Like many CPA firms, small and midsized businesses, you’re probably excited about cloud accounting and are eager to make the switch to the cloud. Making the switch to the cloud is only a matter of time anyway, but it’s important that you do it right and choose the right cloud accounting company. In many cases, that means a cloud hosting provider.
We of course have very strong views on the considerations to be made by businesses before choosing a cloud hosting provider. Specifically, you will need to know about the following things before making a move:
#1: Find out about the support provided by the cloud hosting company
The support provided by the cloud hosting provider should be one of the most important considerations. You may require help with your cloud setup, or with the migration to the cloud, for example. Find out if the hosting provider helps you with this.
Also, ask if the customer support is available 24/7, and if they would be taking breaks on holidays. This is important as there is no way to tell when you might need help. Also, ask about the response time – the faster, the better.
#2: Does the hosting provider have a disaster recovery plan?
It’s very important to find out whether the hosting company has a disaster recovery plan. In particular, ask them about their Recovery Point Objective (also called as RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (also called as RTO).
Ask them whether they test their RPO and RTO on a regular basis. Also, you will want a detailed explanation from the vendor on how they would backup your data and prevent any data loss, even in the case of a natural or man-made catastrophe. What about the data redundancy? Is the data replicated at multiple data centers around the world?
#3: What are the protections against data loss?
Moving to the cloud is a great decision, but does the cloud provider have any protection against data loss? What if the cloud hosting service was to lose the data? Ask them about policy regarding data loss. Find out how many times a day or week they backup the data and how many data centers they have. Ideally, you will want the data to be backed up daily and saved on servers located in multiple data centers around the world.
#4: What about the security at the data centers?
Find out where the data centers are located and how good is the security arranged at them. You have every right to expect 24/7 security at the data centers, along with power backup and technical support. The online security at the data center is just as important, as that’s where so much of your critical information will be stored. Ask about the certification earned by the cloud hosting company and whether they have been approved by a specific accounting or other software provider.