2013 Review of Swizznet

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Best Firm Fit: Firms who need a QuickBooks host and do not need automatic provisioning of configurations and/or new users.

Strengths:

  • The company offers the free Open Office productivity suite for those who need a simple, inexpensive tool for editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • The only host which offers two factor authentication of users (e.g. validation based on something you physically have in addition to username and password) is available using a mobile phone and the optional PhoneFactor two factor authentication tool.
  • While Swizznet is not the only company which is licensed by Intuit to commercially host the multi-lane version of QuickBooks Point of Sale, they are the only ones offering it.
  • All data is mirrored between two commercial hosting centers, and the backup data center can be activated in approximately two hours.
  • The company supports many QuickBooks add-ons, including SmartVault, Bill.com, Tallie, SpringAhead, Thomson Reuters’ CS QB Data Utility, and the QuickBooks Web Connector.

Potential Limitations:

  • Swizznet is one of the newer hosts to compete for the accounting industry’s business, and does not support as many applications as some competitors. Notable missing applications include the CCH ProSystem fx suite, the Thomson Reuters CS suite, Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro, and Sage 50 US (Peachtree Accounting).
  • New user provisioning and setup of apps is not automated at this time, and most users who wish to host their entire desktop will have to subscribe to Swizznet’s Custom Virtual Server Product.

Overview
Swizznet is a service provider which is primarily focused on hosting QuickBooks for accounting firms and end users, and is an Intuit Authorized Commercial Hosting Provider. The company reports that its technical support staff is Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors, and while they aren’t the only company authorized by Intuit to host multi-lane versions of QuickBooks Point of Sale, they are the only company offering it. The company does not offer hosting of Microsoft Exchange e-mail or Microsoft SharePoint portals, and recommends that users subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 for these services.

The company’s offerings are segmented into two tiers, QuickBooks centered hosting and custom server hosting. The first tier, QuickBooks and Office software hosting, provides remote data storage and access for any of the last three versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise Solutions, as well as Microsoft Office or Open Office productivity software access. The company supports many common QuickBooks add-on applications such as SmartVault, Bill.com, and Tallie. QuickBooks users can also use the PageManager PDF editor software for an additional monthly fee. Custom Server offerings provide the ability to host almost any application on a custom server maintained by Swizznet, and details are available upon request. Many common applications used by accounting professionals are supported only in a “Custom Server” configuration, including Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro, Sage 50 US Edition, Sage 50 Canada Edition, Sage 100 ERP, as well as professional tax and accounting suites from Thomson Reuters, CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, Intuit, Drake and others.

Swizznet is able to provide multi-tiered access controls to data so that accounting professionals can have access to some data stored by clients (and vice-versa, if desired). Access to client data can also be limited so that users do not automatically have access to all files and data.

Access to peripherals such as scanners and printers and use of dual monitors are natively supported by the company’s Citrix XenApp hosting software. All information transferred to end users is encrypted using industry standard SSL encryption.

Data is hosted and stored in a U.S. Tier II commercial hosting facility in the Central US, with backups every half hour to another Tier II hosting facility operated by a different provider over 500 miles away from the primary facility. Swizznet’s initial configuration of new organizations and new users is currently manual, but the company reports that they plan to automate some of this process in the future.

Summary & Pricing
Swizznet’s QuickBooks Hosting for 2011-2013 Pro, Premier, and Enterprise is priced starting at $54.99 per month, plus the cost of licensing the product (purchase and leasing options are available). Those who wish to move all network applications and data into the hosted environment will require a custom-configured server, which is priced at $225 per month, plus $54.99 per user per month, with a $250 custom server setup fee.

 

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