Security and Integrating Third-Party Apps with QuickBooks Online

January 31, 2024

Security and Integrating Third-Party Apps with QuickBooks Online

Security and Integrating Third-Party Apps with QuickBooks Online and Google Sheets

If you are considering integrating your QuickBooks Online data with a third-party app, there is much to consider regarding your data's security.

Especially when syncing data between QuickBooks Online (QBO) and Google Sheets through a third-party platform, knowing your data is safe can be a natural sigh of relief. After all, in today's world, your client's financial data is more valuable than ever, and protecting it isn't optional—it's essential. 

With cybercrime costs projected to hit $10.5 trillion by 2025, the convenience of app integration into your QBO workflow must be balanced with rigorous data protection measures. 

This article covers the security aspects of integrating a third-party app with QuickBooks Online, detailing the journey from QuickBooks Online through a third-party app, like LiveFlow, to Google Sheets.

QuickBooks Online and Security

If you are reading this, you are probably already a QuickBooks Online user or considering the platform for your financial needs. However, it's not just the functionality that makes QuickBooks Online stand out amongst its peers; it's their commitment to securing your data

Without being reductive, these are the steps taken to ensure your and your client's data is safe on the QuickBooks Online platform:

  • 24/7 Vigilance: Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks Online, watches your data around the clock. Rest assured; your data is guarded 24/7 with rigorous physical security measures, including video surveillance, 24/7 staffing, and state-of-the-art alarms.

  • Encrypted and Private: With industry-leading encryption provided by DigiCert®, QuickBooks Online ensures that your data isn't just stored—it's secured. With password-protected logins, firewall-protected servers, and the same 128-bit SSL encryption technology top banks use, Intuit spends big money to ensure high-level security.

  • Automatic Data Backup: QuickBooks Online automatically stores your data offsite, providing you with the convenience and reliability of automatic backups. Should any unexpected event affect your system, rest assured that your data is instantly accessible from any internet-connected computer.

  • Uncompromised Privacy: Following strict guidelines, QuickBooks Online ensures that your information remains confidential. Their partnership with the TRUSTe Privacy Program reflects Intuit and QBO's commitment to privacy, providing that it will not mishandle your data.

  • Unwavering Availability: Thanks to redundant servers and a self-correcting error detection program, your service remains uninterrupted, even when a server faces issues.

  • User-Controlled Access: QBO allows you to set multiple permission levels, ensuring that every user has access only to the appropriate data. Whether it's restricting your part-time contractor from viewing sensitive reports or downloading a local copy for extra security, you have control.

  • Transparent Accountability: With QuickBooks Online's Always-On Activity Log and Audit Trail, every action on your account is recorded and traceable. 

As you can see, Intuit and QuickBooks Online take serious precautions to ensure their customer's data is safe.

However, adding a third-party integration to your QuickBooks Online stack involves more complexity and the possibility for compromise somewhere in the funnel.

Understanding SOC-2 Compliance

Let's shift our focus to how a third-party integration, like LiveFlow, needs to take steps to protect your data further once it leaves the Intuit ecosystem. For this, we need to focus on LiveFlow's SOC-2 compliance status, ensuring your data is secure.

First, let's explain what SOC-2 means. SOC-2 (Service Organization Control 2) is a framework established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that ensures a company's information security measures align with the unique parameters of today's cloud requirements.

The certification is not just a badge; it's a testament to a company's commitment to uphold principles of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and customer data privacy.

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How LiveFlow Handles Data Security

LiveFlow doesn't just provide the platform to QuickBooks Online and Google Sheets; we ensure that every piece of data traveling is protected in a layer of security that meets the high standards set by SOC-2 standards. Here's how each layer of LiveFlow's security framework protects your financial information:

  • SOC 2 Type I and Type II Compliance: LiveFlow doesn't just claim to be secure; it proves it. Achieving SOC 2 Type I and Type II compliance, as attested by a certified auditor with no exceptions in the final report, LiveFlow demonstrates its unwavering commitment to maintaining stringent security standards and procedures.

  • Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation: We undergo regular scrutiny and assessments by an AICPA-certified audit firm. LiveFlow's security program and controls are continuously monitored to ensure they are up-to-date.

  • Approved by Industry Experts: LiveFlow also seeks the stamp of approval from Synopsys, a firm working on behalf of Intuit, which further validates LiveFlow's dedication to maintaining high-security standards. This recognition underscores LiveFlow's capability to meet the rigorous security requirements set by industry leaders.

Robust Infrastructure Security

  • Data Encryption: LiveFlow employs AES-256 encryption-at-rest for its entire dataset, ensuring your data is secure even when not in transit. Sensitive data receives an additional layer of protection with AES-256 application-level encryption.

  • Secure Communication: Communication between systems is safeguarded with TLS encryption, ensuring your data remains protected during transit.

  • Controlled Access: LiveFlow adheres to strict access protocols, ensuring only authorized actions are performed, fortified further by multi-factor authentication.

Application Security Measures

  • Secure Token Storage: Tokens necessary for API operations are guarded with the highest level of protection, including at-rest and application-level encryption. Users maintain control and can easily revoke access if needed.

  • Privacy-Centric Debugging: LiveFlow's engineers, committed to your privacy, only inspect the structure of reports without accessing sensitive information unless explicitly granted permission by the user.

  • Read-Only Access: LiveFlow strictly adheres to a read-only policy when accessing QuickBooks API, ensuring your original data in QuickBooks remains intact and unaltered.

Commitment to Privacy

  • No Third-Party Selling: LiveFlow values your privacy. It never sells customer information to third parties and uses Stripe, a trusted payment provider, to process subscription fees without compromising end-user personal data.

Google Sheets and Data Security

Google Sheets is one of the most powerful and popular spreadsheet applications. It is built on Google's secure infrastructure, providing comprehensive measures to protect your data from one of the giants in the tech space. Google Sheets is not only a robust and versatile tool for organizing and analyzing data, but it is also highly reliable and secure.

When it comes to security, Google Sheets offers several layers of protection to ensure that your data remains safe and secure. Google's secure infrastructure is designed to protect against external threats, such as hacking attempts and malware, as well as internal threats, such as unauthorized access and data breaches. This means that your data is protected by one of the most advanced security systems in the world, giving you peace of mind knowing that your information is safe.

Here are the key elements that Google uses to keep your data safe:

  • Google's Security Infrastructure: Protects your data with layers of encryption and physical security measures.

  • Access Control: Granular permissions control who can view or edit your documents, ensuring data confidentiality.

  • Audit and Compliance: Comprehensive audit logs help maintain a secure, compliant environment.

LiveFlow's Google Sheets Permissions Explained

  • Necessary Permissions: LiveFlow requires specific permissions to effectively automate your workflows in Google Sheets. These permissions include editing spreadsheets and connecting to external services like QuickBooks for importing and refreshing reports.

  • User Control and Transparency: LiveFlow operates transparently and under user control. It only makes changes in sheets where it's activated and never touches custom-added rows or columns by users. The application only runs when and where you allow it.

Addressing Common Security Concerns

When integrating third-party apps with sensitive financial data, it's natural to have concerns.

You can mitigate potential security risks by choosing solutions like LiveFlow that are SOC-2 compliant and prioritize data encryption and controlled access.

Are you Committed to Data Security?

At LiveFlow, we know you have choices regarding third-party integrations to boost your workflows as financial professionals.

It would be best to have a tool that also provides speed and reliability while keeping your client's data safe.

At LiveFlow, we are dedicated to just that. 

Reach out to our team today and book a demo. We are happy to show you how safe your data can be on our platform. 

It's not just about saving time; it's about investing in peace of mind. Let's secure and streamline your financial workflow together.

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