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  1.    25 Sep 2017 #11
    Join Date : Nov 2016
    Posts : 9
    Windows 10 Professional

    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny View Post
    I am starting to see that remote access probably wouldn't help with a lot of the things I want to do.
    And you bring up some interesting points about liability on my end.
    Then again, you are leaving out a couple equally important points...
    1.) You assume that accountants do s*** to protect their clients' data.
    2.) You are forgetting that if this (or any) accountant's IT ignorance leads to a data breach, then it is I who has another kind of liability
    Yes, it makes sense to know what I am doing before I offer any of my services, but anyone who does IT work can get sued. If concern of liability was a limiting factor, then NO ONE would work in IT - especially not supporting small business owners. Right?
    I don't want to 'wade in', but just wanted to offer my viewpoint - having read the discussion thus far.

    Remote system management - of any kind - inherently carries an additional risk to on-site system management. I think that is the point here that ties your respective positions together.

    Like yourself, I run a technical consultancy - albeit in London. Whilst I have the capability to do remote system administration - there are times when the nature of the required work dictates that work is carried out on-site. This is a decision, on the most part, I take in order to mitigate risk and protect my ability to deliver a successful service. Likewise, there are times when the client insists that the work is carried out on-site in case something goes wrong.

    Given your uncertainty around how to deal with the issues around liability, alongside providing your (potential) clients the service they need, let me outline how I do things - perhaps some of this may be useful for you to adopt/consider. My approach is broadly thus:

    1. Understand the work required by the client. Naturally, in any industry, before undergoing any type of service-based work, it makes sense to be clear in what needs to be achieved. This helps with expectation-setting, but also with decision-taking about how to undertake said work.

    2. Present a Statement of Work (if applicable) that specifies the work to be undertaken, the desired outcome and - perhaps most crucially, when considering your conundrum - the risk factors in play and the steps taken to mitigate them.

    3. Agreement from all parties on the work to be carried out and work is scheduled in. This agreement should be undertaken once all parties are confident in the work due to take place, the expected outcomes and the level of risk involved.

    4. Work is undertaken and - hopefully - everything goes to plan. If it doesn't, the SoW would normally include a back-out plan to allow you to revert back to 'the way things were' and that gives you room to breathe and deal with the outcome with the client rationally.

    In a nutshell, incorporating the different elements into your SoW will ensure you feel comfortable with what you are doing. The reality is that if you can't confidently formulate the SoW - for example, if you feel the risk is too high to do it remotely - then you shouldn't be doing that work remotely.

    For me, the process gives me a framework within which to rationally take decisions, whilst at the same time presenting that information to the client for review.

    Ultimately, if you or your client are not happy with the work being conducted remotely, then you should do it on-site (if that mitigates the risks sufficiently). If you are able to competently present this to the client - along with the reasons why site-work is the best option - then the client can take the decision as to whether it is worth the extra cost of flying you out there to complete the work.

    If they turn around and say 'OK, do it remotely - we'll take the risk' then at least you have acceptance of that extra risk from them. That being said, as a responsible operator, if you believe the risk is too high then it is your responsibility to impart that viewpoint on them, irrespective of costs. Sometimes, it may mean you lose work - but it is all part-and-parcel of the business world.

    I am happy to discuss this further and would invite any questions you might have!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    25 Sep 2017 #12
    Join Date : Sep 2017
    Western PA
    Posts : 82
    Windows10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by sml156 View Post
    One way to secure your info would be to buy a computer and set it up the way you want and then mail it to him.
    Yes, I have considered that.

    Quote Originally Posted by sml156 View Post
    Or you could find an accountant that is certified with HIPPA
    Interesting idea.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    25 Sep 2017 #13
    Join Date : Jun 2014
    Posts : 547
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Another idea is to ask him what software he is using and do some research to find out if your data can be saved to a separate encrypted drive.

    Or build him a Windows VM in the cloud that you both have access to.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    25 Sep 2017 #14
    Join Date : Sep 2017
    Western PA
    Posts : 82
    Windows10
    Thread Starter

    @maconnolly,

    Excellent business/legal advice! Thank you!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    25 Sep 2017 #15
    Join Date : Sep 2017
    Western PA
    Posts : 82
    Windows10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by sml156 View Post
    Another idea is to ask him what software he is using and do some research to find out if your data can be saved to a separate encrypted drive.
    Or build him a Windows VM in the cloud that you both have access to.
    Another interesting idea!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    28 Sep 2017 #16
    Join Date : May 2015
    Central IL
    Posts : 4,256
    Mac OS Sierra

    Quote Originally Posted by sml156 View Post
    One way to secure your info would be to buy a computer and set it up the way you want and then mail it to him.
    Or you could find an accountant that is certified with HIPPA
    HIPAA not HIPPA deals with working with medical records, not accounting. The majority of accountants do not carry enough insurance to cover them in case they get sued by a client or the IRS and/or state sues them for not filing a client's forms and the accountants own filing, including review of all records.

    You never want a direct client who does business with you touching anything in their system, unless that individual has enough coverage to cover them if they also are asked to appear in front of a judge or a taxing body.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    29 Sep 2017 #17
    Join Date : Sep 2017
    Western PA
    Posts : 82
    Windows10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by bro67 View Post
    The majority of accountants do not carry enough insurance to cover them in case they get sued by a client or the IRS and/or state sues them for not filing a client's forms and the accountants own filing, including review of all records.
    So true!
    Quote Originally Posted by bro67 View Post
    You never want a direct client who does business with you touching anything in their system, unless that individual has enough coverage to cover them if they also are asked to appear in front of a judge or a taxing body.
    Good point!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    29 Sep 2017 #18
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 144
    windows 10

    I have TeamViewer set up to load with windows and gave it a password for unattended access.
    This way you can reboot windows and log on again after reboot.
    Sven
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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