QuickBooks Cloud Hosting is becoming rampant and gaining momentum as businesses, large and small, are realizing its overarching benefits. In the parallel, many others are still confused about what is QuickBooks hosting and how it will benefit them. This blog will clarify everything you need to know about this high-tech option and determine whether it’s the best choice for your business or not.
Table of Contents
What is QuickBooks Hosting?
QuickBooks Hosting refers to the installation of the QuickBooks Desktop version on the cloud servers of a hosting provider, which is accessible via a web browser. QuickBooks Desktop cloud hosting enables users to access your tax files and data from anywhere, anytime, without installing the software on a dedicated computer system. Cloud-based QuickBooks provides both the robustness of the software’s desktop version and the accessibility of the online version.
Challenges of the Accounting Industry with On-Premise QuickBooks Solution
1. Inability to access QuickBooks Remotely
One of the most significant challenges of accountants with the on-premise QuickBooks solution is the inability to access QuickBooks remotely.
Such instances restrict the accountants from assisting their clients during non-business hours. To help them, accountants must be physically present in their office, which is not feasible every time.
2. Problem handling clients’ accounting data
Accountants handle a sizable portion of their clients’ data on a daily basis. Submitting returns and generating reports require them to work on it extensively and filter out the required data. They must collaborate, share files, and involve all their team members to complete their tasks on time.
Besides, they need to edit accounting files multiple times before finalizing them. All such instances lead to a lot of complications for the accountants. The situation worsens when they do time-consuming, redundant operations like storing and distributing the same file.
3. Data loss
When using an on-premise QuickBooks solution, you save all your accounting files on a local machine. Natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, and fires pose a significant threat to these data and can erase them all. Such instances could further impact your market reputation and hinder the cash flow in your organization. Due to this, attracting new customers could also get challenging.
4. Impact on business continuity due to server downtime
Generally, accountants in an organization work on a locally-installed QuickBooks system. It poses a threat of technical glitches and system malfunctions. Further, there’s a substantial impact on the workflow arising due to server downtime. A prolonged downtime later results in loss of business and impacts revenue generation and business continuity.
5. Huge operational expense
Using the conventional on-premise QuickBooks software requires you to invest in advanced IT infrastructure, including dedicated computers, in-house servers, etc. Additionally, you must hire in-house IT staff to maintain the upkeep of the servers. As such, you spend a lot and cannot control the business’s operational expenses.
Recommended read : In-house Server vs. Cloud Hosting: Understand the Differences
6. Lack of scalability
Business expansion becomes a necessity with higher workloads. Instances might happen when companies need to hire new accountants and add extra storage space for a specific period of time. Using the conventional QuickBooks Desktop software restricts you from expanding your business due to the following reasons:
- You need to invest in IT resources like additional storage device, RAM, etc.
- Buy additional QuickBooks Desktop licenses for different users
These challenges get amplified during the tax season as the intensifying barrage and volume of work gets increased in parallel. Accounting firms have to deal with more workloads while with limited resources. QuickBooks hosting addresses many of these challenges – it provides foundational support to financial processes, enabling accounts teams to scale workloads.
How Cloud-Hosted QuickBooks Surmounts the Aforementioned Challenges?
1. Remote Access:
Many accounting firms struggled hard to stay profitable when the COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc in the USA. Since the outburst of the pandemic, many small businesses were forced to close down because of the inability to access accounting data remotely.
The ability to view their QuickBooks data from any location, at any time, is possible through QuickBooks hosting, nevertheless, for accountants and accounting organizations. Additionally, it is convenient to use your preferred device, such as an iPad, laptop, or smartphone. In this way, you can ensure business continuity and safely continue operations without being physically present in the office.
2. Seamless Collaboration:
It is undoubtedly a fact that teamwork brings good results. While using QuickBooks Desktop, you need to send the same file back and forth via email, which often creates confusion. It is because you make multiple versions of the same file, increasing the chances of errors.
QuickBooks cloud hosting allows all the stakeholders from different geographies to access the accounting data simultaneously. Real-time visibility of changes enables team members to communicate efficiently, removing the hassle caused by different file versions.
3. 24×7 IT Support:
Technological solutions may require IT support at any time of the day. Factors like hardware issues, natural calamities, etc., can often lead to downtime, impacting business continuity. You get round-the-clock IT support for all your hosted QuickBooks-related queries and concerns if you avail of services from a reliable QuickBooks hosting provider.
Multiple communication modes like phone, chat, email, etc., give you an excellent opportunity to seek instant help from the customer service department of your cloud provider.
4. Data Security:
Keeping the security of data is one of the critical mottos of businesses. A single instance of a data breach can have a terrible impact on their market reputation, making it challenging to attract new customers. QB cloud hosting eliminates this risk quite effectively. Reputed QuickBooks hosting providers offer a foolproof solution for data theft by deploying advanced security mechanisms such as:
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPs)
- Role-Based Access
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Bank-level data encryption
- Antivirus and Antimalware
- Multi-Level Firewall
The cost-efficiency of QuickBooks hosting is another driving force that makes it an ideal solution for every business. Irrespective of their size, companies always aim to cut costs. However, they need to spend a lot of money on physical space if they install QuickBooks on local machines. Additionally, they must invest in the IT infrastructure and maintain it regularly.
By switching to cloud-hosted QuickBooks, you may introduce much-needed cost-efficiency and improve resource usage inside the organization. Managing QuickBooks on the cloud is comparatively more manageable than the conventional in-house IT installations.
You don’t need to spend much money on QB cloud hosting setup. All you have to do is pay a monthly/yearly subscription fee, and they will take care of the rest. QuickBooks Hosting services entail having round-the-clock access to the accounting program. As a result, your staff may effectively work from anywhere, saving considerable money on travel expenses.
6. High Uptime:
Availing of QuickBooks hosting services from a reputed service provider ensures high server uptime. As a result, you can access your QB files whenever required, as there will be significantly low chances of the server being down. Leading hosting providers equip themselves with high-performance computing servers that ensure top-notch data security, data availability, consistency of speed, and high SLA-backed server uptime of 99.999%.
QuickBooks Desktop cloud hosting services makes business expansion during heavy workloads an effective solution. Whether you add more users to your QB account or increase your IT resources like RAM, storage, etc., QB cloud hosting services cover them all.
You can customize your requirements by contacting the service provider. Once you meet the needs and your workload minimizes, reach out to the service provider to reset the configurations again. This way, you can ensure payment for only specific services.
How is QuickBooks Cloud Hosting Better than QuickBooks On-Premise?
Whether it is about accessibility, security, collaboration, or integration, QuickBooks hosting is effective compared to the on-premise solution. The below-mentioned pictorial representation highlights the key factors that make cloud-based QuickBooks a leading choice among many businesses:
Modes of QuickBooks Hosting
There are three modes of hosting QuickBooks Desktop. These are:
1. Dedicated Hosting: This mode of hosting QuickBooks includes connecting different users directly to the QuickBooks-installed server. The QuickBooks Hosting Mode on the server is set to “Enabled” and “Disabled” on workstations.
2. Peer-to-Peer Hosting: In this type of hosting, the host is a single workstation that contains all of the company files. Here, QuickBooks is installed on the server and all the workstations, but only the host has QuickBooks Hosting mode enabled. Rest of the workstations should have the hosting mode disabled. Access permissions for QuickBooks files are set by the host computer.
3. Alternate Hosting: One user (primary user) is connected to the hosting server via the internet. Accessing hosted QuickBooks requires other users on the network to communicate with the primary user. You must install QuickBooks on all the workstations and the host. Like the dedicated and peer-to-peer hosting modes, the QuickBooks Hosting Mode is “Enabled” on the host and “Disabled” on workstations.
Which QuickBooks Versions Support Hosting?
Reputed hosting providers host all versions of QuickBooks Desktop, including QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and Accountant. Different country-specific editions released from QuickBooks 2005 through QuickBooks 2022 are compatible with the server setups of hosting providers.
A Few Considerations Before Moving QuickBooks to the Cloud
1. Analyze your requirements
By now, you must have realized that QuickBooks hosting can revolutionize your accounting experience. However, it might be unclear how it will meet your needs. Do you intend to contract out any of your company’s operations or do you want to work remotely?
Before opting for QuickBooks cloud hosting services, you should ask yourself the following two questions:
- What is the organization’s budgetary allotment?
- Would it be wiser to try things out first on a small scale?
In addition to the above, you must examine the business’s current financial status to see if it can support your change.
2. Decide on a deployment strategy
You can host QuickBooks Desktop either yourself or hire a QuickBooks hosting provider. While the former approach calls for higher capital expenditure, the latter is straightforward with minimal expense. You must decide whether to set up the cloud infrastructure or use a hosting provider.
3. Use your pre-existing IT infrastructure
Different business owners view their IT infrastructure with QuickBooks from various angles. On the one hand, some fear that their current resources may become obsolete, and others prefer to overhaul their entire IT infrastructure.
Discuss with your QuickBooks hosting provider about using your existing IT resources. Check if you can set up your current office workstations as end devices.
4. Look at the data center build
Experiencing a seamless QB cloud hosting service depends on how well a data center is built. To ensure this, Intuit has specified a number of key characteristics for the data centers, such as:
- They have to be tier 3 or higher
- They must be redundant with N+1 components available
- Several sources of power supply, for instance, to allow the data center run continuously
Therefore, check if your QuickBooks cloud hosting provider offers these capabilities before hosting QuickBooks.
5. Ensure high SLA-backed server uptime
A high SLA-backed server uptime is imperative for experiencing a seamless QuickBooks hosting service. It’s the pillar behind your cloud-hosted QuickBooks solution. Look for QuickBooks hosting services from a leading and reputed hosting provider that offers at least 99.999% uptime.
6. Know your data security responsibilities
Reputed QuickBooks hosting providers offer advanced security features to their customers; however, you must play a crucial role in maintaining the security of your mission-critical data.
Discussing your data security responsibilities with the QuickBooks cloud hosting provider gives you a clear picture of how to contribute to overall data security. This way, you can ensure complete protection of your QuickBooks data and secure it from a potential data breach.
7. Adhere to compliances
Following business practices within an organization is essential. To ensure this, you must adhere to regulatory compliances, which helps you achieve the following:
- High-quality standards
- Improve operational efficiency
- Build a positive market reputation
Whether a CPA or an accounting firm, you must follow regulatory compliances like SOX, GAAP, SEC, etc. Before migrating to QuickBooks Desktop cloud hosting services, ensure that you adhere to these compliances and avail hosting services from only those providers that adhere to cloud compliances like SSAE-16, ISO/IEC 19941:2017, ISO/IEC 19086-1:2016, etc.
8. Request for demo sessions
If you have been using the Desktop version of QuickBooks, migrating to cloud-based QuickBooks may be challenging. Go for a demo session of cloud-hosted QuickBooks and understand how it will help your daily operations. If you have any queries, ask your hosting provider and ensure you are comfortable with the solution.
9. Ensure a robust disaster recovery mechanism
Leading QuickBooks hosting providers takes regular backup of their customer’s data on multiple servers. The servers are stored across various geographical locations so that data recovery becomes easy in case of natural disasters.
Before opting for hosted QuickBooks services, ensure that the service provider has multiple servers across multiple geographical regions. Secondly, ask what’s the data recovery time and backup frequency. A quick data recovery time and frequent backup ensure faster recovery of your QB data.
10. Ensure good internet connectivity
Using QuickBooks hosting services requires you to have robust internet connectivity. Before opting for cloud for QuickBooks, contact your ISP, convey your needs, and ensure that they provide you with the required bandwidth.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a QuickBooks Hosting Provider
Choosing a QuickBooks hosting provider shouldn’t be hasty. A lack of in-depth research about the offerings of your hosting provider could result in dire consequences, impacting business continuity.
Below mentioned are some of the critical factors to consider before choosing QuickBooks hosting services:
1. Data security: Data security is paramount, especially for your clients’ financial data. According to recent reports, 79% of companies have experienced at least one cloud data breach in the past 18 months. Another report by IBM states, “For the 12th year in a row, the United States holds the title for the highest data breach cost, USD 5.09 million more than the global average.”
So, before choosing a QuickBooks hosting service, ensure that the hosting provider has robust data security mechanisms. Additionally, check if they will take care of all the security updates for the cloud-hosted QuickBooks.
2. Uptime: You can’t access QuickBooks files if the hosting solution is down even for a second. Ensuring the continued productivity of your business requires you to have round-the-clock data access. It requires your QuickBooks hosting provider to maintain high server uptime.
Before choosing a cloud provider, ensure that they guarantee high SLA-backed server uptime so that you can access all your QB files whenever needed. In addition, check if the hosting provider has robust mechanisms to mitigate downtimes.
3. Pricing structure: Many cloud hosting providers offer lucrative deals for their QuickBooks hosting services. Instead of falling for them, analyze what you pay for. Ask your hosting provider to share an itemized cost estimation for cloud-based QuickBooks and check for hidden charges. You can use the assessment to compare what other hosting providers charge for similar services.
Some QuickBooks hosting providers have both monthly and yearly pricing structures. Depending on your budgetary allocation, you can select one and sign up for a hosted QuickBooks account.
4. Customer support: Maintaining the smooth functioning of businesses with cloud-hosted QuickBooks demand round-the-clock customer support. Before signing up with a QuickBooks hosting provider, ensure that you get round-the-clock customer support via multiple channels like phone, chat, email, etc.
5. QuickBooks hosting trial: To ensure a seamless QB hosting experience, your hosting provider’s commitments and service quality must match. You can ask the potential service provider to provide a free trial of their QuickBooks cloud hosting services. During this trial period, you will get a fair view of how well your cloud-hosted QuickBooks experience was. This way, you can decide whether or not to continue with the hosting provider.
Questions You Can Ask Your QuickBooks Hosting Provider
Ensuring smooth migration to QuickBooks hosting is paramount for businesses using on-premise QB solutions. You must choose a QB hosting provider that can help your company grow. Assess them by asking as many questions, such as:
- Who can access my tax data and files?
- What will happen if I lose access to my data?
- Is there a scalable QuickBooks Hosting solution to meet my changing business needs?
- How much experience do you have in providing QuickBooks Hosting services?
- Can I make changes in the QuickBooks Hosting service plans whenever I need them?
- How about your data backup plans, and do you provide additional backup?
- Where are you located, and is your data center geographically located?
- Can I be assured of enough security for my QuickBooks solution and data?
- Do you provide round-the-clock support to your customers?
- Do you have any offers if I opt for your service? If yes, what are they?
How to Safely and Successfully Migrate QuickBooks to the cloud?
There are a few effective ways by which you can ensure that your QuickBooks cloud migration goes smoothly. Here’s a look at them:
- Ensure you know how much data you’ll be migrating from the on-premise version of QuickBooks.
- Create a backup of the on-premise version before you migrate. If there’s an error, it will be easier for the QuickBooks cloud hosting provider to troubleshoot.
- Consider hiring a reputed QuickBooks Hosting provider to help with the migration process. They’re worth their weight in gold to keep things running smoothly and quickly.
- Choose a hosting provider based on your needs: Discuss your requirements with the service provider upfront.
Once you fixate on a QuickBooks hosting provider, you can start migrating the QB files to the cloud. After successfully moving the files, log into your QB account to access them using your preferred device.
You can follow the below-mentioned steps to migrate your QuickBooks files to the cloud:
- Back up your QuickBooks files and save them on your local computer.
- Right-click on your mouse and click on the “Copy” option.
- Open QuickBooks in your Cloud Desktop.
- Restore the backup and select “Next”.
- Select “Local Backup” and click “Next”.
- Navigate to Computer > Cloud Drive C:\ > Cloud Files
- Right-click on your mouse and paste the files you’ve copied earlier.
You can follow these steps to perform manual migration of QB files. However, availing of QuickBooks hosting services from a reliable hosting provider can help you avoid long-range problems associated with it. Wondering Why? It is because data migration is a part of your QuickBooks hosting service. All you need to do is pay for the hosting services under the monthly/yearly-based subscription model.
How Secure is QuickBooks Hosting?
QuickBooks hosting is absolutely secure. However, the cloud hosting provider plays a crucial role in ensuring this. Most service providers offer a secure virtual private server where you can store your QB data and work on the accounting software. However, not every service provider offers the level of service that you may expect.
Before choosing a QuickBooks Hosting provider, look at the reviews for each of them. Additionally, enquire about the type of encryption they use to secure data. Don’t host your application with them if you find anything that doesn’t meet your expectations.
Why Choose ACE for QuickBooks Cloud Hosting?
The emergence of cloud technology has brought forward a plethora of cloud service providers. Every cloud provider aims to lift their game by consistently augmenting their products and services due to the competitive nature of the business. Additionally, keeping up with the newest technology and changing their hosting services to reflect it has become imperative for every cloud provider.
Selecting a cloud service provider for your company may seem challenging. However, a few crucial considerations might assist you in choosing the best. One of these advantages is the cloud provider’s capability to guarantee the safety of your data during a disruptive event by implementing business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Ace Cloud Hosting is an award-winning Intuit-authorized cloud service provider. We offer dedicated support for resolving your issues and keeping your process available throughout the year by guaranteeing a high uptime value. We deploy advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPs), 256-bit data encryption, and more to offer our valued customers a secure environment.
In addition to the above, round-the-clock support from our experts helps the customers with all their issues and makes swift resolution possible. Last but not least, we offer free QuickBooks hosting trial to our potential customers so that they gain hands-on experience in hosting the accounting application on the cloud.