In this video, you will learn the power of cloud hosting for QuickBooks Desktop and see a demonstration of how easy and effective it is to manage QuickBooks using a cloud hosting service.
Why this matters to you: If you are a QuickBooks Desktop user, cloud hosting is a powerful service that enables essential functions like backups and multiple users while simplifying many accounting tasks and procedures.
Hey there, everybody. This is Diane Gilson with Info Plus Accounting, and we have with us today Jake Reeves, who is the Director of Sales for Summit Hosting.
I’d like the participants in the audience. Could you put something in your Questions pane? If you’ve used GoToWebinar before, you probably should be able to locate that Questions icon. Let us know that you can hear us and where you’re from. That’d be great! I’d love to see where you’re at.
So Jake, where are you logging in from today?
I’m up here in Seattle with a little bit of rain. You know how that goes here. So yes – born and raised – but you get used to it.
Yes, well, there is always lots of nice moisture for the plants and all that type of thing. I’m here in southern Michigan, and our weather up until now has continued to be fairly cool for spring. We’re at about 68 degrees, so if anybody wanted a weather update, there it is for you. I’m hoping everybody can hear us.
Laura, our COO, is sitting in the background. We’ve got a really nice giveaway from Jake, and Laura’s going to be like on those prize shows where they have the person come out from Price-Waterhouse and open the envelope. Well, Laura’s going to be the one that’s going to be looking for our pre-selected number, and that person’s going to be getting a really nice gift from Jake. So thank you, Jake, for stepping up to the plate and coming up with something really great.
I will make a couple of preliminary announcements. Of course, in the background, you should be able to see in your GoToWebinar that you can get the downloads of the handouts right now if you want to.
Of course, we’re going to follow up with recordings. We’ll send out links to folks, so if there’s anything you want to go back through or have a question you want to go back in and check on, you can go ahead and go back into that recording and also re-download the handout. We’ll be sending those out to you tomorrow.
Let’s go ahead and get started. And I do see that people are telling us where they are in different areas. We have somebody from Canada and some folks from the US, and it sounds like you can hear us. So wonderful!
QuickBooks Cloud Hosting
The reason that we’re going to team up today is that, for me, “hosting” was a little bit mysterious.
I started working with clients who had it (hosting), but I never really got too far into it. So I thought that some of the experiences that I had, other people might be experiencing the same kinds of “lack of information” as they move forward. I thought we’d want to cover “What the heck is hosting?” and “Why it’s the perfect answer for QuickBooks desktop users.”
We keep hearing about “the cloud,” and this is a great way to get into the cloud and make that transition.
Summit Cloud Hosting For QuickBooks Desktop
Then, I thought I’d just talk about:
- Why we made the switch to hosting our QuickBooks and our related accounting files out to Summit.
- Why it took me so long to make the change.
- Our experience in getting started with Summit Cloud hosting.
- I wanted to show you what my virtual desktop looks like, how it acts, and the Summit features that we’re going to see. This is versus my prior experience with clients who were hosted with a different company. (We may mention that company’s name, but it is a different company.)
- And then, some of the options I’ve chosen for my layout as compared with what I’ve been able to see clients do in that different company.
I’m going to end up interviewing Jake and get some answers to the questions my clients typically ask if I recommend hosting to them.
So let’s talk about you, Jake. Go ahead. Just talk about everybody likes to talk about themselves, so tell us about you.
About Jake Reeves and Summit Hosting
Sounds good. I started as a young child taking apart computers and putting them back together, and I have been doing I.T. ever since. So my background’s a little bit of a strong technical background, but then I also worked into a sales consulting role as well. So that’s been fun mixing that into it.
But then, a lot of customers come to me and say, “Hey, I’ve got this product or this application such as QuickBooks Desktop,” and say, “Hey, we need to do something with it.” And so I will give them the best options available or all the options available and let them choose which one’s best for them.
I find a lot of enjoyment out of that – in helping businesses get to where they need to be. Then, we also focus on our customers and our partnerships with how we run our business.
It’s just a little bit about me and what we do, but thanks, Diane.
Great, and Jake is just the friendliest guy. That was one of the things when we first started, and I’ll talk to you about how we ended up settling on Summit. But it’s just so nice to be able to get in touch with somebody on the other end of the phone who can help answer your questions and is responsive. We were just really impressed with Jake and what he did on his side when we were getting started and needed help and wanted to learn more about Summit.
About Diane Gilson and InfoPlus Accounting
So, here is a little bit about me. Those of you who have been in seminars with me before may know this, but if you’re new, I’m a consultant, a trainer, a speaker, an author, and a product developer. I just do all sorts of things out in the arena of QuickBooks Desktop and job costing. So my background was many years in public accounting and 13 years in banking, and then I started Info Plus in 1994.
So, it’s been more than 25 years of working with business owners and their accounting staff to help them develop job cost and management accounting systems.
For certifications and awards over time: I have a number of them, but the one that’s most exciting for me was that I was named 2022 ProAdvisor of the Year. At Scaling New Heights this year, there will be a new one, and then I become Emeritus, which means “Lifetime ProAdvisor.” At any rate, it’s a lifetime thing after the next person comes in. So, thanks for listening about me.
Our Journey into QuickBooks Desktop Hosting
You can learn more if you come to our website. Let’s go on and talk about our journey into hosting. You’ll see that’s not a very straight path there. My earliest experience was knowing about hosting, letting clients who didn’t have the wherewithal to put servers in place or had a need for ongoing remote access to let them know that they could host their Desktop files in a hosted environment.
Then, I started working with clients who did have it because some of them found it was going to be a good solution for them. It wasn’t always a smooth experience as I was working with them or as they were getting set up with hosting.
So that was back in the Dark Ages, which was a while back. But at the same time, as I looked at it and everybody said, ”Oh, we’re going to the cloud,” it just didn’t really seem necessary for us as a company because we had a server. We’d made a pretty big investment, and we’re paying an I.T. company to help support us. All of us worked here in the office with a direct connection, plugged in our computers directly to QuickBooks on the server and our other accounting files. So, we didn’t really have a need for remote access. Once in a while, I might go on vacation and have to find a VPN to track back to pick something up.
Lots of times, I just copied things on my laptop and took it with me. So, remote access wasn’t a real need. Then, of course, the pandemic changed everything. Laura and I had just come back from several conferences, and on the plane, we were starting to get a little antsy. We ended up with masks, and we got back, and everything shut down within two days after we got back from that series of flights.
As we were here [in the office], before she went back to her hometown, we talked about, ”Now what are we going to do?” We set everybody up who was in the office. We said, ”Take your computer home, get everything set up.”
We worked with our I.T. company to set up a VPN back into our server. Unfortunately, that VPN connection, although it did work a lot of the time, was clunky and slow, and it didn’t always connect nicely.
People would get cut off, and it just was not a great solution for us. It was a solution, but it wasn’t fun.
I asked my Air Traffic Controller, Raquel, to go out and start doing some research for us to find out what options were out there. When we started out, she had six different companies that she was looking at. She looked at a variety of factors. We narrowed that down to three [companies], and then, ultimately, we narrowed that down to Summit.
Of course, based on prior experiences, what I had seen with clients, and so on – I knew what I didn’t like, and I knew what we did want. That included things like security, speed, and ease of use. So we went ahead, and we made the leap.
We’ve been really happy, and the onboarding experience went smoothly. Now, I didn’t handle every aspect of that myself.
Raquel was very much involved with doing a lot of that implementation, but I’d tell her what I wanted, and she would coordinate with the Summit team and make sure that we had that.
We also had specific kinds of software, and we were able to customize everything to meet our personal preferences.
You’ll see that we’re coming outside the other side of the maze in the little picture here.
Virtual Hosted Desktop
My virtual hosted desktop – I’m just going to display this screen here. So, I’m going to go through and show you what my screen looks like.
- I’m going to show the TrueGrid security.
- I’m going to show what it looks like when it connects to my desktop.
- I’ll show you my virtual desktop, what it looks like, and the Windows File Explorer.
- And then, I’ve got another slide, but I’ll probably leave that in the background temporarily as I walk through some of these things.
TrueGrid – Summit Hosting Security
So I’m going to click Escape here, and right now, you’re seeing my Summit virtual desktop. I’m going to show you something. It’s a security option called TrueGrid, and this is what I use to log in.
Now, I’m not going to show you the actual login process. But just as an explanation, what happens is that I keep this down in my taskbar, and when I open it up, I get a screen where I put in a special Summit email. Then, I put in a password, and then, it says, “Oh, I’m going to send you a code.”
Now we’re set up so that we have 2FA or two-factor authentication. And there are some choices you make when you’re setting things up. You can set it up so you don’t have the 2FA authentication. Of course, we really, really are focused on security here. One of the really neat things about Summit was that we could get this type of security for any of our people who were going to log into Summit to do our accounting work and so on.
So Jake, do you want to address and talk about this TrueGrid and how you’ve implemented this in your company?
Well, you have done a very good job so far. You did most of my work there, but that’s what TrueGrid is, so we use Windows Remote Desktop (RDP) to connect, and that’s what we have right here. That’s what this virtual desktop is. But RDP out of the box wasn’t very secure, so we had to come up with another solution that was going to “secure up” the front end of things.
So TrueGrid – the connector that encrypts the connection – does a zero-trust authentication method. Then, if you want multifactor authentication, that comes baked into TrueGrid as well. You don’t have to have multifactor authentication if you don’t want to, but it’s a nice piece where you get that text message on your phone that says, “Hey, what is the code?” type of thing. Then, it gets you logged in and all that. It’s very similar to that. So it’s an extra piece of security for that.
Good. I already have my desktop up in the background, but as I’m logging in through TrueGrid, I hit this Connect button. Then I get another little screen that says basically, “Are you sure you want to connect?” And I’ll go ahead and say “Yes.”
That gets me out into my desktop. So, if you guys want to answer in the Question screen, I’d love to hear if any of you are currently using [remote] desktop or if this is your first real look at it. That’d be fun to find out. I’m not going to put anybody on the carpet or anything to ask personal questions, but if you want to let me know in the background, that’d be great.
So, just a little bit to show you, here is my desktop screen. And you know what? This looks a whole lot like what you would see on your personal computer.
And one thing – I probably have it a little bit later – but for people who work on Macs and don’t want to go out and invest in a PC but want all the advantages of QuickBooks Desktop in terms of doing job costing and reporting and that type of thing – this is an ideal situation because now from your Mac, you can have this virtual desktop. And it just looks like a PC without you having to go out and buy a PC, figure out how to use it, and so on. So, I just thought I’d mention that in passing.
So when you’re on this virtual desktop, I immediately know that I’m not on my own screen. I know that I’m in Summit because – look – we’ve got our logo down here. (That’s a nice-looking logo, by the way, Jake.) And that tells us where we are.
Then, I want to mention that this blue bar up here, if you haven’t used hosting before, is what increases or decreases. I’m going to play with this.
Working With Virtual Desktop
I’m going to minimize it. All gone. Now I click on my little icon that says “Virtual desktop.” It brings it back up, or if I want to make it a different size on my monitor, I can do that as well. So that’s what that blue bar is about. And, of course, you could X out of it, but there are better ways to log back out of your virtual desktop, and we’ll talk about that shortly.
One big thing that I love is that I have control over my taskbar down here, and I can even set it up so my taskbar is on the side if I want. I generally prefer to keep mine down here at the bottom, but you’ll see down here – in my taskbar – I put my most frequently used applications. Now, of course, you can open the applications from any of the icons on your desktop. However, I like to keep most of the ones I use a lot right down here.
QuickBooks Files in Virtual Desktop
So here is my Windows Explorer – the File Explorer. I’m going to open that up, and it acts just like it does on your personal desktop. However, there’s something that’s a little different here. You’ll see I’ve got a lot of computers here in my office and it’s giving me access to different things in my office. But on Summit, all the way at the bottom, you’re going to see “Shared Data.” Now, in Shared Data, what is going to show up are different folders that you want anybody else who is working in Summit with you to be able to see. So, for instance, I see I’ve got a Vendors file [folder] and a Vendors [folder] for my personal company QuickBooks file. We have a “Temporary” folder. We’ve got one that says “Software.”
And so we’ve set up a number of different files out here, and several of us are now using Summit. Other people who are logged into Summit can see this Shared Data. And, of course, our QuickBooks data file will be sitting in the Shared Data because several people have access to our QuickBooks file. And so this Shared Data is shared across users.
On the other hand, if we put something on our desktop, and if I put something out here, this is private, and it’s just for me only. And so here we have a desktop that is just the Summit desktop, and you’ll see that I have certain things that I don’t necessarily want to share with everybody else. So those are the first two big folders that you would be concerned with or want to look at.
Now, this one is Summit. This is where Summit is going ahead and putting different program files in place and running things in the background.
So Jake, does that pretty well explain how these different big pieces look and work in Summit?
Yes, and one thing I would note, too – and you don’t want to do this because then, everybody on this webinar would see your files. But if you were to select one of your drives over there on the left, you’d be able to navigate to your local drive and then copy and paste files over to the server. So that’s what’s convenient about those lists of drives that she has there. Those are all in her local environment, and she can access data from right from there. So it’s an automatic type of thing.
Working With Files in Virtual Desktop
Exactly. That is so incredibly useful. I copy and paste back and forth on a regular basis. I have a tendency to work in Outlook on my own desktop environment. Then somebody will send me a copy of an invoice or a bill or something, and then I can just copy (right-click, copy that PDF) and come out into Summit and decide where I want to put it. So I’m careful not to have anything really private available right now. But we do have, for instance, here is a shortcut to a “Vendors” folder. I’ll open that up, and you’ll see that I have my vendor names sitting out here. Then this is something from an organization I belong to. You’ll see the PDFs, and they sent me this information in my Outlook. Now, I do have an Outlook out here that I could work in.
I just have a tendency to prefer my other desktop to monitor my email and so on.
But anything, if I want to put screenshots out here, I can put most anything in there. So that’s a really good point, Jake.
Now you see, I can have more than one open, just like you would back on your normal desktop. So that copy and paste feature is so, so easy and so convenient. And it can, of course, go the other way too. Anything you have out here that you want to put back on your own computer, just copy and paste (I love copy and paste).
Let’s just step down through here in the background. I’ve got my PowerPoint up, so that copy, paste, and move Jake just talked about. Here’s another thing. In one of the other hosting programs, I found that if I wanted to right-click on something, let’s say I wanted to look in “Temporary,” and if I wanted to right-click in the other program, I couldn’t.
Here, I can right-click. I can do anything that I normally would on my PC. So this is set up to let you have that experience just like you would on your own PC. Of course, if you’re on a Mac, it’s going to be a little different. Nevertheless, this lets you right-click. I can right-click, I can copy, I can paste, I can do anything that I want to do.
So, let’s say, for instance, I wanted to copy this, and I wanted to paste it on my desktop. I could just throw it here, and there it is. So I don’t particularly want to leave that there. So I’m just going to clean up behind myself. The answer is “Yes.”
Let’s see. You can reorganize your folders. Just treat it like your desktop. So you can drag, you can drop, you can move things around.
If I wanted this over here, for instance, I could do that. I can create shortcuts just like you would on a PC. You’ll see that I’ve got some shortcuts out here. See, like the “Vendors” shortcut – you see your little arrow. So that’s very cool.
And also, I’ll point out internet access down here. So, if I want to open up Chrome or Edge, then I can go out and work on the internet from here, just like I was on my regular PC. So, for instance, one of my clients has his email in Yahoo, so he can come out here and open up his Yahoo email.
Of course, I could open up my Outlook, but generally, I don’t do it through Chrome. And you can see here this was something where I had been talking to Intuit in a chat, but if I just open this up (Google is my default,) there’s my internet, and of course, it acts the same way in Edge.
So, anything you could do on a PC on your desktop, you can do out here.
This is especially convenient if you’re in QuickBooks and you decide that you want to use the Yahoo email or one of the other online email services – so you’d need to have access to the internet to do that.
All right: various additional software options. Now, we use Office 365, and we do have desktop applications. Jake’s going to talk more about this in a little bit as we start asking him some questions, but you’ll notice down here that we have Excel, Word, and Outlook.
Here are my QuickBooks files. I’ll look at those shortly. And so we have those particular [programs], we have Teams out here. Again, this is another one of the Office 365 apps that we have installed.
Cloud Hosting Printing Options
Another thing I’ll mention is your printing options. It’s just like being in your office, and if you want to print something – let me go over into – just trying to think of something I want to print. Let’s go into this “Vendors” shortcut here. I’m going to pull something up and then pretend.
So let’s just say this isn’t going to have anything confidential on it. I’m going to open this up, and you’ll notice that we could do the Preview and so on. I’m not going to leave this up very long. All I really want to do is go over and look at the Print Options here. So many choices.
So, in the Print, there we go. So this popped up, and you’ll notice that – look at all these different printers. Now these are printers in my office. I have this in the next room. I have several downstairs. I have different options. And so they set this up so you can print this just as if you were sitting in your office, and that is really nice. Again, my client who used to work in Right Networks – I said it – sorry, that’s in the other hosting environment. I mean, he just always had to go out and work his way through a couple of layers before he could get to the right print options for his company. And here I could just figure out which it is I want to do. If I wanted to print to the Dell color laser, I could do that, and it would print out downstairs on my Dell color laser. So, let’s cancel this and close this.
If I could add points to the printing part, Diane, real quick. That is all automatic, by the way. So, whatever device you log in from, if you have a printer connected to your device, it will auto-map to the server, and you can print immediately. So when she has all those set up, it’s automatic, so it doesn’t require a ton of setup. And with the other provider, they run “farm shared” server environments where you’re sharing a server with all of their other clients. So, it makes it really hard for the printers to be able to navigate the traffic when everybody’s sharing the same server.
With Summit, you’re on your own dedicated server, so we don’t need TS Print or any other third-party application in order to work. It just runs like it’s supposed to automatically and is all set up. So printing can be less of a headache.
Yes, and that’s huge. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’ll tell you what – when you have to do work in a system all day long, it’s a big deal. So that’s so helpful.
Why Use QuickBooks Desktop Cloud Hosting?
Now, the one thing, of course, the big elephant in the room: Why do we get out into Summit? Well, it’s because of QuickBooks. Now, in my case, I have Enterprise, which allows me to have two different companies open at the same time. And so I’m going to show you, this is what this one looks like. This is our company file. I’m not going to display any of the reports or any information from our company file. However, I just want you to see that it’s here.
So I’m just going to pull up the Home screen. There we go. So our Home (and I do have to say that GoToWebinar sucks up a lot of bandwidth, so things are just a tad slower than they normally would be). But most people are really happy with the responsiveness, particularly if you’ve got a decent internet connection.
So here is our company file. Our blue bar here – if we slide it carefully – if I slide it too quickly, it’ll have a tendency to make the screen a little smaller. But I’m just going to slide it over here, and then, you’ll see that I can minimize this, make it any size that I want it to. Again, just like your normal desktop.
Here is another: this is my personal company file. Again, I don’t normally keep the Home screens up, but there’s my personal file and our company file both open at the same time because we have Enterprise.
Now, if you have Pro or Premier, you can only have one company file open at a time, but if you provide Jake and the Summit team with your license and product number, they’ll make sure that they get this set up properly for you.
Updating QuickBooks in Cloud Hosting
Now, Jake, I’m going to ask you one question because this comes up. Most of the Intuit products now are on a subscription basis. If you set somebody up, let’s say you set them up in, we’ll just say, in 2023. If they’re in 2023 and then, in the fall and late in the fall of 2023, Intuit says, “Oh, so we’re going to update your subscription,” or “You have access to update your subscription.” How do you guys respond to that? Do clients need to reach out to you and tell you that they’ve got the latest product and license information?
Yes, mainly because we don’t know when and if a client wants to upgrade. Sometimes, when – for example – 2023 comes out, maybe the client wants to stick with 2022 for a little while longer to make sure all the bugs are out of 2023. So it’s up to the client to let us know, “Hey, I’m ready to upgrade.”
And then, the client themselves, you guys get Admin rights to your servers. So that means you can run your own QuickBooks updates if you want to. You can upgrade them yourselves if you want to from year to year. You’ll have the ability to do it.
Or if you want our support team to do it, you just drop us a ticket and say, “Hey, let’s go ahead and get this done.” We’ll take care of it for you and then kick it back over to you, and it’s all ready to go. So it’s really your preference on how you want to do it. But yes, they do need to contact us to let us know.
Good. I’m only asking because I’ve seen some people who just never bothered to get their QuickBooks updated. I think they took the view, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” However, it is generally to your benefit [to upgrade] within several months.
Lots of times, I tell people when the new version of QuickBooks comes out, “Wait,” as Jake said, “Let Mikey try it,” and let some of the bugs get worked out. So maybe November or December is a good time to actually move into your latest version of QuickBooks.
I’m going to go over into, I’m going to pull this up, and I’m seeing some questions. Let me just see if people are telling me what versions they’re in. Somebody said that they’re actually in Online Advanced. Tell me about Online. Is there any reason that you would do hosting for Online?
Sure. The first one, if you don’t mind, I’ll talk about 2020. So, for the question about 2020 Pro: Your license is going to expire – if it already hasn’t – here in mid-May or so. So you may want to reach out to your Intuit rep or Diane to get yourself updated.
There you go. Out to us, yes. We’ve been updating people for the last couple of months and putting emails out to remind them to get in touch. And pricing things are changing, and in many cases, we’re finding that depending upon what specific attributes people are using, if they’re using Payroll, and so on, moving into Enterprise can actually be a good move for them.
So reach out, and we’ll provide you with some quotes, some options, and so on. But yes, you want to move on that. Thanks.
QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online
So for Online, there are really two different types of products. There’s QuickBooks Desktop, and there’s QuickBooks Online. What we are doing here is we are hosting QuickBooks Desktop because Desktop, by its nature, does not have the ability for remote access. So by us installing QuickBooks on this server and putting your software file on the server, you are now running out of a full cloud solution, which just means you can go pick up a device – a brand new one – plug it in the internet, log into Summit, and carry on where you left off.
So this sort of answers the following question after that, which was, “So is the Summit virtual desktop just for convenience? Not everything that is available on the Desktop is available on Summit, right?” So this is more or less taking the native “stuck in a local environment” product and moving it to the cloud.
Now, it’s remotely accessible. So yes, it is convenient, but also, the application doesn’t support remote access. You can’t have the software on your local computer and then the file in the cloud and have that work very well. It’s just the nature of the software.
For Online, that’s more of the web browser-based version where you log in from a web browser. So, no, we do not host Online. It is not “hostable,” if that is a word. It’s just web browser-based. It’s their Online product.
But some people, when they get on QuickBooks Desktop, they just love it so much that once they go to Online, they maybe say, “Hey, this isn’t what I had before. I want to go back to Desktop.” So there’s some pros and cons between the two products.
Feel free to reach out to me if you want any more info on the differences between Desktop and Online.
Again, reach out to us, and I’ve got a very extensive blog article. We also like to share a spreadsheet that Hector Garcia did that shows you the differences between all the different layers of QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. There are definitely pros and cons to each, but so many companies want the job costing capabilities and the full set of Desktop features – that this is the way to do that transition into the cloud with the virtual desktop.
As Jake said, you don’t run the software from your PC and access the file out here. Everything is bundled up into this virtual desktop for you. It’s pretty slick.
Is Cloud Hosting Secure?
So I have put together – I call them “The Top 10 Questions for Jake.” We did a prior webinar where we really talked about the data security side and so many people for so long – and I’m sure there’s still some residual feelings that, “Gosh, data in the cloud or on a server ‘somewhere out in outer space’ we’ll call it – is not secure.” So why don’t you talk to us just briefly about that, Jake?
Of course, I’m happy we can get you a link to that prior webinar that’s on our website, where Jake really does a great job of addressing all sorts of aspects of security.
The first thing is we have seven data centers in North America. So, for that attendee from Canada, we have a data center in Vancouver, BC, and in Toronto. So we are up in the “Canada world,” so we’re good there. But then, we have five others in the US, and as I mentioned in the beginning, we run dedicated servers. So you’re completely isolated from everybody else out there. You’re on your own independent server.
And when we talk about the data being “in the cloud,” you are really just looking through a window and controlling our hardware because all of the data and the files live in our environment on our servers. So it’s not like your data’s jumping up and down across the internet subject to hijacking internet connections and things like that. To answer the question, “Is it comparable to web-based form security-wise?” Summit hosting with the Desktop product is going to be, by far, more secure than the Online product just because if anybody were to get on your internet connection, they would see your information going back and forth and be able to pull down your info.
Also, they run an AWS or an Azure backbone, if you’re familiar with that. It’s Amazon’s and Microsoft’s cloud environment, where they run farm servers. So, if one catches malware, it could spread to you. And some people with online products may notice a speed performance issue during peak hours because they’re sharing resources. And for data security – on us – we talked about TrueGrid earlier.
Next, we use Sentinel One as our antivirus anti-malware software. So it’s AI-driven, it’s pretty smart. It’s pretty cool how it works, but it will detect viruses and malware and alert our team, and then we will be able to take it from there. We also come with Guardicore. It’s our server segmentation software. So even if one of our other clients was to catch malware, it’s not going to spread to you laterally. That’s what Guardicore does. So we’d like to think of our security as our strength, not a weakness for us.
That’s terrific. And you know what? People who have their own standalone PCs – I have to tell you a story. It has been several years now, but I was working with a client; she was working on her own PC, and she said, “You know what? I’d like to install this Firefox.” I said, “Oh, well, that’s easy. I’ll help you.” And we went out – I had remote control, and it was the last time I ever did this – by the way. So I went out and helped to install Firefox, and everything blew up. Her whole computer just – it was horrible! I reached out to my I.T. company; this is way back before Summit. I reached out to my I.T. company and went, “Help! I just blew up a client’s computer!” And so they jumped in, and they went out and did a scan, and they found out she had 24 malware programs on her computer, and they fixed them.
I was so grateful. But I went, “No, I’m not a techie. I’m not going to go out and do that to anybody’s computer again.”
But the fact is, your personal computer is very, very vulnerable. For most people – I’d say for probably 98% of the people out there. And I heard a phrase the other day that I thought was really cute. The phrase was, “Free games come with free viruses.” So there you go, people on your computers. So a lot of free things. I mean, there’s a price, and most of those free things are dangerous. So just be careful.
Accessing Your Files From Anywhere
Alright, so the next thing I’ve got is “remote access.” So we’re talking about this, but what if I’m at a conference and I want to check on what’s going on?
Well, first, we can support it from anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter where you are. You can log in, and it doesn’t matter what device. It can be a PC, a Mac, a cell phone, a tablet, or a Chromebook; they all work. So you would just have an internet connection. And there are times when I don’t have internet. I’ll turn my cell phone hotspot on and turn on my data on my cell phone and run it through that, and it works great. So you really can gain access from anywhere that you have cell service, if you think of it that way, and then log in from any device anywhere in the world.
Terrific. So vacations, conferences, airports, et cetera, you can get there. You just want to make sure your connection is secure. But then, Summit is secure on your behalf as well.
Backing Up Your Cloud Data
Talk to us about backups. Every time you close QuickBooks, it says, “Oh, do you want to do a backup?” Of course, there are other things that we want to back up. So tell me about the backups.
Yes, you could run the backup service that you have within Intuit. What it’s going to do is make a backup like it normally would but within the software itself.
Summit will do backups for you, but it’s of the entire server. So it’s your software, it’s all of your files, all the PDFs and Word docs that you might have up there. Everything you’ve done will be there.
Our default retention is 15 days. So, new “day one” data will overwrite old “day 15” data, and it will just go in a big cycle. So, if you know that you made a mistake on a file – maybe that was two weeks old – reach out to Summit. We can roll back the file individually or roll back the server as a whole to that particular point in time to get you back the file that you needed.
We do offer extended backups as well. We can go up to 10 years if you need to. Some insurance companies need backups for longer, so we can do that as well. And then, it’s an every night thing (when people aren’t logged in.) But yes, it’s all included in your pricing for the 15-day retention.
So, if you want more than 15 days, you can go ahead and ask and change the date range.
QuickBooks Version Hosting
So, on the QuickBooks side, talk to me about which versions you will host. Single and multi-user, and how is the performance?
Yes. Any version: Pro, Premier, Accountant, Enterprise, even Enterprise Diamond, and Platinum Advanced Inventory, we can really host them all. When it comes down to the year, here’s what we tell people that we can host: it will work for any year that’s newer than 2018. If it’s older than 2018, we will install it on the server, and odds are it probably will work, but if for some reason it doesn’t based on error codes and whatnot, then we would have to basically turn that one away.
But for the most part, it should do just fine. Single and multi-user: That’s up to you. We can run both. You can have multiple people in one file at a time. You just need to know that for, let’s say, you needed three people in one file working at the same time, you would then need three Summit users, and you would need three users on your QuickBooks license. Then you can have three people, a.k.a. “devices,” logged into QuickBooks and working on the same file, all at the same time, pending that you have three each.
Cloud Hosting Performance
Performance. Enterprise actually goes up to 40 users now.
Right, exactly. So Pro is three, Premier is five, and Enterprise is 40. Right.
Performance-wise, our hardware is enterprise-grade. You can’t just go buy it off the shelf like you could on an in-house server or an in-house PC. Everything is full SSD [solid state drive] that we run. So, the performance is going to be noticeably different for you than running it on your local machine. It’ll be processing faster.
Just remember you’re just looking through a window and controlling our hardware. It’s all – that big engine – is all processing it for you. There’s not tons of internet data traveling up and down. So it just allows for a good performance. Also, being on dedicated servers, if you said, “Hey Jake, my server’s running slow,” we’ll do a server scope, and we’ll find out why it’s doing it. Is it the RAM? Is it the CPU?
What is actually causing the slowdown? Then, we can go ahead and apply resources to the server (depending on what it is) on the fly to get the server performance back up to where it needs to be. Because, like Diane said, we can host any third-party application. It doesn’t matter what it is. There’s FieldEdge, Service Fusion, ServiceTitan. There are all these different ones that we can host, and if you just have a large usage case and we need to add more beef to your engine or “juice to your engine,” if you will, to make it run faster, we can do that.
Cloud Hosting vs In-house Server
So, let’s just talk briefly about comparing using Summit to having an in-house server.
Sure, with “in-house,” you’ve typically got to start off with a large capital purchase, usually $3,000 to $5,000, just to purchase the hardware and get it in your building. And then, you would most likely have to have a server closet of some sort, maybe even a ventilation system, because it’s going to require some cooling in order to do it. And then, there’s some unforecastable cost on an in-house server. You’re going to need to have an I.T. person on staff or hire a third party, one that bills per hour. So let’s say a part was to fail or something like that, then you would have to pay them – what – $250 an hour to come in and do the work and the cost of parts. If a hard drive or something expensive were to fail, you really don’t know how much it’s going to cost each month, and it just can vary.
And then, the hardware on there has a three to five-year shelf life. So in three to five years, you’re going to have to purchase, spend more capital in order to get that hardware, and then pay the I.T. staff for the licensing.
There are no backups included. You have to do that. They have to handle all the security compliances for you, and they need to do the installation. It’s just very time-consuming and “cost-consuming” when you go in-house.
In Summit, you get 24/7 U.S.-based tech support, all the backups, and all those security compliances. That’s all included in your pricing. And then, we have 24/7 U.S.-based tech support. So you know what you’re going to pay every single month, and you know what you’re going to get.
It also helps with scalability. Let’s say maybe you bring on five new employees or bring on another company. With that in-house server, you’re going to have to spend a lot more money to add more hardware to it in order to take on the new workload.
With Summit, as you add users to your server, we give you more RAM and CPU at no charge. It’s included in your pricing. So, we will beef up the server or make it bigger and larger to take on the new workload for you. Scalability on an in-house server just isn’t what it used to be.
You know what – I’m just going to say, “Been there, done that.” It is expensive to have your own in-house server. We’re just to the point now where we’re able to – it takes some time to make the kinds of decisions that you need to make about if you’re not going to have an in-house server – for how do you handle things (which is the topic for another whole webinar)? Nevertheless, in-house servers are very costly. And if you don’t keep everything up and the security in place, you’re very vulnerable as well.
Let’s talk about specialty software. Now, this is a real pain point. I’m going to tell a story here before I let you answer this. I was at a conference about three years ago, and somebody called us up. They weren’t even really our normal clients, but they said, “Oh, I want this software. We’re solution providers.”
“I want the software, and I want it hosted by the other hosting, calling it the ‘other hosting’ solution.” And so we said, “Sure.” We put the order through. And I got to a conference about a week and a half, maybe two weeks later, and I got this angry email, and the person said, “We’ve been dependent on this other software to interact with our QuickBooks, and this hosting service won’t host it for us. And now we’ve made our transition.”
And I mean, they were really, really, very upset. It turned out that in order to get that specialty software, the hosting company was going to have to approve it, which was generally a three to six-month process, and then, maybe another three months for them to install it. And then, there was going to be a significant fee to go along with it. Needless to say, this person was very unhappy and needless to say, it put a big wrench in the conference because I felt terrible.
They hadn’t told me that they had this other software they were dependent on. We now have all sorts of disclaimers. When somebody orders something, we say check with – if you’re doing hosting – make sure your hosting company can host this particular software, and so on. So now we make people sign off on a whole variety of things, but at that time, it wasn’t quite as common, and we didn’t realize that they were going to get in this very tight and bad situation without being able to use this particular other software they had grown dependent on.
So talk to me about that, Jake.
Yes, the short answer is we can host anything because we’re running our dedicated servers, and we even do web servers and SQL servers and some of the most complex stuff out there. So, any application you have, you could bring it to us. And then, if you let us know ahead of time what the name of the application is, I tend to go out and check the system requirements for each app and just see if there are any things that we need to know anything about the software that maybe is not necessarily a red flag, but just a caution flag like, “Hey, this one might need SQL,” or “Hey, this one is single use only,” such as Quicken, (you can only use one user at a time for Quicken.) So, stuff like that.
But if you want to run it through me first to doublecheck and get confirmation. Absolutely, I just need to know the name of the software, and I’ll do the work for you and make sure it’s available. But in short, we can host anything.
That’s incredibly important for certain companies to be able to have. They’ve grown dependent on a particular outside software that either integrates or doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks, but if they want it in the same general space – they should know about that.
Cloud Hosting Storage
So, let’s talk about storage.
By default, the server is going to come with 40 gigs (Gigabytes) of storage. A typical QuickBooks file is what? I don’t really ever see any more than two or three gigs. I mean, yes, I’ve seen some fives and some tens, but usually, that’s about the file size they are. So we don’t charge per company file, which is another thing that’s a con with Online, as you have to pay per company file. With us, you can have as many company files on the server as you want, and it’s no extra charge.
So, in theory, with 40 gigs, you should be able to fit quite a few files up there and then also copy and paste your files up there, like PDFs, Word docs, and all that. But if you need to add more storage – yes – we can add more on the fly. It’s relatively inexpensive for extra storage, so you would just let us know, “Hey, I think I’m going to need this much more.” We can apply it to the server and call it good.
Summit Hosting Uptime
Great. So yes, we ran into that recently, and you were very quick to make the change. So what about uptime?
Yes, uptime is a guaranteed 99.9% uptime. Our SLA [Service-Level-Agreement] that we send our customers upon new signup lists out what Summit commits to the Customer as our agreement to them. And one of those is the uptime. So yes, 99.9%.
Yes, that exceeds most expectations. I don’t think my internet service provider is up at that level of support.
Summit Cloud Hosting Support
What if we need support? How do we go about getting that?
Yes, so we’re all 24/7 U.S.-based tech support. We have an average of 20-minute response times. We do ask that you set up a ticket first if you can. Then, if you would prefer a phone call, you can put in the ticket, “Please call me,” and then we’ll call you. So we do have phone support. We just prefer the ticket be set up first so we can pull up the server information, pull up your account, and confirm that we’re speaking to the right person and that everything lines up properly.
Then, we can reach out and give you a call for support. But our team is also very good with just, “Hey, we have this issue,” we fix it, we drop you a quick note and say, “Hey, we saw the issue, we fixed it. You’re good to go” and call it a day. So, it allows for our response times to be really, really quick by utilizing the ticketing system.
Then, I’m going to answer this one: Disaster recovery. As long as you’ve got a PC and you can connect to the internet, everything that you had is there: fire, hurricane, tornado, flood, any of those things. Maybe you’re in the middle of a storm area, and if you can get far enough away to get logged in, you can get out to your Summit desktop.
Now, we do have something special. I want to make sure, and those of you who have hung in here, our giveaway results. We picked the number five out ahead of time. And so Jake, why don’t you tell people what they’ll get? And Laura is going to name; she’s going to go in and find the person that falls into that category.
Did we go with the Amazon card? Yes, we did. My marketing team helped me out with that. Vicky’s here, but I think we went with the $250 Amazon card.
That’s what you said. You told us, and I went, “Wow, that’s a new all-time high for a giveaway.” So, Laura, our COO, has gone out and selected the person that’s sitting in position number five in our list. Laura, who is that?
Hi Diane. Our Summit Hosting winner today is [name-not-shown-for-privacy]. Congratulations.
Great. So we’ve got your email. And Raquel, our Air Traffic Controller, is going to reach out to you and get that taken care of, make arrangements, and coordinate between you and Jake and his team, and you’ll have a good time shopping on Amazon. So congratulations!
Contacting Summit Hosting
We’ve got – if you need an assessment – you can get your special offer from Summit (in addition to that lovely giveaway card). If you enter this code – you’re going to have the slides – if you click on Summit Hosting right here and then put this code in, you get your first 30 days free. I think that’s really very generous. It gives you enough time to get things set up to try it out and make sure that you love it just like we do. So be sure you use that Summit30 code to get 30 free days.
If you have questions, contact Jake; there’s the contact information, and let him know that you watched our webinar. That’s going to help even if you forget the code and you just end up calling in – let Jake know, and he’ll make sure you get that extra benefit.
And then, as with everything we’re wrapping up, if I can go through real quickly, we have Job costs and various QuickBooks resources BuildYourNumbers.com.
- We have our online job cost training (Construction and Management Program – CAMP).
- We have a prebuilt construction template for QuickBooks (AccountingPRO™).
- If you want to know what your employees really cost per hour, we have the Employee Labor Cost and Burden Calculator (eCPA).
- For accurate reports every month to go along with your QuickBooks desktop reports, we have the Month-End Closing Checklist.
- We’ll help you choose the right fit for QuickBooks and Enterprise, depending on file size, employees, your needs, and lots of other things.
So, for questions or conversation, contact the Info Plus team at this phone number or write to email@example.com.
We did it, Jake.
Well done. Nice Job. Good timing.
Great! Thanks so much, everybody, for attending, and keep your eyes open for our next Better Numbers, Better Business presentation. We’d love to have you here. Take care. Bye.
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