So, you’ve decided to run your critical business applications in the cloud. You’re up and running with QuickBooks® Desktop and maybe some other important apps as well. What’s next? What should you do first to experience some of the top benefits of cloud computing?
If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, you should be aware of what switching to a hosted model does not require. When you sign up with the right cloud provider, you don’t have to:
Wait weeks for cloud service. The right hosting provider can get you up and running within a day, depending on the number of files and users you’re planning on moving to a hosted model.
Interrupt your employees’ workday. The right cloud provider will help you move your files into the cloud. All your employees should have to do to get started is log into the new hosted environment.
Have people crawling around your office (or house). The cutover to the cloud should happen strictly remotely, with no cables, no holes drilled in your ceiling and no one knocking on your door.
Getting Started: Explore 5 Top Benefits of Cloud Computing
Of course, if you’ve set up your cloud environment, you know all of that already—and you’re looking to drive the return on your investment as quickly as possible. Start by diving into the five top benefits of cloud computing:
Get your employees the help they need.
Some people in your organization will be willing and able to jump straight into a cloud environment with little to no training or orientation. That’s great! Turn them loose. Others, however, might be a little nervous or hesitant. You can work with your cloud provider to show them around in their new environment and teach them how everything works.
Some of your colleagues might like a walk-through of how to access the cloud and what kinds of features and functions are now available to them. Others might need to make sure that they will still be able to print, browse the internet, access company files and use the QuickBooks Desktop shortcuts that they’ve used for years. (By the way, they will be able to do all of those things.)
Work in live files from anywhere at any time.
Go ahead, try it! Take your computer home, or if you already work at home, head to a coffee shop or some other comfortable spot. Do it at 4:00 a.m. if you want to—if you can find a place that’s open. Manipulate numbers in QuickBooks Desktop, your tax system that’s now running in the cloud or some other hosted software application.
Have your fellow employees check what you’re doing. You’ll realize that they can see your work as you do it, even if you’re doing it in the middle of the night—and you can see their work. There’s no need to send files via email, which leads to confusion and error…not to mention security issues. There’s no risk of two people working at cross-purposes in the same app and saving conflicting versions of the same file. Whatever you do, whatever anyone else does, everyone sees.
And that’s the case no matter where you are or when you’re online. You can even work in the same files in real time in remote meetings or right in the office.
Get your clients into a cloud portal.
The cloud isn’t just an efficiency boon for your firm. It’s great for your clients as well. Gone are the days of information passed along on dangerous thumb drives, by email or even by US mail. Your clients log into your cloud portal and share their key data with you automatically.
Your cloud provider can help get clients set up and migrate their data into your hosted environment. For instance, clients can migrate their QuickBooks Desktop data into your cloud so that you—and they—have access to it whenever necessary. And all this happens in an environment that’s far more secure than running an in-office server or exchanging data via email or physical devices.
Set up employee permissions.
Security is one of the primary benefits of running applications in the cloud. Most of your employees don’t need to see every file you have. They just need access to the files and applications they work on regularly.
Your cloud provider can help you determine which employees need access to which files and applications in your hosted environment. As a firm owner, you can have access to them all if you so choose. But giving everyone access to everything isn’t a cybersecurity best practice. Even if you trust your employees, it’s a good idea to protect your clients’ data to the greatest extent possible.
Stop worrying about updating applications.
Apps need constant updates for security and functionality purposes, and keeping up with those updates is a challenge at the best of times. As the leader of an accounting firm, you don’t need to spend your time managing an in-house server. You have more important work to do.
Your cloud provider will deliver updates on a regular basis behind the scenes—you won’t even know they’re happening. In fact, if you have your own IT staff, you can set them free to support users in other areas or to develop revenue-generating technology for your firm. The cloud lifts the burdens of maintenance and security from your shoulders.
Accounting Works Better With the Top Benefits of Cloud Computing
Now that you’re in the cloud, you’re ready to experience the top benefits of cloud computing, which will drive efficiency, collaboration and a sense of security in a way you haven’t experienced before. If you need more guidance once you’re in the cloud, download our checklist. It offers steps to maximize the cloud’s value as quickly as possible once you begin running applications in a hosted model.
And if you’re not in the cloud yet, you need to get there. Get started here.