"Global small business platform" Xero is advising small businesses to "take their security even more seriously by opting into two-step authentication before it becomes compulsory for all Australian subscribers and their invited users by the end of 2018, in accordance with Australian Tax Office (ATO) requirements".
2SA or two-step authentication appears to be a different way of saying two-factor authentication, known as 2FA, although some security pros are suggesting even more factors should be used.
The company says the large rollout comes as it "celebrates its fourth consecutive Canstar Blue Award this week, a mark of achievement in market-leading customer satisfaction".
So, how does 2SA work?
"Defining the security of customers as a matter of critical importance, Xero launched 2SA as an optional feature back in 2015 as a means to protect small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers. Accountants and bookkeepers in Australia are now required to use 2SA to log into the platform, and Xero says a more widespread adoption of 2SA will ensure business owners, financial controllers and payroll administrators play their part to keep data safe and secure, and in line with best-practice advice from the ATO.
"The ATO finalised its Operational Framework in February 2018. Among its requirements, digital software providers such as Xero must implement mandatory 2SA across the entire platform before the end of the year. Australian Payroll Administrators and Subscribers will be required to have 2SA on their Xero accounts by 11 September 2018."
Trent Innes, managing director of Xero Australia, said: “At Xero, we have always taken security and privacy seriously.
“2SA is similar to a deadbolt on your door; it adds another layer of security for all online practices, helping business avoid fraudulent activity. We fully support the ATO’s requirement for 2SA on software that interacts with their tax system. It is the right thing to do to help protect client data.
“We are laser-focused on protecting our customers’ sensitive data. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we’ll do everything in our power to keep them safe online.”
Xero proudly boasts that its "customer-centric approach was recognised by Canstar Blue this week when it was awarded the 2018 Most Satisfied Small Business Customers – Accounting Software award for the fourth consecutive year, off the back of a survey of 800 Australian small business decision makers".
In winning the award, Xero notes that it "has retained its market leading position – outperforming the competition to receive five-star rankings for overall satisfaction, ease of use, value for money, ease of integration and reporting. The Canstar Blue survey reveals that Xero’s overall customer satisfaction has increased significantly over the last year and that ease of use is the driving factor for overall satisfaction with the platform."
We're reminded that "Canstar Blue is the highest ranked comparison site for satisfaction and most recommended. Its ratings recognise product excellence across industries and showcases Xero’s drive to deliver the best platform for small businesses to do business beautifully."
Innes said: “Only 3% of Canstar Blue award winners have won for four consecutive years. To be among them is an incredible achievement.
“We’re dedicated to delivering the best customer experience for small businesses across the country with initiatives like 2SA and seeing our overall customer satisfaction increase significantly over the last year is extremely rewarding.
“This award is voted on by our customers themselves and showcases the extraordinary work of everyone at Xero who are passionate about creating a highly secure platform to help small businesses succeed.”
The Canstar Blue award builds on recent momentum with Xero ranking third on the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies 2018 list and winning Best Service Innovation for Xero Learn.