Among the unique needs of Canadian churches, there is one that is easily overlooked but is critical to consider—"Are you meeting government requirements for data storage?”
The CRA requires your books and records that are stored electronically be kept on a server in Canada. If they are accessible electronically in Canada but are kept outside Canada, the requirement has not been met. Again, even if you can access them from a remote server or something of that nature, the requirement has not been met. This applies to your governance documents, minutes from meetings of executives or members, and donation records. They must all be stored within Canada. On a server physically located in Canada. This video provides further details.
So why does this matter? According to the CRA, “Failure to keep adequate books and records may result in the suspension of a registered charity's tax receipting privileges, or the loss of its registered status.”
Before you become too alarmed, there is a way to put your mind at ease—with a Sunergo solution, you will meet these requirements with flying colours. That’s because our servers are all located in Vancouver, Canada. Any church that uses Sunergo is automatically in compliance with a very important CRA requirement.
Our entire Sunergo team is located in Canada. We’re a Canadian company, for Canadian ministries, run by Canadians. We take your data’s security seriously. We strive to be the most comprehensive and secure solution in the country. You’re able to access your data from anywhere, but it’s always stored on Canadian servers.
Our servers are physically located within professional-grade server rooms. Such facilities are defined as having multiple ultra-high sources of bandwidth from independent primary providers. They also have independent sources of power, such as generator backup systems. Their service includes highly regulated physical access, including 24/7 physical and electronic surveillance.
Data within our care is backed up every weeknight. Backup tapes are handled by Sunergo staff and are put into a rotational scheme that provides opportunity to retrieve data from yesterday, last week, last month, and up to six months in the past. These tapes are stored in a safe located in a separate building from the servers. Long-term storage is in a bank vault. CRA has specific requirements on how long you must keep books and records for. Do not leave your precious data susceptible to computer crashes or in the hands of only one individual.
Not only is your data stored securely, we ensure that it is transmitted as securely as possible. Though your church management system is accessed via a browser, the data is encrypted in transit using SSL encryption, a trusted online security protocol.
At Sunergo, we use bank-level encryption (SSL). All data is encrypted as it moves between our secure, dedicated servers and the web browser on devices. As an additional security measure, Sunergo provides customized logon URLs. Each Sunergo account is only accessible from a customized, account-specific URL. You can assign specific access privileges to each user so they can view/edit only the data they should have access to.
Your data is invaluable. You trust us to protect it. We take this responsibility seriously. With Sunergo, you can rest at ease, secure in the knowledge that your data is protected and meet CRA regulations.
Please be aware that I'm not a lawyer nor an accountant. This blog is not a substitute for professional legal or financial advice. Please consult appropriate professionals regarding your specific situation.