I have been working as a CPA for 20 years in a firm named Alwyn CPAs. And one my friends Mr. John Astern is a CPA who works at Chisel Associates. He too has an experience of around 21 years. His company offers outsourced book keeping, tax preparation service, and accounting services. John is a better accountant than I am, as he is meticulous and financially astute. On the other hand, i was never good with details. That is the reason why I stopped working as a public accountant and now I sell only business software. Application hosting on a cloud platform is a new way of using software, this is also known as SaaS( Software as a Service).There is a number of application hosting service provider company who host different types of accounting software on their cloud server.
So John and I are the different kinds of CPAs. I am better with software and business technology and he is better with numbers.
We have our businesses structured differently to have all our data and system in-house. I own a couple of workstations and servers. We use local area network to connect to our servers which are supported by our IT team. Windows terminal services is used to connect remotely. We have a team of 10 people working in our company, so basically it’s a small firm. But John’s company is structured and setup in a different way.
John takes the help of “cloud technology” and application hosting service. He neither has a server nor does he have a local area network. All of his databases, files, and software are hosted by a company called Hitech-cloud hosting services. Because he is not a technology person and he lets someone else worry about the technology.
Hitech-cloud Hosting Services is part of a growing industry of companies that provide dedicated application hosting services. At present, the company has 5000 clients. Hosting companies offer their customers with servers, support and best technology housed in secure facilities. Many of the customers do not want to go through headaches and expense when they can just let the experts from these companies do the stuff.
John was luck for he headed to the cloud in 2006.Cloud computing was getting easier and he was starting his company at this time. He did not have to worry about migrating his existing network to a new set up.
He did not have baggage to carry into the hosted environment. After he signed up with Hitech Cloud Hosting Services (Application hosting service provider), he copied all of his existing files from her workspace server to theirs. And then he installed his applications like QuickBooks and Microsoft office on Hitech cloud’s servers. John says, “It felt like doing on a server in my office”.”There is not much difference”.
The main part of John’s bookkeeping services is that he maintains the accounting system for his clients. So he needed a centralized place, where not only his employees could access the information but also his clients could see their books and do data entry when necessary.
Maintaining all these in-house would be costly and time-consuming. So a managed server setup became the backbone of John’s business delivery model. He said he wanted to focus on bookkeeping rather than become a computer expert.
When John hosts all his applications on Hitech cloud’s servers, the company take cares of its entire customer’s service. The company updates the application with the latest patches and the backup data is tuned for optimal performance. In short, the company not only rent out the servers but also the expertise needed to manage all the applications.
John says that he found the performance very good as any web connected software without any network problems. Without hosting, if his server got into trouble or her Internet service shut down, no one could do work. But today even his office goes dark his employees and clients are still able to work with their data.
Hosting is a boon for small companies. The benefits are great and the expenses are pretty low. The data can be easily accessible and moreover, the high-security level provided by application hosting service provider makes the environment ideal to use. On top of that daily data backup is done,so there is no chance of losing data.
Except that I don’t really have these problems. I have two servers: one of them, as mentioned before, equipped with Windows Terminal Services and a virtual private network. This was setup by my IT guy a few years ago. We access everything through a browser, just like Augustine, from anywhere we want. My system has a daily backup. I’m positive we’re not running the most recent versions of Windows and could use some cleaning up, but things are working OK.
I’m even more positive that my data is far less secure than it would be if I let a company like Rackspace host( application hosting service provider) it. But we’re not keeping highly sensitive stuff like credit card numbers on hand, so I’ll take my chances that some kid in Malaysia wants to know next week’s line-up for my softball team. And also, we’re not the kind of business where clients access their data from our systems the way Augustine’s do.
And the cost is still pretty high. Most of the application hosting service provider charges a monthly fee per user for the use of their servers, generally around $100 per month per user. John says he pays about $1,500 per month for his service, which includes the virtual machines and other premium features. So a 10-person company like mine could be paying anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000 per year to host our systems.