The IT Manager who will definitely be replaced by a Robot

Files upI asked a client's IT manager what he thought about moving to a cloud based accounting system for one of the companies in the group, and had the following reply:

"With regards to your second question, which brings into scope any cloud-based software utilised by us, let me first enumerate the risks of using cloud-based software against in-house software.

1. Loss of data: Cloud-based companies go bankrupt just as normal software companies do, and the difference is that you can lose access to an application that you rely on overnight. There have also been several examples where data has been lost from cloud-based systems.

2. Security of data: Despite rigorous security measures, cloud-based systems are always going to be a target for hackers, and we have seen what that meant to companies like Ashley-Madison and Sony amongst many others.

Because of this, I would like to see a blanket ban of all cloud-based systems without specific approval by the Senior Management Team. This should be written in to Company Policy and repeated in IT security documents as well as employee handbooks.

For applications where there are significant advantages in going cloud-based, then I suggest that there should again be a written risk assessment and policy document by Application, by Department. Again the responsibility here is the Department Head, and the Senior Management Team.

I have no objection in principal to seeing cloud-based accountancy software used at (deleted to protect the innocent as well as the guilty!!) but I would add the following requirements based on my extensive experience with accountancy and payroll systems.

1. 2-factor authentication must be utilize i.e. a complex password together with something like a code generated by a mobile phone.

2. Keep written daybooks of all transactions e.g. all purchase invoices and sales invoices are entered into a logbook before entry into the software. (What? This is an IT Manager suggesting the use of a handwritten logbook…)

3. Print reports on a set routine, with the awareness that those might be all you have if something happens to the accounting software."

I guess you can image my response to this given that there are far more cases of PCs and local servers being hacked than the likes of Xero and QBO. I suggested he attend one of the Cyber Security workshops being run by Natwest and Barclays alongside Police Cyber security experts. I attended one just 3 weeks ago. Scary stuff.

Fire, flood, theft, electrical surges, computer crashes as well as risk of hackers, viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, identity theft, IP theft, spam and ransomware…

Perhaps there is a risk of a cloud accounting firm going bust and disappearing but to be honest that is one reason we are focusing on Xero and QBO because they are now almost too big to fail.

Now this IT Manager is younger than me so how can he really believe this stuff? Either he is serious or he can see what’s coming and knows his job is at risk. The robot IT Manager is on the horizon.

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