10 Cloud Security Questions You Should Ask Your QuickBooks Host

QuickBooks has been the premier software for the accounting industry for a couple of decades now. However, since its inception, there have been various advancements in the technological platforms to install it – from the conventional computer systems in the office to cloud computing. 

Diverse industries from around the world have shown a keen interest in the adoption of cloud for hosting their QuickBooks, giving them extended features like remote access, enhanced collaboration, and real-time visibility into data.  

However, while choosing a QuickBooks hosting provider, one aspect that has always been a concern is data security. Since the accounting department deals with critical financial information of the company, they expect the provider to be fully equipped with the latest security standards and technology.

Here are ten essential questions you must ask your QuickBooks hosting provider to ensure complete QuickBooks security.

  1. Is your cloud complaint with the latest security standards?

There are various security standards and data compliances that the QuickBooks hosting providers need to adhere to. It ensures the customers that their data is secure with the provider and the confidentiality is intact. Check if the QuickBooks provider is compliant with regulations like GDPR.

  1. Do you implement access controls for the QuickBooks files?

Access control policies helps prevent unauthorized access to the data. The admin can set roles for different users in an organization and set file permissions according to them. The file permissions can be anything from view, edit, or comment. Enquire if the QuickBooks hosting provider implements access policies and do you get control over it. 

  1. Will you be responsible for Patch management?

The Operating System is updated with security patches regularly to fix the security vulnerabilities and encounter the new threats. The QuickBooks hosting provider should take responsibility for patch management to ensure that you get the latest OS version. Moreover, ensure that the patches are updated in the backend without you experiencing any downtime. 

  1. What practices are followed to mitigate DDoS attacks? 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack targets a network by sending millions of fake requests so that the network gets overloaded, leading to downtime. The hosted QuickBooks providers should provide protection against DDoS attacks by ensuring a 24/7 network monitoring of all the incident data.

Any anomaly in the traffic patterns should be identified automatically and notified instantly to the support team. In case of an attack, dirty traffic should be filtered and blocked immediately. 

  1. Where do the cloud servers reside?

As cloud service providers offer remote access to QuickBooks, the data center they choose to host your software and data can be in any location. However, it is essential for you to enquire about the data center locations to get clear visibility into the security of your accounting process. Ensure that the data centers are not in a disaster-prone area. Also, it is preferable that the data center is in US as other countries may not have similar data protection laws. 

  1. What data backup options do you offer?

The accounting sector handles some of the most critical client information they cannot afford to lose. Hence, when it comes to security, data backup is one of the essential attributes to look into a QuickBooks hosting provider.

Ask about the backup policies of the provider, including the retention time, backup frequency, and recovery time. Also, check from the provider if the backup service is automated.  

  1. What are the sign-in options available to access the cloud?

No matter how robust cloud security might be, you still need to access them from end-point devices. Hence, it is essential that the hosted QuickBooks provider offers multi-factor authentication to login to the cloud. 

This ensures that even if your password gets compromised, no unauthorized personnel can access your accounting process.

  1. What encryption standards are a part of your cloud setup?

When accessing QuickBooks remotely, it is essential to prevent it from threats like man in the middle attacks. Data encryption ensures that hackers are not able to extract the data in transit for their malicious purposes. 

It is recommended that you make sure whether the QuickBooks provider implements the latest data encryption standards like TLS 1.3 during transit. The good providers, however, implement encryption at the server level as well. 

  1. Do you offer Disaster Recovery?

The good QuickBooks hosting providers deploy a redundant infrastructure in the data centers. However, the best ones have a plan in order to ensure data protection during a disruptive event, such as earthquakes or floods. 

Ask for the QB provider’s disaster recovery plan. The data should be replicated in diverse geographical locations so you can continue working even during a disaster. Also, check the time that provider takes to shift your access from one location to another.  

  1. What will happen to the data if we choose to opt out of your services?

Whenever choosing a hosting provider, planning an exit strategy is essential to ensure smooth migration back to on-premise infra. Ask the provider what procedures they follow to hand over the data after deciding to opt out of their services. Also, ensure that no data is retained from their end after the exit.    

Final Note

Getting answers to all these questions will make sure that the provider’s security architecture is robust enough to store your data. Once you are convinced with the security of the provider, you can look into other features to decide if the QuickBooks provider is good for you.

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QuickBooks Enterprise With Hosting- What Should You Expect

QuickBooks Enterprise, by Intuit, is a robust accounting solution that provides a comprehensive set of features to its users. Some of them include:

  • Advanced Inventory that allows you to manage orders from a centralized dashboard
  • Calculate payroll with the help of QuickBooks Assisted Payroll Services
  • Customized reporting with built-in templates
  • Automated pricing process

However, it lacks certain properties that can limit its potential to provide better services to your business. 

In order to overcome the shortcomings like limited mobility, or inability to manage a large amount of data, QuickBooks Enterprise can be hosted on the third-party cloud servers.

QuickBooks Enterprise with hosting offers added advantages and functionality to its services. Here are 10 points explaining what all you can expect from hosting QuickBooks Enterprise:

  1. Remote Access

When QuickBooks Enterprise is installed on the local system, it restricts the accessibility of information to a single device. Therefore, even if you need to edit data urgently, you need to travel back to the office to access it.

However, if you host QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud, you can achieve mobility and any time access to the accounting application. Cloud enables remote access to the data and promotes policies like work from home to your employees. It saves the time and effort required to travel back and forth from the office premises for any task.

  1. Multi-user Collaboration

QuickBooks Enterprise is a software that is used for most of the business-related tasks. So, most of the time, different teammates need to access the application simultaneously. It can cause conflicts within the system and disrupt the work process.

QuickBooks Enterprise on cloud helps overcome this issue by providing a multi-user collaboration feature for your business. You and your team can edit, share, and access files at the same time from a common virtual platform. There is no need to wait for other team members to complete their tasks in order to start your part of the job.

  1. Scalable Resources

The business needs are bound to fluctuate with time. Thus, you need a solution that can accommodate the scaling needs of resources to support the company.

With QuickBooks Enterprise hosting, cloud service providers offer the ability to upscale or downscale the resources like the number of users, storage space, RAM, and more as per the requirement. There is no need to invest in heavy infrastructure that will be of no use for most of the year once the busy season is over.

  1. Enhanced Security

Data is prone to security threats and cyber-attacks that can compromise with the confidentiality and integrity of the business. QuickBooks Enterprise on local premises needs high-level security that saves the information from being accessed by an unauthorized authority.

Most of the QuickBooks Enterprise hosting providers protect your data stored in the system. They take necessary measures to safeguard it at the virtual and physical level. Some of the most common standards include:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware system
  • Multiple firewalls
  • Authorization system
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS)
  • 24/7 CCTV surveillance
  • On-premise security personnel
  • Fire-alarms and biometric scanning

Therefore, you don’t need to hire an additional team at the office premises to secure data when you choose to host QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud.

  1. Seamless Integration

QuickBooks Enterprise can integrate with many add-ons that can further enhance its functionality and features. For example- QuickBooks integrates with TSheets for time tracking, with SmartVault for document storage, and with Drake for the tax filing process. 

Hosting the software on-premises with additional add-ons can hamper with its performance due to hardware limitations.

But, if you opt for QuickBooks Enterprise hosting, there will be no such restrictions, and it’ll ensure seamless integration with any number of add-ons on the cloud servers.

  1. Server Availability

The availability of data is crucial for businesses. For some organizations, even a minute of downtime can cost a fortune. With the desktop-based QuickBooks Enterprise application, you need to maintain an infrastructure for all-time availability.

A competent QuickBooks Enterprise hosting provider offers the maximum possible uptime guarantee that is backed up by SLA (Service Level Agreement). It is advised to choose a hosting provider that offers at least a 99.999% uptime guarantee. It ensures the continuity of business with almost no disruptions in the workflow.

  1. Cost-Efficient

Every organization has to find practical solutions to cut down its operational and infrastructure costs. The desktop-based QuickBooks Enterprise requires hardware and software resources to function. Moreover, you also need to invest money to maintain these resources in the long run.

However, hosting QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud cuts down these expenses. It is a duty of the cloud vendor to take care of your requirements. All of the data is stored at the cloud server, so you don’t need to invest in on-premise data servers. 

Also, you can access your information from any internet-connected device. It further promotes the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy that helps cut-down infrastructure expenses of a business.

  1. Automated Backups

Data is a crucial part of any business. But, what if this data is accidentally erased from your system? That might disrupt the workflow.

In order to save the data from such mishaps, QuickBooks Enterprise hosting enables regular backup of the data at server farms. Therefore, even if any accident or theft occurs at the office, you can retrieve all of your information from the center. Many reliable hosting providers also provide Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery (BCDR) options, wherein redundancy of data is achieved by storing information at multiple off-site data centers that are geographically isolated from one another.

  1. Customer Support

While working on QuickBooks Enterprise, there are times when you require technical assistance. Many tasks like import/ export of data, IT-related glitches, version support, and more might occur during the process.

When you host the application on the cloud, the competent service providers make sure to provide you round-the-clock support to assist you in troubleshooting technical issues.

  1. Environment Friendly

In addition to improving business operations, it is also crucial to take care of our environment. The heavy infrastructure we use contributes to increasing carbon footprints.

But, if you adopt QuickBooks Enterprise hosting, it’ll help to implement green computing practices within the system. 

It cuts down the need to deploy most of the hardware resources without compromising with your business’s growth.

Final Note

QuickBooks Enterprise with hosting is a one-stop solution that provides a competitive edge to businesses with mobility and flexibility benefits. The features mentioned above conclude most of what you can expect with this combination.

Author-Bio: Sharad Acharya is a technical writer at Ace Cloud Hosting. He loves to research the latest technologies and has written articles on the cloud, virtualization, and security. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.  

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7 Ways By Which Small Businesses Can Take Advantage Of QuickBooks Desktop Hosting

Small businesses play one of the very essential roles in the US economy. They drive the job sectors, business innovation, and competition in the market. A recent report from SBA.gov has suggested that small businesses contribute 44% of US GDP.

Accounting plays a major part and helps these businesses to stay in the cut-throat competition. Managing it can prove crucial in the long run and will be instrumental in shaping the enterprises’ revenue and growth. However, accounting management is majorly based on the type of software that small and medium based enterprises use and implement in their daily work ethic. 

QuickBooks is one of the popular accounting software that small and medium enterprises use to manage their accounting activities and can be installed on office desktops. However, the local IT setup poses some restrictions on the accountants.

A better alternative is QuickBooks Desktop hosting. It is defined as the installation of QuickBooks versions by cloud service providers on their public or managed servers. It enables businesses to get access to any installed version of QuickBooks quite easily through any internet-connected device. 

So, here are some benefits of QuickBooks desktop hosting for small businesses – 

1. Reduced Operational and Upfront Costs

Using hardware resources to work on QuickBooks Desktop and store data files can put the financial planning of a small and medium business in jeopardy. Businesses may have to cut their budgets for core processes in order to accommodate the finances for hardware resources.

Opting for a cloud provider to host QuickBooks can be of significant advantage for small and medium businesses as the cloud provider installs your QuickBooks in their cloud environment. The provider also takes care of everything, from server maintenance to running costs. Also, with the pay-as-you-go model, the businesses have to pay only for the resources that they are using. 

Thus, QuickBooks desktop hosting saves a huge chunk of expenses for them.

2. Team Collaboration

When any version of QuickBooks Desktop like Enterprise, Pro, Payroll, or Premier is hosted on the cloud, it facilitates easy document sharing, both among the employees and their clients. This brings both the business and the employees on the same page and minimizes confusion among them by ensuring that there are no multiple versions of the same files. 

It even helps businesses maintain a healthy relationship with their clients, and bring in an energetic work culture for its employees. 

3. Data Security

With cybercrimes like ransomware, data breaches, malware, and phishing on the rise in recent years, small and medium businesses need impeccable security to maintain and safeguard their data from such problems. Hosting the QuickBooks Desktop on the cloud provides a business with the required security. 

As the cloud service providers deploy enhanced security measures like two-factor authentication, data encryption, Intrusion Detection and Prevention, user access control on their cloud, it majorly keeps data breaches, hackers, and cyber threats at a safe distance.   

4. Remote Accessibility

Desktop-installed accounting software can keep employees restricted to their systems. Even a lot of effort cannot increase business productivity, limiting the chances of growth. When a version of QuickBooks Desktop is hosted on the cloud, the user can easily access the data files from any location, with just an internet-connected device like tablets, personal laptops, or even mobile phones. 

It ensures that the user does not need to be in the office while accessing the data files in case of emergency work and implement changes in files irrespective of the location he/she is currently in.  

5.Third-Party Integrations 

When a version of QuickBooks Desktop is hosted on the cloud, third-party integrations can be easily implemented. Software like TSheets or Bill.com that are not part of QuickBooks can be seamlessly integrated when hosted on the cloud. 

Thus, the cloud solution providers help a small and medium enterprise to scale up both their accounting process and business in tandem. 

6. Disaster Recovery 

A major disadvantage of using local on-premise resources for QuickBooks is that in case of a disaster, the data loss is inevitable. But, when the same QuickBooks is hosted on the cloud, that data is safe from any human-made or natural disaster. 

The cloud service providers provide an automated backup of the data in multiple data center locations. It ensures that the data, if lost, can be easily retrieved through this backup, and even in the case of a disaster, the functionality of QuickBooks Desktop is not hampered at all. 

7. Accounting Made Easy

If the accountants working in a small and medium enterprise are habitual with the user interface of QuickBooks, then hosting it will not affect their productivity at all as the user interface remains the same. 

In addition to it, QuickBooks desktop hosting facilitates a paperless accounting environment where all the data files are stored digitally. Specific work like sales tax filing, electronic tax return filing, and inventory management can be done easily without the unwanted use of papers. It actually saves expenses and also helps the firm to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment. 

Final Note

Opting for QuickBooks Desktop Hosting solution can help these businesses be one step ahead of their competitors. QuickBooks desktop hosting solutions can provide enhanced features to take a bigger and better look at their companies, helping them to evolve financially, personally, and geographically. 

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