7 Frequently Asked Questions About the Cloud – QuickBooks for Law Firms
One of the things that we do here at Uptime Legal is help law firms find solutions to their technology challenges. We want law firms to be as informed as possible so that they are completely confident in their technology choices. One of the technology elements we often say in play QuickBooks for law firms. It’s very common: QuickBooks is the most trusted accounting solutions for businesses.
What we’re also not surprised by is the love / hate relationship we see with QuickBooks for law firms. Law firms absolutely love the software and all of its features, but they often hate using it on their physical server because they are limited to using it in the office (and because managing on-premise servers is always a headache). Many law firm also don’t want to switch to the web-based version (Called QuickBooks Online) because they know that they will trade software functionality for cloud mobility.
And this conundrum prompts a lot of law firms to ask us about the possibilities of the cloud.
Law firms (to the surprise of many) do not have to choose between the benefits of a cloud-based application (such as QuickBooks Online) and the mature, robust functionality of traditional desktop/server-based software (Such as QuickBooks Professional). Law firms can have the best of both worlds by using what is known as a private cloud.
In this article, we’re going to share with you the most frequently asked questions we get about QuickBooks for law firms in the cloud.
Learn More: About QuickBooks
1. What, Exactly, Is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is a fully hosted and managed IT platforms that can meet the needs of a law firm. It can be used to host (and run) QuickBooks for law firms as well as every other program the firm uses. It can also be used to store data and files. Oh, and email. A private cloud is perfectly capable of hosting email. A private cloud eliminates a lot of the IT headaches associated with using a physical server and get all of the maintenance and support they need to stay productive.
Essentially, a private cloud is like a physical server…but without the hassle and expense of an onsite physical server. A private cloud can host QuickBooks for law firms, all of the firm’s other software, all of the documents and data used, and even host email through Hosted Exchange.
Learn More: Private Cloud – A Primer for Law Firms
To access the software and data, users will use a virtual desktop. A virtual desktop gives users the ability to work from anywhere at any time as long as they have an Internet connection. When they log in to their virtual desktop, they can use any of the software installed, including QuickBooks. They can also access their documents or check their email!
Learn More: Virtual Desktops for Law Firms
2. Is It Possible to Run QuickBooks for Law Firms from a Private Cloud?
Yes, it is possible to run QuickBooks for law firms from a private cloud. Many law firms host their QuickBooks, along with other vital applications (such as Timeslips, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Acrobat) in a secure private cloud.
Related: QuickBooks + Timeslips in the Cloud
3. What Is the Process for Moving QuickBooks to the Private Cloud?
Every cloud service provider handles the transition process a little differently. At Uptime Legal, we’ve moved hundreds of law firms from on-premise to a private cloud.
Here’s how we do it.
Onboarding (the planning, transition and training process) is an important concept because we want to provide law firms with a smooth transition to their new private cloud. If onboarding doesn’t go well or it isn’t well managed, it can derail the entire project. (So, make sure that whatever private cloud server you choose has a process that doesn’t interrupt your law office activities!) Here’s how we move QuickBooks to our private cloud:
Discovery process. During our discovery process, we work to understand the current technology relied upon by the law firm. This includes knowing the details of every application including current versions. This allows us to determine if there are any potential issues we need to watch or plan for throughout the rest of the process.
Planning process. After the discovery process, we move into the planning process. Our goal is to carefully coordinate (and clearly communicate) the migration plan to our clients. We tell our clients exactly which components will be moved, how they will be moved, and when they will be moved.
Building the private cloud from the ground up. Every law firm has its own specific needs. The private cloud has to support QuickBooks for law firms as well as all other applications, documents, and data. We build the private cloud from the ground up to meet the specific needs of the law firm. The private cloud is configured to host all of your software (including QuickBooks), documents, and data.
Data collection process. Next is our data collection process. We use a methodical and painless data collection process to get your data moved over to you brand new private cloud.
Launching. Once your data is moved, it’s time to launch! We provide a practically seamless transition for our clients.
Initial training for all team members. We know it can be difficult for people to make a change. We provide firm-wide training on the very first day to make sure that everyone in your firm is comfortable with logging in and navigating the environment as well as being able to find everything they need.
On-going support both on and off the cloud. We also provide on-going support both on and off the private cloud. Obviously, it’s our job to help with private cloud related issues. We can also help with QuickBooks and individual computers.
4. Are There Specific Benefits for Law Firms to Move QuickBooks to a Private Cloud?
Absolutely. Law firms get:
- More reliability. If you choose a reputable private cloud who is specifically devoted to the legal industry, you should experience more reliability and uptime when compared with a physical server.
- More data security. Reliable private cloud providers give law firms the best possible data security. Unlike physical servers that would require you to have someone to constantly monitor and implement the right tools to protect your data (not to mention the expense associated with this), a private cloud includes this feature at no extra cost.
- Work from anywhere if you have an Internet connection. No need to trade out functionality for portability. When QuickBooks for law firms is hosted on a private cloud, the virtual desktop can be accessed by users from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. And they get all of the features they know and love.
- It can grow with you. If you rely on a physical server, you’d have to buy additional physical servers as well as find a place to put them. A private cloud can grow with you and costs significantly less than a physical server. And if you need to scale back? No problem.
- More support, fewer headaches. A private cloud provides law firm with more IT support and fewer headaches. No worrying about backups, security, anti-virus software, IT problems, or server crashes. A private cloud helps cut out those problems while giving you unlimited support for your cloud, software, and your computers.
5. Are There Risks Involved to Moving to a Private Cloud?
The answer is yes. There are risks. The good news is that if you know the risks, you can plan to avoid them.
The first risk is that not all private clouds are created equal. There are a lot of providers out there. Some are resellers of big box options. Many won’t have any experience in the legal industry let alone experience with the software your law firm relies on.
The second risk is in whether the private cloud provider you choose can provide you with the data security you need as a law firm.
The third risk is that many private cloud providers may not provide you with any IT support past what happens on their own cloud. Issues with applications or your computer become exclusively your problem. In fact, you may think you’re getting a great deal because of the price, but it may not come with any support at all.
The fourth risk is getting involved in long-term contracts. We recommend avoiding these so that your firm can remain agile.
Keep these risks in mind as you consider your options.
6. Are There Any Ethical Considerations?
Practically anything a law firm does has ethical considerations. However, cloud computing has become the norm for law firms. The ABA recommends it and published an article that discussed cloud computing which read, in part:
“Modern encryption has progressed to the point where it is unbreakable. Cloud companies understand that their reputations for protecting customer information are crucial. A single security breach would cost [the law firm] dearly. Your client information is more secure stored on a reputable, professionally managed cloud server than on your office computers.”
7. I Still Have Questions. Can You Help Me?
Absolutely! If you’re considering QuickBooks for law firms on a private cloud and you still have questions, reach out to us. We are more than happy to answer your questions and help you decide if a private cloud is right for your law firm.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful!