The uptake of Cloud computing has increased over the past five years prompted, to an extent, by Public Practice accounting firms espousing the virtues and security of online accounting packages. The benefits are often described in terms of financial reporting and decision-making efficiencies based on speedier access to results and reduction in invoicing times. There has been little research surrounding actual and perceived security threats and privacy concerns affecting accounting practices since their implementation of cloud computing. The role of this research is to qualify and quantify the type and number of data breaches, if any, that have occurred in cloud computing systems as used by small and medium Australian accounting practices. The second objective of this research is to understand the risk mitigation strategies employed to minimize and, hopefully, remove security and privacy breaches.
This research is based on a Pragmatic paradigm in that it manages to embrace the constructivism and positivism/postpositivism concepts whilst allowing either, or both, of qualitative and quantitative research methods to answer the questions being posed. The qualitative approach will be explored by using semi-structured interviews to allow participants to express their opinions whilst staying within defined boundaries. This information will be coded in NVivo. Whereas the quantitative approach will be utilising five-point Likert scales which will then be interpreted using SPSS.
Ethical considerations revolve around privacy of data relating to practices being questioned as well as maintaining the secrecy of any practices that may have been subject to data and/or security breaches.
The findings of this research should provide insight into the success, or otherwise, of security surrounding current cloud-based accounting practices and whether a more proscriptive process needs to be implemented by Accounting governing bodies in order to secure cloud data.
For more information, please contact the Graduate Research School.