Discussion:Secure file storage

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Secure file storage


Jdctax (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2013
I recently started my own solo practice and one of the many practical decisions I'm faced with is how/where to store my client files. I have been using Dropbox but recently read some concerns about their security. Does anyone have a suggestion on a secure, preferably cloud based, storage system for client files and work papers?

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2013
Our own Fstein did a nice recap not too long ago: Fred's analysis of popular encryption sites. After you've opened/read that discussion, click "what links here" for one little-used method of checking for other discussions on related topics.

Spiral (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2013
Some I like, not mentioned in the link above, are:

BackBlaze (http://www.backblaze.com/) Mainly a backup solution. It is secure, simple and very resonalbly priced ($50 a year). Install it on your file server (if windows based) or desktop if that is all you have, and you are good to go.

SpiderOak (https://spideroak.com/) This has richer functionality, for example a syncing directory like dropbox. It is secure, not as simple as BackBlaze to setup, but not difficult, and resonalbly priced.

The good and bad in evalutating your options for this type of service is there are ton of options, but choose wisely. I would not use Dropbox, depsite its popularity.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2013
Thanks Trillium, did not know I had my name attached to something. Although, to be clear, I did not do the analysis, Ms. DeFelice did and I merely re-posted. I can simply take credit for sharing. lol.

Also, keep in mind, the article was written in 2010 and we are 3 years later and in technology years, that's a ton.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2013
JD, are you looking to store them for client access, or for your own use?

That would also come into play in the decision making process.

Jdctax (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2013
Fsteincpa - It would be for my own use. I have access to client portals through my website provider (CPA Site Solutions) but I will need a place to store my work papers and drafts, etc. i'm thought just leaving it on my hard drive was not the best option and looked into cloud storage options. Dropbox seems to be the best overall but I read some security issues with them. I won't be sharing folders and sending any links to files so that security issue doesn't worry me. More about someone getting access to a client's name, SSN and date of birth.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2013
Why is your hard drive not the best solution?

Can you remote in?

Do you have sufficient back up systems?

Why do you not wish to have your files in your office?

Jdctax (talk|edits) said:

31 October 2013
I was hoping for something more secure than my hard drive. Maybe I'm being paranoid but I feel like my hard drive would be more susceptible to hacking than a remote storage option with higher levels of security.

I do have a sufficient backup - I backup regularly to an external hard drive and to Carbonite. I'm trying to go fully paperless (or as close to it as I can) so there won't be much by way of paper files to store.

Do most of you store client files on your hard drive and just have backup systems in place?

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

2 November 2013
I've been told that Carbonite will blindly copy over errors that have slipped in. So if you get a corrupted file, then when you go to Carbonite you'll find IT has corrupted files. I only learned this recently from a client who suffered some catastrophic problems. DropBox apparently saved her bacon as she was also using it.

I've been feeling more love for DropBox lately, but remain all ears for better options. Nice thing about it is that lots of our clients are familiar with it too, and so it's easy to get folks set up on it. If you're not using it for passing files to/from your clients, however, then it wouldn't surprise me but that other cloud-based back up solutions will be superior.

You seem to be only discussing electronic records. Like it or not, you WILL end up with some paper records, too, and they also need to be secure. It always astonishes me when I hear of a tax office that doesn't have electronic alarm monitoring, and a sturdy filing cabinet with bar locks secured by gnarly keyed padlocks. Elsewhere here at TaxAlmanac someone mentioned reading of a theft where the bad guys used a truck and chains to yank a rear door entirely off its hinges, then stole the server (and, maybe, any paper files they could easily grab). Stories like that terrify me.

Gazoo (talk|edits) said:

2 November 2013
Get yourself a completely separate computer that you never hook up to any kind of network. There was a good article on this in one of the Linux magazines or on the Schneier website recently.

Otherwise, print them all out and put them in a file cabinet where they belong. Just make sure your office is not near the location of Ellsberg's former psychiatrist, otherwise, one of Nixon's plumbers may have a flasback and break into your file cabinet.

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