10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a QuickBooks Hosting Provider
QuickBooks Desktop is among the most preferred accounting solutions available for small and mid-sized businesses. However, installing it on the local system poses some limitations to its functioning. Consequently, companies all over the world have started looking at cloud solutions to host their QuickBooks software.
There is a plethora of QuickBooks hosting providers in the market that offer a wide range of services for the customers. Hence, it can be quite challenging to choose the best provider for your business.
Questions you must ask the QuickBooks hosting providers to choose the right one
1. Are you an Intuit Authorized Commercial Host?
Inuit offers a hosting program for the QuickBooks hosting providers under which it selects the best providers as per their level of services. The ones chosen by Intuit are known as Intuit Authorized Host (Commercial or Standard) after being thoroughly screened.
Inquire if the QuickBooks hosting provider is Intuit authorized. This will narrow your search to a great extent as, now, you have to look for an Intuit hosting partner only. Moreover, you can rest assured of getting the best-in-class QuickBooks hosting environment.
2. What security practices do you follow?
Security is of great importance when a QuickBooks company file is concerned. It includes a company’s private and confidential information that should not be compromised in any way. While selecting a QuickBooks hosting provider, data security should be your top priority. Selecting affordable cloud services in place of a secure one can cost you dearly in the long run.
Ask the QuickBooks hosting provider about the security safeguards in place. The provider should deploy a multi-level (physical, network, admin, and endpoint) security environment for your QuickBooks software and data. Some of the safeguards include data encryption, multi-factor authentication, Intrusion Detection & Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS), DDoS protection, access controls, among others.
3. Do you offer backup services?
Data backup has become a common requirement for businesses due to the criticality of the accounting data. Hence, most QuickBooks cloud hosting providers also offer data backup as a part of their services. However, the frequency, type, and duration of backup vary from provider to provider.
Ask the provider about the period for which they are willing to store your data, and if the duration can be extended upon request. Also, prefer the QuickBooks hosting provider that takes the data backup daily and not weekly. Remember that the good providers offer automated backup solutions, so you do not have to invest your time in manual backups.
4. How much experience do you have in the QuickBooks hosting domain?
There is a plethora of hosting providers in the market. However, only a few have expertise in QuickBooks hosting services. It is always a good move to choose an experienced QuickBooks Hosting provider as they are well-aware of the common as well as typical issues faced by the existing customers. However, it does not mean that a novice hosting provider cannot offer good services; it’s just that there is no substitute for experience.
Ask the provider about the number of years they have been offering QuickBooks hosting to customers. Some providers will tell you their experience in the cloud services domain – ask them explicitly about QuickBooks cloud hosting services.
5. What is your contingency plan in the case of a disaster?
One of the primary concerns for professionals when thinking about cloud migration is the continuity of their business processes. You should know about the procedures and protocols that the QuickBooks hosting providers follow in the event of a disruptive event.
Ask the hosting provider whether they deploy a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan. Under the disaster recovery procedure, your accounting process is replicated on multiple data centers in different locations. When a disaster strikes, your access is shifted from the affected data center to the unaffected one.
6. What up-time do you guarantee, and what do you do to ensure it?
Up-time is the total time in the entire year that the cloud services will be made available to you by the provider. Every QuickBooks hosting provider guarantees an up-time to the customers. However, there are some factors that you should check while inquiring about the up-time.
Ask the hosted QuickBooks provider if the guaranteed up-time is a part of their SLA (Service Level Agreement). The SLA is a document that includes all the terms and conditions of the hosting services, such as level of support. Moreover, you should also inquire about the infrastructure deployed to ensure the up-time value.
7. What about your customer support?
After migrating QuickBooks to cloud, all the issues you face are the responsibility of the cloud provider. Hence, it imperative that you choose the QuickBooks hosting provider with an efficient customer support system.
The best QuickBooks hosting providers in the market offer round-the-clock support to the customers. Ask the provider whether they are available 24/7/365 to cater to your issues. Check whether the provider is available on multiple platforms, such as call, chat, or email. Moreover, you should check that there are no hidden charges for the support, and it is a part of the services.
8. Where are your data center locations?
A data center is a facility that houses the cloud infrastructure in which your QuickBooks and data are hosted. The location of the data center is an important aspect while choosing a cloud service provider.
While making the decision, inquire about the location of their data centers. It is recommended that one of the data center locations should be close to your area of functioning to avoid latency. Moreover, the data centers should also not be located in a disaster-prone area.
9. What is your pricing policy?
One of the perks of switching to a QuickBooks hosting provider is the flexible pricing plans. The providers offer a pay-as-you-go plan, wherein you can pay only for the service you use on a monthly or hourly basis.
Ask the QuickBooks hosting provider about their pricing plans. Check what all services are included in the plans, and if there are any hidden charges. Also, see if the provider offers special offers and discounts.
10. What applications do you support apart from QuickBooks?
Every business requires a wide range of applications to function in tandem with QuickBooks software. The applications can be anything from e-commerce store to CRM. However, a QuickBooks hosting provider might not host all your preferred applications.
Inquire whether the QuickBooks hosting provider is capable of hosting all your business-specific applications. The provider should also be able to adapt to the changing resource requirements of the business and provide you with a customizable cloud solution.
This is an excerpt from the Sync with Connex blog originally published September 11, 2020 by Dora Farkas with contributions by Sharad Acharya. You can read the original post in it's entirety here.