Many tax firms have stepped up and embraced software hosting in the past few years. By doing so, they can reach higher productivity levels and work more efficiently.
You, too, can host your tax software and enjoy remote accessibility, better security features, and much more.
However, with so many hosting providers available, you can get confused. But don’t worry! We have compiled 9 questions that you must ask your tax software hosting provider. This will give you a clear idea and help you choose the right provider.
1. Enquire about a demo session
You should ask if the cloud hosting provider offers a demo session or not. A demo session helps you and your employees to accustom themselves to the hosting environment. It will make them aware of the new interface they will be experiencing.
Furthermore, you can ask questions and solve your queries, if any. So, before investing in tax software hosting, ask whether the provider will offer a free trial or demo session. Most service providers do, with some offering even up to 10-15 days free trial.
2. Review the security features
As a tax professional, you have to deal with your client’s financial data that are prone to tax scams. Any loss to it can lead to severe consequences. Before choosing a hosted tax solution, review its security framework.
A seasoned hosting provider has the necessary expertise and deploys modern security measures. They offer multi-level security systems with tools like network filters, Intrusion and Detection and Prevention Systems, and anti-malware software. Some of them also provide AI surveillance for intelligent threat detection.
3. Look at the build of the data centers
The end-user experience of any IT solution depends on its build (think of the performance difference between an Intel i3 and Intel i7 processor). Similarly, data centers play a significant role in your hosting performance.
Discuss with your hosting provider the type of components they deploy. Reputable providers use high-performance servers. This enhances the overall performance and gives you a lag-free user experience.
4. Have a look at the pricing models
A hosted provider charges a monthly subscription fee depending upon the number of users. However, there may be extra service costs that you may not be aware of. So, it would help if you discussed everything when you go for tax software hosting.
Ask your hosting provider what services they cover under the current price banner. Also, inquire about any extra charges for other services.
5. Expertise in disaster recovery
Depending on local storage for saving your data is risky. It can be easily damaged due to a simple water spill or a natural disaster. Storing your data on the cloud may protect it from local damage. What if the data center itself is destroyed?
So before dedicating yourself to tax software hosting, ask your hosting provider about what sort of disaster management policies they have. Also, know about data centers and how effective they are in protecting your data.
6. Flexible IT scalability
As a tax professional, you will require more RAM and storage to process data sets during tax season. Also, the entire IT responsibility is with your hosting provider in a hosted solution.
You cannot add these necessary resources yourself and must contact them for it. So, before investing in tax software hosting, make sure they have a rapid scalability response and process your request quickly.
7. Quality of customer support
Tax software hosting offers an easy-to-use UI similar to your local software experience. However, sometimes you might experience downtime or face any other IT issues for which quick service assistance is necessary.
So, before selecting a hosted tax solution, question their reachability. For optimum experience, they should be available round the clock. It would help if you also got an option to communicate through phone, chat, and email for contacting them.
8. Availability of data
Downtime is an unavoidable part of any IT setup. Prolonged downtime may hinder your organizational commitments, leading to a bad market image.
So, before you host your tax software on the cloud, discuss uptime availability with your hosting provider. The uptime should be at least 99.999% per year. Some providers also offer 99.999% SLA-backed uptime availability (less than 6 minutes per year downtime). This means that your business is up and running for the entire year.
9. Frequency of data backup
A well-established disaster recovery plan is necessary for protecting your data. Additionally, it is equally important to back up the data regularly. Your hosting provider is ultimately responsible for backing up your data if you are hosting your tax software on the cloud. You should ask them about backing frequency.
Do they do it daily, weekly, or monthly? Some hosting providers take back up of the data in a shorter interval, backing up your data in an hourly cycle.
Finding the right hosting provider is a task of patience. You require proper research and should always get a demo session. Also, the tax software hosting provider should understand your business requirements and offer reliable services.
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