The reasons why it makes sense to take control of your Xero data
First things first, Xero do an excellent job of keeping your data safe.
They store it in secure datacenters, protect it from hacking and take regular backups. Other than a few short incidences of downtime, your accounting data has always been there when you need it - waiting for you in the cloud.
So, if Xero are looking after your data you don’t need to think about it then?
Actually, you should, because there are many reasons why you might want to protect and control your accounting data yourself. When you used desktop software your backup routine protected you in several ways that cloud services do not. You might want to reclaim those additional benefits.
Saving you from yourself
Xero work hard to ensure that they never lose your data and it is available to you 24/7/365, but what they can’t do is protect you from making a mess of your own data.
Your accounting information is critical to your business but there is always a risk that you do something you regret and want to go back to where you were yesterday, or even a few days ago. Perhaps you deleted some stuff when you shouldn’t have or imported a large volume of transactions wrongly; in this scenario, where you caused your own problem, Xero’s security doesn’t help.
You are going to wish you had a time machine and that time machine is the ability to restore a backup from an earlier point in time.
RECOVERING FROM SABOTAGE
It’s a reality of being in business that sometimes things don’t work out with an employee and you have to let them go. It’s then that you may find they are not the person you thought they were. A rogue employee can wreak havoc with any data they have access to, so if they were one of your Xero users then you could be in real trouble.
It’s one thing trying to recover from your own, innocent mistakes but quite another dealing with malicious sabotage by a disgruntled team member. For one thing, when you caused the problem you have an idea how to start fixing it. How do you know where to look when someone else did the damage?
Again, you’ll take no comfort in knowing that your Xero data is secure because what you’ll actually want to do is “roll-back” to a time before the sabotage.
There are more than 500 Apps that you can connect to your Xero organisation to add extra functionality.
These apps can read and, crucially, write to your Xero data once integrated. What do you do if you want to trial an app for your business but ring-fence your data in case the app is not what you’re looking for?
If you suddenly have a lot of unwanted or incorrect data pushed into your accounting records how much time and effort might need to go into getting things back to where they were?
It’s much better if you have a backup of your Xero data, then you can restore it into a new organisation which you can then use to safely trial the app. Your original, live accounting data is untouched while you play with as many apps as you like in your new “sand box” Xero organisation.
MEETING YOUR COMPLIANCE OBLIGATIONS
Quality assurance standards such as ISO 9001 oblige businesses to ensure they have procedures in place to protect business critical data - and your accounting records are surely about as critical as it gets.
When the standards assessor asks what happens to your business if your team arrives for work in the morning to find that Xero is down (in theory at least, possibly permanently) telling her that you have full confidence in Xero’s security procedures does not answer the question.
Likewise, your quality assurance standards will require you to maintain the integrity of your accounting data not just its availability. We’re all human, which means data can be compromised by mistake, by neglect or maliciously. A misbehaving connected app could make wide-ranging, unexpected changes.
Faced with these potential scenarios, the more robust, and compliant, response is to confirm that you have your own backups of all your (and maybe your clients’) Xero data and that you can work from those until Xero recovers from its lie-down, or restore from a backup for disaster recovery.
PEACE OF MIND
Finally, you may be the type of person who just instinctively wants to take control of their own critical data.
You appreciate that Xero has good security policies, but you just feel better knowing you have your own backups of your accounting data.
Maybe you don’t fully trust the Cloud or the internet generally. Perhaps you wonder what would happen if you fell out with your accountant.
If this is you, then you’ll sleep better with copies of your Xero data on your own computer. Just in case.