to save restored files to a separate location to avoid overwriting your work. A tool that allows for granular restoration of individual files and emails is also an important asset.


    The above only scratches the surface, so for more information for what to look for and to get some specific product recommendations, tune in on our blog in two weeks’ time for a dedicated article on the best backup solutions for small businesses. In the meantime, make sure to check out our blog for more articles on IT strategy and cybersecurity.

    The post Here’s Why You Need Third Party G Suite Backup appeared first on Onestop IT.


    5 Reasons You Need to Back Up Your Office 365 Data

    Does Office 365 back up your data? In short, the answer to this question is yes - but only to an extent. Microsoft will help you recover your data in case something like a natural disaster or a fire, or if you suffer a hardware failure that means you lose important files or emails. They Discover more The post 5 Reasons You Need to Back Up Your Office 365 Data appeared first on Onestop...

    Does Office 365 back up your data? In short, the answer to this question is yes – but only to an extent. Microsoft will help you recover your data in case something like a natural disaster or a fire, or if you suffer a hardware failure that means you lose important files or emails. They also provide you 30 days of time to recover files moved to the recycling bin before it deletes them completely, offering you some protection against human error as well.

    However, there are many disadvantages to Office 365’s “backups” being the only way you make sure you can recover lost data. For most organisations, the cover this offers is simply not enough. That’s why today, we’ll detail some of the places where the protection Microsoft offers against data loss falls short. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about recovering your Office 365 data in a crisis.

    The limitations to recovering data using Office 365

    1. You’re usually the one responsible for your data

    The first obvious disadvantage might have become clear to you already while reading the previous paragraphs: Microsoft will only back up deleted items for thirty days. While in a perfect world, you’ll realise that you’ve accidentally deleted an important file or that it’s disappeared due to something like a hack, a disgruntled employee or simple human error right after the fact, this is not always the case. This is especially true if someone has gone and manually emptied the recycling bin, too, deleting the file for good.

    Keep in mind that Microsoft makes keeping track of your data and keeping it safe from accidental deletion and cybercrime that specifically target your business your responsibility. And understandably so: keeping endless backups of every Office 365 user’s data would be a near-impossible task.

    2. Several versions of a file not stretching far enough

    Microsoft enables 500 versions of a single file by default, meaning you can easily restore a file to an earlier iteration. This may sound very impressive, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear this doesn’t offer comprehensive coverage.

    This is first and foremost because Office 365 users have often complained about how the application saves new versions of a file constantly, which means that those 500 versions can be exhausted quickly. Additionally, malware could change or encrypt your file more times than this, making recovering an uncorrupted version of the file impossible. A cybercriminal could also hack an administrator profile and disable the creation of multiple versions of a file which makes corrupting them beyond repair easy.

    Perhaps most aggravating about all of this is the fact that the creation of multiple versions of your files can easily eat up your main storage allocation, meaning you might find yourself having to buy more storage space. If you need to keep all versions of a file for several years, your storage needs will likely be greater than the storage your plan gives you by default.

    3. Finding yourself unable to delete inactive user accounts

    Another feature of Office 365 that sounds like a positive at first but that has a negative side is the deletion of inactive user accounts. Should someone in your organisation leave, you can easily delete their account so that they can no longer access your data. This helps to keep your confidential data safe.

    However, the issue with this is that when you disable a user account, you lose access to the files that this user has created. This means that you may not be able to delete these inactive users and have to keep paying for their license even once they’re long gone – and this can cause a sizeable financial burden on your organisation.

    4. Restoring data with Microsoft is not straightforward

    If you find yourself having to request restoring from Microsoft in the event of something outside of your control, you’ll have to jump through some hoops. First of all, you’ll need to log a support ticket as soon as possible because, as we mentioned earlier, Microsoft is unable to store all data for every Office 365 user indefinitely.

    Second of all, Microsoft won’t restore a single file or email for you but rather, it’ll restore your entire mailbox or other O365 app to another point in time – as in a time before you lost the file or email. This means you could lose work you’ve completed after the fact. Then there’s the fact you’ll have to wade through all of your files and emails to find the one you needed after the restore, meaning that there are several extra steps you’ll have to take. 

    In short, the process of recovering lost data using a third-party backup solution is likely to be much simpler than if you were to rely on Microsoft even in the cases when they will be liable to restore it. And as we talked about earlier in this article, this won’t be the case if you’ve lost data due to something like human error or a cyberattack targeting your organisation specifically.

    5. Not being compliant with the 3-2-1 rule

    Another important thing to keep in mind when considering if you need third-party backup is the 3-2-1 rule of backing up your work. According to this popular motto, you need three versions of important work. The first two of these three versions must be saved on two different media (one online and one offline on something like an external hard drive). Meanwhile, the third version must be stored offsite – as in, with a third-party storage provider.

    If you rely on just Office 365’s backup capabilities, it’s like storing an important file only on your laptop desktop: should something unexpected happen – like a glass of water knocked over or a thief stealing your computer – it’s gone forever. So for your important work, you’ll need some additional protection outside the O365 suite.

    Do I need a third-party backup service?

    If you want to follow the 3-2-1 rule, the answer is a resounding yes. Additionally, using a third-party service allows you to get very granular about what data to restore and where it’ll be saved. You can also control how often your data is backed up. What’s more, with a third-party data backup service, you can easily archive important data from inactive users, namely departed employees, before you delete their accounts.

    Do keep in mind, though, that implementing a third-party tool like this will require an investment – both in terms of money and time. You’ll need to set aside time to purchase, configure, optimise and manage this additional tool yourself. To figure out whether you need this level of protection, consider the potential drawbacks of not doing so. 

    Many small businesses feel like they don’t need protection against cyberattacks as they’re not notable enough to get the attention of cybercriminals but arguably, they face a bigger risk than large corporations. Additionally, human error plagues organisations of all sizes. Therefore we have to conclude that you should invest in an additional backup service.

    What to look for in your Office 365 backup solution

    Since you’ll have to pay for a third-party backup solution, it’s important to do your research so that you invest in one that offers the level of protection you need. First of all, check how often you can back up your data using a service you’re considering investing in. While having your data backed up once a day can sound like a lot, consider what this will mean in practice. 

    Say a hacker gains access to all of your data in the early morning hours and renders it unusable – once you get the office, you can restore your files and mailboxes to how they were at the start of the previous day, but this means you lose all the work completed yesterday. Consider the potential loss of revenue associated with this and whether that’s a sacrifice you’re able to make should the situation arise.

    You’ll also want to make sure that whatever service you choose, it allows you to restore files and site collections in separate URLs, without overwriting existing work. That’s because if your backup solution does overwrite files when restoring them, you’ll again lose any work you’ve made on the file since the latest backup took place.

    Want to learn more about backing up your data? Keep an eye out for more articles on the topic in the next few weeks – all of our weekly blog posts will focus on this topic in January.

    The post 5 Reasons You Need to Back Up Your Office 365 Data appeared first on Onestop IT.


    5 Reasons to Invest in a Business Reporting Tool

    Using a business reporting or analysis tool provides an attractive opportunity for small businesses: they allow you to gather and analyse large quantities of data without the help of a dedicated business analyst, presenting findings in a way anyone can understand. A reporting tool is a great addition to your business performance management, but before Discover more The post 5 Reasons to Invest in a Business Reporting Tool appeared first on Onestop...

    Using a business reporting or analysis tool provides an attractive opportunity for small businesses: they allow you to gather and analyse large quantities of data without the help of a dedicated business analyst, presenting findings in a way anyone can understand. A reporting tool is a great addition to your business performance management, but before you rush to buy one for your organisation, have a read through our brief guide to the pros and cons of using one to understand what you’re in for.

    What is a reporting tool?

    A reporting tool is a software application that allows you to identify key findings from data sets about your business and present them in an easily digested, visual form. You can use a business reporting tool to gauge how a project you’re working on or have completed is performing or to calculate the viability of new projects, investments or expansions.

    A business analysis tool allows you to make sure all stakeholders have good visibility into how your business is performing so that you can make decisions accordingly. These data visualisations include things like dashboards, charts, graphs, tables and heatmaps and the data presented can often be interacted with through filtering and sorting actions. This means you can easily understand key takeaways from data with a single glace.

    Reporting tool benefits

    1. The most important benefit of a reporting tool is that it makes it easy to collate data and draw conclusions from it even if you don’t have a team of highly-skilled data scientists working for you. After all, it can be a tough task for the uninitiated to effectively process data, identify the most important trends and then communicate these in a simple way.

    2. With a reporting tool, more or less anyone is able to use simple formulas, slice through data and do some basic data modelling. The findings from these actions are then presented in a visual format that’s easily viewed, embedded into written reports and exported into any format. 

    This means that information can be easily shared with anyone within and outside your organisation who might find it helpful, building trust within your organisation and allowing everyone to be on the same page. 

    3. The fact that findings are easy to understand and simple to share also means you can improve your customer satisfaction by providing clients with more information about the results your company is delivering for them. A reporting tool makes it easy to generate automated quarterly and annual reports for clients.

    4. Investing in a business analysis tool can also make producing informative reports significantly faster, with some suggesting an improvement in speed as high as 40%. It saves you countless hours of gathering and sifting through data, allowing you to use that time to focus on other tasks. And since you’ll be relying on your analytics tool to do much of the heavy lifting, the likelihood of misunderstanding data is also lower.

    5. Finally, a reporting tool will help you gauge the general trajectory of any given project, allowing you to make timely changes to optimise its results. You can also explore various alternative routes without committing to any one of them before settling on the one with the most promising potential results.

    The potential pitfall of using a reporting tool

    As you see from the above, the benefits of a reporting tool are numerous. That being said, there is a potential pitfall that comes with using a business analytics tool. This pitfall is not being rigorous about the data you’re exposing to analysis. Though a reporting tool will eliminate a good deal of potential for human error from the gathering and analysis of data, the possibility of this isn’t erased by the use of an analytics tool. 

    The fact that you’re using a seemingly objective data analysis tool means you’re more likely to not think twice about whether the data you’re subjecting to analysis is the most appropriate for what you’re investigating. This could mean you draw conclusions from data sets that are unrepresentative of the project you’re investigating.

    To combat the potential of drawing incorrect conclusions, investigate the data sets you’re using: are they comprehensive, with a large enough sample size? And if the data is not coming from within your organisation, is the source reputable and trustworthy? 

    You should also think about your own biases and how these might affect how you choose what data to analyse and what KPIs you’re choosing to look for. Are your KPIs the most appropriate ones and actually indicative of business success? If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, you just might be on your way to producing a highly informative, highly actionable business report using an analytics tool.

    Is investing in a reporting tool worth it for my business?

    At the end of the day, the pros of using a reporting tool clearly outweigh the cons. It’s a cost-effective way to level up your business analytics game and allows you to make more objective decisions without investing lots of time or money into it. Want to find out the right tool for you? Get in touch with us! And for more articles on IT strategy, check out our blog!

    The post 5 Reasons to Invest in a Business Reporting Tool appeared first on Onestop IT.


    The Best Cloud Accounting Software Products for SMEs in 2020

    As 2019 comes to a close, you have a great chance to look back on the year, where you did well and what you could still work on in 2020. In the last few articles we’ve published, we’ve gone over many of the benefits of moving your accounting into the cloud, so if you’ve not Discover more The post The Best Cloud Accounting Software Products for SMEs in 2020 appeared first on Onestop...

    As 2019 comes to a close, you have a great chance to look back on the year, where you did well and what you could still work on in 2020. In the last few articles we’ve published, we’ve gone over many of the benefits of moving your accounting into the cloud, so if you’ve not already done so, now’s the time to seriously consider it, especially since Making Tax Digital is now in effect.

    In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best accounting tools for SMEs out there so that if easier accounting is your new year’s resolution, you’ll know where to start looking. Without further ado, here’s your guide to a few of the best cloud accounting suites for small businesses in 2020 and how to choose the right one for you.

    What to look for in your cloud accounting software

    What kind of software will be best for you depends on your priorities and budget, so the best place to start is by considering these factors. The accounting software market is heavily saturated and it’s easy to be wooed by long lists of snazzy functionalities your small business just doesn’t need. 

    So start by setting a realistic budget and considering which features matter to you most: unlimited invoicing? Payroll? Easy expense reports? Make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves to keep in mind when shopping around and don’t get distracted by features you won’t need that’ll only end up costing you extra. Be realistic about the rate at which your business is growing and look for a solution that can accommodate that growth.

    Sales reps will try to woo you, so take advantage of the situation by asking all the important questions before you settle on a product. Ask about how secure their API is, how often they back up their data, their customer support and any additional fees they charge. After all, while changing cloud-based providers is cheaper and easier than it is with desktop software, you likely won’t want to repeat this process and learn to use a new product all over again any time soon.

    1. QuickBooks

    Quickbooks, developed by Intuit, is one of the earliest players in the accounting software market. With pricing starting at just £8 a month at the time of writing, it’s also one of the most competitively priced. The £8 plan is the self-employed self-assessment option, allowing freelancers to track their income and expenses, send unlimited invoices and more. 

    For a few extra pounds a month, you can get access to the Simple Start plan, with tracking and filing in accordance with Making Tax Digital and the ability to chase up clients for late payments. There’s also an add-on available for invoicing. The platform also offers a good number of tools for monitoring and reporting as well as 24/7 customer support and integrations with Shopify, Paypal and Square.

    2. FreeAgent

    Our fellow Scottish business FreeAgent specialises in award-winning accounting software for small businesses and sole traders. Like a few other providers on this list, they offer your first 30 days free, followed by six months at half price with no contracts, making theirs an easy software product to try out without a large commitment. There are also no limitations on the number of users, clients and projects you can add.

    Due to the size of the businesses it targets, the main focus of the FreeAgent software is on invoicing (with automatic chasing), time tracking and keeping track of your receipts and cash flow, all housed on one, intuitive dashboard. They also take cybersecurity very seriously, with sophisticated encryption and data backups taking place several times per hour on secure servers. FreeAgent also has a backup data centre just in case the primary one is compromised.

    3. FreshBooks

    FreshBooks is another award-winning accounting software provider designed specifically with small businesses in mind. Similar to FreeAgent, the Canadian tech company offers time tracking, recurring invoices with regular data backups and a single dashboard. Their software also integrates with Zendesk, Stripe and Paypal

    FreshBooks also tracks the opening of invoices, meaning clients can no longer claim they received their bill. You can bill in any currency and keep track of expenses easily, with the ability to snap a picture of receipts for safekeeping. You can also generate reports on profits and losses with just a few clicks.

    4. Xero

    With Xero, you can take care of invoicing and expenses as well as inventory and payroll. Xero also makes for an attractive option for startups, offering 50% off for businesses less than a year old for the first 12 months. You might initially be tempted by their Starter package, priced at just £5 for the first three months (and £10 after that), but at closer inspection, you’ll find out this only includes five invoices and 20 bank transactions, making it too limited for a majority of small businesses.

    The more comprehensive plans do offer enough for most small businesses but as these are more than twice the price of the Starter option, Xero is no more affordable than the other options in this article. They do offer dozens of configurative reports, simple budgeting and unlimited user profiles. You can also send invoices, track inventory and create purchases easily on the go with your tablet or smartphone. Payroll is offered at an extra cost through Xero’s partner, Gusto.

    5. Sage

    While Sage is best known for their enterprise-level accounting software, they do also offer accounting for small businesses. Sage Business Cloud handles cash flow, customers, invoicing, suppliers, VAT and more, allowing you to submit returns under Making Tax Digital in a few simple steps. 

    Sage’s Accounting Start is a good product to start with for many small businesses, starting at just £6 a month for the first six months. However, this option doesn’t offer multiple users or purchase invoices. In addition to multiple fully cloud-based options, Sage also offers an option that combines cloud computing and desktop accounting software that integrates with Office 365.

    The post The Best Cloud Accounting Software Products for SMEs in 2020 appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Why You Should Move Your Accounting Into the Cloud

    As we outlined in last week’s blog post, cloud accounting is one of the key components of getting results and making informed business decisions. In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at how cloud accounting works and what its most important benefits are. Because no technology is perfect, we’ll also consider the potential pitfalls Discover more The post Why You Should Move Your Accounting Into the Cloud appeared first on Onestop...

    As we outlined in last week’s blog post, cloud accounting is one of the key components of getting results and making informed business decisions. In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at how cloud accounting works and what its most important benefits are. Because no technology is perfect, we’ll also consider the potential pitfalls of using cloud-based accounting software and what you can do to minimise these risks. 

    What is cloud accounting and what are its benefits?

    Cloud accounting simply refers to accounting software that is stored on remote servers – the cloud – and accessed via an internet browser by its users. This is in contrast with traditional accounting software that is installed on individual endpoints. We’ve spent a great deal on this blog in the past talking about the many benefits of cloud computing, and many of these are similar to those related to cloud accounting, too. Read on to discover the biggest perks of cloud accounting.

    1. Cheaper and easier to get started

    When you use software that needs to be installed on individual computers, there are associated fees and time involved in getting these up and running. You’ll have to purchase the license outright and potentially even invest in additional hardware like servers. This means you have to commit to your accounting software for a long time and jump through hoops when you grow and need to give more people access to your records.

    In contrast, cloud-based software is flexible and the pricing structure is simpler. First of all, you’ll be charged for a monthly or annual fee instead of a high upfront licensing fee. This means you aren’t locked into a long term commitment. You can also easily grant new people access to your records without having to install the software on their computer or buy even more licenses and/or hardware. All this means that cloud accounting is also usually the more affordable road to take.

    2. Saving time

    One of the biggest advantages for cloud-based accounting software is the fact it helps to automate much of the tedious, repetitive data entry typical to traditional bookkeeping. With cloud-based accounting, the software automatically updates your client information and it’s much faster to draft up, send and track the payment of invoices.

    3. Staying up to date

    With a SaaS accounting suite, there’s no need to download software updates since you access your records via the internet. This means you’re always working with the latest, and therefore safest, iteration of the software. This is significant since so many people fail to regularly update software installed onto their work computers.

    Because cloud accounting software is updated in real-time, you’ll also always have the very latest figures in front of you. This will allow you to have the clearest possible view of your company’s financial standing and you can make accurate business decisions accordingly.

    4. Working from anywhere 

    As we’ve talked about on this blog numerous times, cloud computing and flexible work go hand in hand, allowing your staff to have access to the information they need anywhere they are. This also makes collaboration between office-based and remote team members much easier. 

    Similarly, cloud accounting makes sharing financial information with all relevant parties much more straightforward. There’s no need to download data to pass onto them and for them to then upload it before they can view it. Instead, you can give everyone who needs it their own login details to the online suite so they can see the necessary figures in real-time.

    5. Work with a good level of cybersercurity

    Another upside to working with cloud-based accounting software is the better cybersecurity it offers. With traditional accounting software installed onto individual computers, your financial data would be compromised as soon as that computer fell into the wrong hands. In contrast, cloud accounting suites have more layers of cybersecurity as you’ll have to log in to get access to the accounts and because they utilise additional safety measures like encryption, anti-malware and firewalls. You’ll also benefit from the automatic data backups cloud accounting suites offer.

    6. Stay compliant with Making Tax Digital requirements

    As of April 2019, most companies have been legally required to submit their tax returns digitally. This means you can no longer manually input the required information using the HMRC self-service portal. Instead, information is sent automatically via digital tools, leading to greater accuracy. 

    This means keeping your records digitally and using accounting software to send these to the HMRC for all companies with an annual turnover higher than £85,000. Cloud accounting makes the whole process easier by automating much of the work, making updating your records from anywhere easy and giving access to anyone who needs it.

    What are some of the risks of cloud accounting?

    As we mentioned at the start of this article, no technology is perfect, and cloud accounting is no different. The first potential pitfall of cloud computing is the fact that you need an internet connection to access your accounting suite. While this means you can usually access files from anywhere, this is only true when you have a good connection. The way to deal with this is to have a good plan in place of what to do if you can’t access your accounting tools on any given day. 

    Arguably the biggest concern people have about moving key parts of their business into the cloud is that this means their business intelligence is in the hands of another company. This poses two potential threats: first, that your vendor disappears, and secondly, that they can’t keep your data safe from cybercrime aimed towards them.

    To prepare for the unlikely event that your vendor disappears overnight, you should have a contingency plan in place that addresses getting access to your data. As for the security of cloud software providers, there’s usually no need to worry: large providers of cloud accounting software are able to invest in cybersecurity measures more sophisticated than those afforded by small businesses. 

    That being said, a data breach is always possible when your data lives on the internet. However, when you compare this to the security risk posed by lost and stolen computers with accounting software installed onto them, a truly successful data breach targeting an accounting software provider seems much less likely.

    All in all, cloud accounting software is the safest and easiest option.

    The post Why You Should Move Your Accounting Into the Cloud appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Meet Our New Business Vertical: Technology & Pulling Results

    As you might have noticed on our blog in recent months, we’ve moved to a model where every month we focus on a different aspect of business. October was all about getting more business through marketing and November focussed on IT security and the role this plays in the everyday running of your small business.  Discover more The post Meet Our New Business Vertical: Technology & Pulling Results appeared first on Onestop...

    As you might have noticed on our blog in recent months, we’ve moved to a model where every month we focus on a different aspect of business. October was all about getting more business through marketing and November focussed on IT security and the role this plays in the everyday running of your small business. 

    Now that it’s December, it’s time once again to shift focus to another important aspect of running a successful small business. This vertical is, simply put, all about the business of getting paid and getting results. We call it technology and pulling results. Want to learn more? Keep reading.

    What is technology & pulling results?

    Technology and pulling results focusses on making informed business decisions and making sure you get paid accurately and on time. As we see it, the two most important tools of technology and pulling results are cloud accounting and data analysis. These tools will help streamline the everyday running of your business, help you make business decisions based on facts and figures, save you money and make sure your accounts are in order – after all, when it comes to small businesses, cash flow is king.

    Moving your accounting to the cloud

    We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of cloud computing on our blog in the past, especially when it comes to running a successful small business. Storing your files and applications in the cloud means greater flexibility and scalability, with staff being able to easily collaborate wherever they are. But cloud computing has many benefits to accounting, too, starting with invoicing.

    Proper invoicing is a key part of running any business, ensuring consistent cash flow and fewer accounting-related headaches. While in the past, businesses had to rely on paper-based invoices that had to be sent out by post and could easily get displaced, doing your invoicing online has simplified things a great deal.

    And to make things as easy as possible for you, we recommend you move your invoicing to the cloud. This means you’ll find your invoice templates all in one place where you can easily edit and send them to clients, tracking their opening and payment. This way, the whole process of invoicing will be easier and partially automated.

    You’ll also have all of the invoices you’ve sent conveniently stored in one location accessible from anywhere for future reference. Cloud accounting means there’s no more ambiguity when it comes to invoicing – you’ll have much better visibility of what you’re owed and your financial standing as a whole. This will help you make more informed business decisions.

    Some of our favourite cloud accounting software products include Xero, Sage and Quickbooks. If you’re interested in learning more about cloud computing, we have more articles coming out on this subject in the next two weeks.

    What is business analysis?

    Business data analytics is the other key part of technology and pulling results. It’s key to business innovation and making decisions about your company based on facts. Additionally, business analysis can help you improve customer satisfaction and cybersecurity, among other things. 

    Some of the most powerful ways to use data analysis for business performance management include data mining, text analytics, business insight and data visualisation. Data mining goes through large amounts of data using AI, databases, machine learning and statistics to detect trends and patterns for use in your business decision making. Business analytics like this can be used for things like content filtering, customer relationship management and fraud detection.

    Meanwhile, text analytics processes unstructured text, deriving conclusions based on patterns and trends within. These could then be further analysed using statistics and machine learning. Text analytics is used in your email’s spam filter that looks for wording common to malicious emails. Text analytics can also be used for things like finding common phrases in your customer reviews.

    Data visualisation is simply the displaying of data gathered through text analysis or data mining in a visual form like graphs and tables. This makes the data easier to digest, meaning that key decision-makers in your business can understand trends relating to your company and field as a whole at a glance. Business insight is similar, transforming data into actionable insights about trends for tactical decision making.

    Why you need business analytics & how to get started with it

    Without business analytics, you’re left in the dark, unable to make educated decisions about your business. As you might have gathered from the above, chances are that you’ve already used business analytics to your advantage in the past, even if you’ve not done this consciously. Anyone who uses something like Google Analytics to see what pages of your website are getting the most traffic or who’ve made business decisions based on past sales figures has used business analytics. 

    But if you want to make the most of the data you have on your business and its customers, you’ll need to take a more tactical approach to business analytics. This can mean many things depending on how much money and manpower you’re willing to devote to analytics. It could just mean giving analytics as an additional task for someone proficient in Excel, investing in some business analysis tools and/or hiring a specialised data analyst to join your team for business reporting.

    The bottom line

    The aim of our technology and pulling results vertical is to empower small business owners to have greater visibility into how their company is performing, highlighting opportunities for further growth. To find out more about how you can achieve this, tune in for more blog posts on these subjects in the next few weeks.

    The post Meet Our New Business Vertical: Technology & Pulling Results appeared first on Onestop IT.


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