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Firm Management

2019 Review of Hosting Providers for Accounting Firms

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As the industry moves more towards cloud-based solutions, there remains a core group of users who maintain loyalty to on-premise applications. While this loyalty is admirable, in this day of remote workers and the desire for anytime/anywhere access, adhering to an onsite application can be limiting.

Which is why application hosting can be so important. The ability to host any application, providing you, the business owner, with convenient access, can be invaluable to small and large businesses alike.

The premise behind hosting is really simple. Instead of installing an application on your own desktop, the application is installed on the hosting company servers. Your business is then provided with online access to that application via a web login or a virtual desktop. By having these traditionally on-premise applications hosted, you can then access them from anywhere at anytime without the need to migrate to a different application. Remote hosting can also greatly reduce or eliminate the need for extensive IT staff, as the product is maintained solely by the hosting company.

Of course, not every application on the market today can be hosted online, but the majority can, and many hosting companies also specialize in custom hosting, so if you have a custom program you’re using, don’t assume that it cannot be hosted online.

In addition, having your applications hosted online can be beneficial in many other ways, including:

  • Reduction in related IT hardware costs, as that cost would be defrayed to the hosting company.
  • Increased mobility for you, your business, and your staff. No longer will you have to rely on staff members or co-workers to provide you with the necessary files since you’ll be able to access them from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Increased security. Hosting companies offer bank level security, with data protected around the clock. Sure, you have anti-virus software, but it’s much more likely that your system will be hacked than it is for data to be breached at a hosting company.
  • Help and support is all handled by the hosting company, and you’ll always have access to the latest version of any software application that is being hosted.

In this issue of CPA Practice Advisor, we’ve reviewed five product hosting providers. The products vary, with basic QuickBooks hosting offered in some, to custom server and data migration services offered in others. The products included in this review are:

As always, we have also included a chart that details the features and functions found in each of the applications. If you’re tired of being locked out of your desktop, or just want to be able to run a report when you’re not in the office, in may be time to start looking at hosting applications.

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