Intuit Gets Storm Warning

As my friend Brian Tankersley, CPA, put it, “There's a thunderstorm in the cloud.”

Another outage hits Intuit programs.

Intuit is to small business management and bookkeeping software as Microsoft is to documents and spreadsheets. In other words, millions of small businesses in the U.S. and around the world rely on Intuit’s programs to get their work done. (See our blog posts about the Intuit downtime issues at www.cpatechviews.com)

If the name Intuit doesn’t ring an immediate bell, how about QuickBooks? Just the most-used small biz accounting program in the world. And Intuit’s Online Payroll. And TurboTax. And TaxAlmanac. And QuickBooks Online. Many CPAs and other accounting professionals also rely on programs from Intuit, as well.

And there are many more programs. And as many businesses in the U.S. and abroad have turned to “the cloud” for their programs, Intuit has been the biggest beneficiary. More small businesses run QuickBooks Online than any other single web-based accounting program. Ditto for tax programs and other business systems.

Unfortunately, something bad happened on the way to the cloud. Intuit’s servers have experienced cataclysmic failures over the past week. A nearly 36-hour period between June 14-16, and again starting last night (June 19). When will it end? What is the cause? How damaging is this for the web-based model of professional programs?

Intuit has held to its explanation that first significant outage occurred during a routine maintenance event. No explanation on the second event has been issued yet. But some are concerned about the vulnerability of business data- especially public accountants who, if their client data is exposed, could face legal action and liability.

But of potential greater concern is that of the millions of small business owners and individuals who use Intuit’s online programs and services. If the “crashes” and “downtime” are really the result of external sabotage, then is the data on those servers vulnerable or exposed. Even if this isn’t the case- even if the technical problems are just “technical issues” – well, this doesn’t bode well for Intuit’s ability to ensure the uptime of data/services for small businesses.

SaaS/Web-based business management/bookkeeping programs

Wake-up call, Intuit: Invest in your reliability, because it just took a major hit, along with the perception of your viability for web-based small business services.

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