Scott B. Price and Company has been providing professional services to individuals and small businesses for over 25 years. Based in the heart of San Francisco, SBP CPA’s clients span a wide range of industries, organizational size, and structures, including individuals, partnerships, small businesses, start-up companies, non profit organizations, estates, and trusts. The firm provides accounting, tax planning and preparation services, along with accounting system design including support for QuickBooks applications to their clients. The firm has always strived to be forward thinking with respect to how technology can help them deliver better services to their clients. They were early adopters of electronic data storage and management, e-filing of tax returns, and using the web to communicate with their clientele. But the firm is very conservative when it comes to their data. Before embracing cloud-based solutions, the firm ran a rigorous process to evaluate vendors, review data migration processes, ensure data integrity, and to develop a security framework covering both technical solutions and employee use practices.
What problem were you trying to solve?
Our practice relies on a variety of backend services to help manage our customers’ bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs. Some of those are traditional client-server apps, and some of them are web-based apps that are provided by third parties. We use a cloud provider to deliver secure virtual desktops for the team, but that still left security holes with the browser and web-based services. We identified 3 problems with these web apps:
- Users could log in from any browser to access these web services, even on untrusted computers.
- Although we set use policies, we could not guarantee isolation of work-related browsing from personal.
- We did not have a way to implement common policy controls around the various third party services. Each provided their own inconsistent controls.
What was deployment like?
Deploying Silo was a quick process. Three users in the organization were selected as pilot users. We ran it side by side with our standard browser. The secure access from any device was reassuring, and the fact that Silo provides single sign on to the web apps was really convenient. We were able to get back in control of shared accounts by having Silo manage those logins without sharing the passwords with the users. There were some early issues with printing, and some of our sites required additional phone verification because Silo looks like a new computer, but we got through that.
Once the pilot team was satisfied, we rolled Silo out to all of our employees. Authentic8 set up the group structure and user accounts ahead of time, and then hosted a launch party where everyone logged in and set up their pass codes. We’ve had a few check-in meetings since then. Overall, the deployment was painless and efficient.
What is life like after Silo?
We thought there might be some user push back on using Silo. We told everyone that Silo was the browser to use for business functions, but we were prepared for resistance. Instead, we’ve seen our users embrace Silo. The single-sign on to the accounts makes life much easier. The speed at which we are able to move from one website to another is just as fast as - if not faster than - it was when we navigated through websites before implementing Silo. This saving of time has helped improve our efficiency. And now, if users need to access the web app from home or another device, they don’t need to launch the cloud desktop. They can log in directly via Silo, which is much more convenient, and we can control whether downloads are permitted, whether they can print, and more.
"I love Silo. We can get the most out of the cloud while maintaining a greater level of security and control than ever before."
But the peace of mind that comes with having a completely secure and locked down browser for these business apps can’t be overstated. Now we feel like we can get the most out of the cloud without having to jump through unrealistic security hoops. Our use of Silo has been a great success.
Download a PDF of this success story.