A new year—2024—is right around the corner. Have you considered the role that your infrastructure plays in keeping your firm safe from cyberthreats while simplifying complex workflows? If you’re like most accounting firms, your staff may be accessing dozens of applications weekly from various locations. Maybe your firm is considering a move to a cloud infrastructure…but isn’t sure about the benefits and risks.
The end of the year is the perfect time to evaluate your infrastructure strategy. You’ll want to consider how this strategy will support your firm’s ability to scale and deliver excellent client experiences. Given all these considerations, here’s what Rightworks is talking to firms about as we enter 2024.
No. 1: Managing your own cloud infrastructure comes with risks and the need for additional talent
As discussed in my last blog, the biggest block to future-proofing your tech stack in 2024 is likely talent. If you’re like most firms, you’re already facing a shortage of accounting staff. Add to that the fact that cloud and security-specific talent is expensive and hard to come by. If you’re thinking about moving to a cloud-based infrastructure yourself, you must have internal staff to manage this move.
In evaluating a change to your infrastructure, consider your willingness to shift your app stack. Running certain desktop applications in a public cloud may not be cost-effective. And, if you decide that certain applications should stay on-premises, be aware that routers, network infrastructure and servers can all be attack vectors (see more on security below).
Finally, if you split your infrastructure between cloud and on-premises, you’ll need to ensure you have a comprehensive backup plan that covers all of your application data—no matter where it lives.
No. 2: Any move to cloud infrastructure must prioritize security
When you move to the cloud, your firm must reframe its thinking about security. You may believe that you can rest easy with your applications in a secure cloud managed by a large vendor. However, your internal team is responsible for managing access to these applications. You’re responsible for configuration and auditing access, as well as putting policies like forced multifactor authentication (MFA) into place. Not to mention, data security and disaster recovery must remain top of mind.
Most firms cannot handle these security requirements internally. For this reason, a managed cloud and technology approach may be your best form of protection. You can get access to a fully customized cloud environment with MFA enforced. And you’ll get a security team to monitor the infrastructure, applications and network devices.
No. 3: Your cloud strategy should enable both short- and long-term growth opportunities
At Rightworks, our goal for 2024 is to help our firms think beyond just a strategic move to the cloud. With the rise of AI and automation, along with the ongoing staffing challenges, 2024 is the time to prioritize leveraging firm and client data to drive actionable insights. As you evaluate your infrastructure, think about how moving all data into a single cloud can provide you with relevant insights about the health of both your firm and the businesses of your clients.
If expanding your client accounting and advisory services (CAAS) to include technology advisory is on your roadmap, your infrastructure strategy should capture this goal. Consider this: If your firm struggles to define an ideal cloud approach, secure application access and protect various attack vectors, your small and medium business clients are facing the same challenges. Defining your own cloud roadmap—and partnering with a vendor like Rightworks—can help you deliver the same technology experiences to your client base.
Take the first step to future-proof your firm
Your firm’s success starts with choosing the right infrastructure to access—and secure—your critical applications and data. As you build your 2024 plan, future-proofing your business requires looking at both short- and long-term risks and opportunities. Ultimately, it requires you to decide if managing technology internally makes sense for your business.
Ready to learn more from Rightworks about how your firm can prepare for 2024? Watch our webinar covering the importance of securing your cloud infrastructure and using insights to move your firm forward.