This article describes the challenges of running QuickBooks remotely and the solutions available.
QuickBooks is a powerful and easy-to-use financial management system. Growing businesses find QuickBooks Solutions advantageous because of their simplicity and scalability (ability to support up to 30 concurrent users and handle large amounts of data and transactions simultaneously).
However, a common problem with QuickBooks is remote access. Many businesses today need more flexibility to use QuickBooks from anywhere. MyQuickCloud now offers you multiple ways to access QuickBooks and/or your Company Files remotely over the Internet.
More and more users want access to QuickBooks remotely and concurrently, for a variety of reasons. Key people travel frequently, one or more staff members are in different locations, or an accountant needs access to your Company Financial information. You can certainly send backups to each other, but you lose the flexability of a static and centralized database. Some accountants will use the Accountant's copy, but then both the accountant and users have restrictions. So, the idea that people can be in different locations and access the same data file simultaneously is becoming more popular.
At MyQuickCloud, we like to keep things simple. While providing multiple options to meet your QuickBooks Hosting or data access needs, we make it very affordable as well. If you have never worked in QuickBooks Multi-user Mode before, let us setup a Demo of your company and let you see how easy and functional it is to use. We have support staff ready to guide you through the process when you are ready to make the transition.
QuickBooks Managed Hosting: Multi-user access to your QuickBooks Company Files anywhere, anytime you need it.
So browsing on the Inernet, we can find a lot of frustrated users trying to find their way around this:
- How can two people share a QuickBooks file over the internet?
- How do we share Quickbooks over The Internet?
- How safe is QuickBooks remote access?
There are multiple ways of accessing QuickBooks remotely and we will be discussing them in detail.
QuickBooks is a file based solution like MS Access, and does not have any Client/Server capability, this explains why its Remote Access features are limited.
It has been designed to be used on a Local Area Network, but today QuickBooks files are getting bigger and even LAN usage can be slow.
There is generaly no single answer to extending QuickBooks beyond the LAN, so we will examine the different possibilities and rank them accordingly.
We will then see how MyQuickCloud can help in providing an efficient way of extending QuickBooks.
Solution: QuickBooks Managed Hosting
QuickBooks Managed Hosting provides you with your own Cloud Server with your version of QuickBooks intalled.
With your Cloud, you won't need to have QuickBooks installed on your local computer anymore, and you won't have to worry about losing your data:
- QuickBooks Desktop Edition is setup on your Cloud Server with your own license (any version or QuickBooks)
- All QuickBooks features are supported (bank statements, Direct Deposit, printing, Excel exports, invoice emails...)
- It is accessible securely 24/7 from any web browser
- You don't need QuickBooks installed locally anymore
- Your data is saved and backed up automatically every day
- You can add/remove users remote access as you wish
- Each user has his own Cloud Desktop
- You can start adding more applications to your Cloud (Excel, MS Office, connectors...)
QuickBooks And Virtualization (Cloud)
For best performances and easy maintenance, QuickBooks now recommands a central installation approach where QuickBooks Application and data files are on a multi-sessions server (Windows 2008 Server) and users access it through Remote Desktop Services. We have seen this for QuickBooks Enterprise (above).
But how to achieve the same for any version of QuickBooks (Pro, Premium or Enterprise), well Virtualization might be an answer: servers are also useful for other purposes, such as email hosting and file sharing. Rather than purchasing servers for each application, savvy organizations are buying one machine and using virtualization to create several virtual server instances to fulfill their various needs. Included for free with Windows Server 2008 R2 andWindows Server 2008, virtualization technology helps companies make the most of their servers.
So when deciding whether or not to use RDS and centralise your QuickBooks installation, keep in mind that it’s possible the server needed for RDS could also be leveraged for other applications. It may even be enough to support much, if not all, of your business applications.
QuickBooks In The Cloud
For smaller organization, the Cloud is an even more attractive option (cheaper and simpler): instead of doing the virtualisation yourself (buying a server and configuring it), you could just buy a virtual server from a Cloud provider.
The Cloud server would cost a fraction of a real server and you won't have to worry about installation and maintenance. QuickBooks and your data file will be on the virtual server and users will connect to it through Remote Desktop.
MyQuickCloud QuickBooks Managed Hosting offers a Cloud server for your businesss with QuickBooks configured for your need accessible from anywhere with just a web browser.
QuickBooks Enterprise & Remote Desktop Services
Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a technology offered by Microsoft Windows Server that allows multiple users to access applications, data or virtual desktops located on a central server. This technology was formerly known as “Terminal Services” in Windows Server 2003 and is now one part of a greater set of virtualization technologies offered by RDS.
With QuickBooks Enterprise, you can take advantage of Windows Terminal Services to access your software and data remotely AND you get the power and additional features in Enterprise. In essence, you access your server and both Enterprise and your data are there. This is different than the traditional use the software on your computer and access the data on the server. Many organizations overlook Enterprise because of price, but most prospective users don't know what all Enterprise can do nor what all comes with the initial purchase. And best of all, as long as you have an active Full Service Plan, you'll NEVER pay for the software again and the annual full service plan costs less than a multi-version of QuickBooks Premier. (The first year includes the Full Service Support plan which gives you unlimited tech support, 10 GB of free online backup and the new version when it rolls out - just to name a couple.) To have remote access in addition to more powerful features and tighter security can be a good solution for a business.
This is the latest and most complete solution for QuickBooks users. It is more complex to put in place and can become quite expensive.
Outside the QuickBooks licences, two areas make the cost and complexity jump:
- Server costs: requires a server with Windows 2008 and mutiple terminal service licenses.
- Access to RDS server for remote users: the server itself should not be on the internet for security reasons, so you need another server (TS Gateway) to allow connections from the internet.
These can easily be solved by using MyQuickCloud Remote Access:
- Turn any computer into a Windows Terminal server: use your existing QuickBooks server and allow multiple users to connect simultaneoulsy.
- Access it securely from any web browser: no setup required for your users, just a web browser and an internet connection
MyQuickCloud Remote Access transforms your desktop computer into a Cloud Server accessible at anytime from anywhere.
QuickBooks Over Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop is a Miscrosoft Windows component that allows a user to access applications and data on a remote computer over a network, it is free and already installed on Windows.
Using Remote Desktop a user can log-in to his computer remotely as if he/she were in front of it. Remote Desktop is part of Windows and a proven and secure way to access your computer remotely. It is far superior to commercial remote screen solutions, more secure and requires no installation (already part of Windows).
QuickBooks users can take advantage of Remote Desktop for working remotely:
If all users have a computer at the office, then they could use Remote Desktop to connect to their computers and run QuickBooks remotely.
The best way to use Remote Desktop would be to have Windows Server (2008) installed at the office and all users to login to it remotely (Windows 2008 server support multi-sessions). That way only one computer is needed to run QuickBooks. QuickBooks file could also reside on the server as well to further improve performances.
Remote Desktop is normally limited to the LAN, but it can easily be made accessible from anywhere using MyQuickCloud Remote Access.
Windows 2008 Server can be expensive (unless you already have one), but MyQuickCloud Remote Access let you transform any desktop computer into a Cloud Server accessible at anytime from anywhere.
Self Hosting - Multiple Users, Simultaneously And Remotely
MyQuickCloud also offers a self hosting option, which is a downloadable software. The "Administrator" downloads the software to a computer that's used as the host. From the host, various users that the administrator configures will be able to access certain applications and files within the hosts computer without disrupting the hosts or other users sessions.
The advantage of self hosting is bridging the gap between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online by bringing the end user the functionality of QuickBooks Desktop but with the freedom (simultaneous multiuser remote access) of the QuickBooks Online.
As for security, the data never leaves the hosts computer like a cloud based solution. The data is only accessible through the MQC portal the host configures. Since the data never goes anywhere it can't be accessible through the internet or even by MQC. It's an end to end reverse VPN that is the first of it's kind available to the open market via a retail offering. Larger corporates use this technology via full IT Teams with the background and know how of setting up intranet services. MyQuickCloud offers this option to small and medium businesses without the need for an IT Team.MyQuickCloud Self-Hosting
QuickBooks Online (SaaS)
This came out a few years ago and many organizations use it. If your accounting needs are simple, this can be a good option. As long as you have Internet access, you can work in the data file and can have multiple users. You're always in the most current version and someone else takes care of the backups. You pay a monthly fee (these can sometimes be discounted if you work with a ProAdvisor). If you've used QuickBooks before, this will look different, but you'll learn! You can have your desktop data converted to Online QuickBooks (and vice versa) and frequently not all data converts the way you want, so do take the time to read Intuit's comments on converting and make a backup before converting. Online QuickBooks does not have all the features found in QuickBooks Pro, nor as many reports. If you have inventory or need job/project costing, this option will not work.
It is a good choice for businesses new to QuickBooks as it offers a simple way to get started for a reasonable cost ($9.95 to $34.95 per month). But your data is stored outside your network, you are dependent on intuit quality of service (down times, outage, slow network, security...) and the functionality is limited (reports, add-ons..).
QuickBooks Over VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) offers a way to securely connect to an Office network (LAN) remotely. Once the VPN connection is established, the user gets access to any network device on the network.
Basically a VPN allows people outside the office LAN to connect to the LAN and thus gain access to QuickBooks file (on a shared folder for instance). Any user connected using a VPN can then open QuickBooks exactly the way they would do it at the office.
It sounds like the perfect solution, it is secure, centralized, does not require a computer per user at the office and does not require extra training to get started.
Unfortunately, QuickBooks performances over a VPN are poor due to its use of Windows File Sharing. Moreover, Intuit does not support QuickBooks over a VPN, so it is better to look for other solutions until performances improve.