The modern accounting firms have found an advanced alternative to the age-old legacy software in cloud technology. Cloud offers them the agility and performance that was never experienced prior to it.
QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop, one of the most preferred software for midsize to large business houses, is also being hosted on the cloud extensively to achieve optimum workflow and collaboration.
However, there are some critical considerations that should be thought of before hosting QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud. Cloud migration should not be a hasty process; it should a well-analyzed process with the involvement of skilled IT professionals.
Here are some of the risks, challenges, and best practices involving QuickBooks Enterprise hosting migration, which will help you in a smooth transition to the cloud.
When it comes to QuickBooks Enterprise on cloud, the security of accounting data is the one aspect on which no business can afford to compromise. This is because of the exponential increase in the number of data breaches and cyberattacks over the past few years.
Migrating your accounting data to the cloud can be a tricky affair as you are never sure if you can entrust a third-party provider. If the cloud provider is not compliant with the security best practices and lacks the infra to provide protection to your QuickBooks data, it can be an open invitation to the nefarious attackers.
Hence, while migrating to QuickBooks hosting, it is the responsibility of every business owner to ask the service provider about their security practices and methods.
Data loss can be the result of various external as well as internal events. While the external events can be various cyber threats, unauthorized access, or natural events, the internal factors can be anything from a hardware crash to human error. Any negligence on the part of the provider can cause catastrophic to the business, resulting in you losing important clients.
Since the QuickBooks Enterprise and data is hosted by the cloud provider, who is also responsible for hardware maintenance and monitoring, you cannot do much in the case of a disruptive event.
A solution to this is a thorough analysis of the data centers in which your data will be hosted. You should also check if the provider has provisions to safeguard the accounting process in the case of a disaster.
The ability to work remotely on QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop comes with a plethora of perks for the accountants. You can keep track of your clients’ finances even while traveling or on vacation.
However, as your entire accounting process is hosted on remote servers, the determinant that comes into play is latency. Latency is the lag that you experience while accessing any software through the Internet. It affects the performance of QuickBooks Enterprise drastically and can be extremely frustrating.
To achieve the best performance, the cloud provider should have data centers close to your location. Moreover, the hosting provider that deploys High-Performance Computing (HPC) should also be preferred.
Uptime defines the total period during which the applications and data are accessible to the user. It is imperative for you to get the maximum possible uptime for your accounting process.
However, uptime can be an issue while hosting your QuickBooks Enterprise desktop on the cloud if you opt for an incompetent cloud provider. As the transmission of data between the data centers where the accounting process is hosted and your location contains various network points, providing the maximum uptime needs advanced infrastructure and skilled professionals.
A cloud hosting provider with a redundant network setup can offer seamless connectivity. Moreover, you should also ask the provider if they guarantee a minimum uptime value in the SLA.
Opting for cloud hosting is a major decision for any company, especially when the critical accounting data and applications are concerned. In cloud hosting, vendor lock-in points to the situation where you are not able to switch to a better cloud provider from your existing one.
Vendor lock-in can happen due to multiple reasons –
- Your existing provider does not provide you the support for migrating the data, and you do not have the resources yourself.
- You have signed an agreement with the hosting provider that compels you to avail the cloud services for a fixed period of time.
Choose a cloud hosting provider that does not lure you into a long-term contract, giving you the option to opt-out of their services whenever you are not fully satisfied.
Dependency On Cloud Provider
Cloud hosting eliminates all the costs and hassles related to buying and maintaining on-premise hardware. However, it also makes you dependent on the cloud provider.
As the QuickBooks Enterprise and other supporting applications are hosted on the infrastructure owned by the cloud provider, it is their responsibility to give you the best services and support. If the cloud provider fails to do so, it could lead to a significant loss in your productivity.
Hence, before choosing a cloud provider, you must ask for a trial of their services. Most competent cloud providers offer a free trial for a certain duration so you can get a first-hand experience of working on QuickBooks Enterprise on their cloud.
There are various compliance standards that the hosting provider should adhere to while hosting the applications and data. For instance, to host personal medical information, a hosting provider needs to be HIPAA compliant.
When concerned with accounting, it is recommended that the data center is SOC 2 compliant. It ensures that the cloud provider offers data protection by adhering to all the security standards. Other important certifications include SSAE-16 (Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements).
Cloud hosting does not only mean renting a virtual server on the cloud to install your software and store your data. The entire cloud environment should be compatible to host the business-specific applications.
For QuickBooks Enterprise hosting, the cloud provider should be able to provide a platform build for the accounting process. It means that the infrastructure, hardware setup, and security protocols should all be in accordance with the requirements of the accounting industry.
You can look for a provider that offers you cloud accounting solutions built specifically for accounting professionals. Some cloud providers also offer cloud solutions according to the scale of the business – startups, SMBs, or enterprises.
Here are some steps you should follow before hosting QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud.
1. Accounting Requirements
Before moving to the cloud, you should know the requirements of your accounting process. It might include the number of users, server resources, the number of QuickBooks add-ons, or other applications you need along with QB Enterprise, among others. It is important that these requirements are considered keeping in mind future requirements as well.
2. Analyze Your Current IT
You should analyze your current IT setup on which the QuickBooks Enterprise software is installed. Once you highlight the loopholes on your current setup, it will be easier to determine the factors to choose the cloud hosting provider.
3. Migrate The Less Imp Data First
It is a good practice to migrate the less important data first. Once you decide to host your entire accounting process on the cloud, try to migrate the data in segments with the less important data migrated first. It will give you more time to analyze the hosting services while minimizing the risk of data loss.
4. Choosing The Cloud Provider
Once you have gathered all the necessary information to host your QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud, it is time to choose the most suitable cloud service provider. Some of the factors that can help you with that are –
- 999 percent uptime
- Multi-redundant hardware infrastructure
- Advanced security protocols
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Round-the-clock Customer Support
- Customizable pricing plans
- Multiple data center locations
5. Cloud Training
Cloud hosting might be a fairly new concept for many accountants working in your firm. Although working on cloud is not complex, it is still recommended that you conduct cloud training sessions for the employees before they start accessing their QuickBooks Enterprise.
Moreover, training on cloud security and best practices should also be provided to avoid data leak due to human negligence. These will help the accountants in transitioning to the cloud smoothly.
The process of QuickBooks Enterprise Hosting Migration should be handled with the utmost care. Although it is not a complex process, a show of negligence on the part of your in-house team can be the cause of data loss. Hence, it is recommended to take the assistance of the hosting provider for cloud migration.
Want to move your QuickBooks Enterprise Solution on the cloud? Get in touch with a Solutions Consultant at 855-223-4887.
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