Cloud Migration Assistance – No Pain, All Gain

cloud migration assistance is always provided by Cloud9 Real TimeWhile cloud technologies offer many valuable business related benefits,
 – full-scale cloud transition is not as easy as it may seem at first glance

Taking your first cloud migration steps can be a challenging proposition, especially for cloud newbies. Everyone needs a helping hand when it comes to cloud technology; more precisely cloud migration assistance.

See also: Small Business Cloud Migration (part 1)

Cloud migration is something your business can do itself, one way or another, with greater or lessor effort and required time. However, if you want to migrate to cloud for your business successfully, then cloud migration assistance should be your number one option. It’s not surprising that almost one in two business owners look for outside help and guidance during the cloud migration and transition process. There may be too many new, unfamiliar aspects for your IT staff and infrastructure to handle successfully while introducing the cloud into your business and IT process initially.

Cloud migration assistance can easily be the cheapest and most efficient way to go through this critical period smoothly and with no pain at all.

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Small Business Data Loss Protection –
Infographic Shows Data Breach Can End Your Business

Infographic: Lack of small business data loss protection can be catostrophic
Cloud security and small business data loss cost are subjects that
we have covered frequently at the Cloud9 SMB blog over the years

a small business data loss reality check is in storeWhile it might appear like your small business has far more data than you’ll ever know what to do with, your small business data loss could be expensive and even catastrophic. According to a new poll and infographic from digital copy tech giant Stratix Systems, small business tech pros estimate that lacking adequate small business data loss protection could cost their businesses an average of $450,000.

“This underscores the point that a company’s data is crucial to the business. And secondly, many or most businesses, but not all, understand that their data is vital, in spite of the fact that they often are not backing it up daily,” says Robert J. Chandler, Cloud9 Real Time President and Founder.

cloud summit explains small business data loss protectionIn fact, when it comes to small business data loss protection, most IT professionals are not being excessively vigilant. Less than 30% of IT pros polled indicated that they had completed a full backup that day, and shockingly nearly 20% said that their most recent backup was in in the prior month.

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Ransomware Attack! An Insidious New Malware Threat

ransomware attacks are on the rise
In recent months the new “ransomware attack” threat

has leapt onto mainstream news and for good reason

The volume of reported ransomware attacks planet-wide increased by over 800 per cent in the past 12 months ending July 2014 according to antivirus maker, Panda. Concern is such that in June of this year, the Australian Federal Police spoke to media urging local businesses to report any instances of a ransomware attack.

Also in June, the FBI made a high profile announcement of the successful “disruption” of a major, global ransomware attack ring. Unfortunately, it took less than two months for the criminal network to get back up and running in full swing.

The concept of a ransomware attack is dreadfully simple: Malware is surreptitiously installed on your PC and then takes control and locks you out, encrypting your most valuable data. A ransom note then appears on your computer – either via email or web page – demanding a ransom, or your data and applications will remain inaccessible.

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Cloud Computing Anxiety:
Overcoming Your Fears of a New Paradigm

Cloud Computing Anxiety is prevalent today

Pavlov and Cloud Computing Anxiety: How Might We
Ever Reconcile Our New Paradigm Fears & Phobias?

It is intriguing to ponder why some wrestle with cloud computing anxiety and the new paradigm of cloud-based data management. It often seems more secure to have our most important files and software applications in close physical proximity to our station where we can be comfortable that the server where it all resides is nearby. Similar to ‘Pavlov’s dogs’ we are pre-conditioned towards the familiar as the safer option.  For instance when we believe we must own the applications and the location where they reside “because its safer and more convenient that way.”

See also – Server Still Under The Mattress?

cloud summit explains paperless office steps“After all we own our home, our vehicles, and our money. And yet even that is not the truth in its entirety,” writes Don Cleveland at the industry newsletter CloudTweaks.  “For most of us, however, the mortgage holder can be considered at least a part owner who requires us to have insurance and make payments.  And if all of us decided to visit our money at the bank on the same day we would be disappointed yet we rest assured that the government has guaranteed it, and the banks are taking care of it.”

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Sleeter Group Cloud9 Review – A One Year Assessment

Sleeter Group Cloud9 Review began with its move to Cloud9 Real TimeIn recent years Sleeter Group’s Doug Sleeter has written often about how small business owners who are “addicted” to desktop version software should get their mission-critical desktop software hosted in the cloud.

“At The Sleeter Group, we moved our whole back office (QuickBooks and all of our add-ons) to Cloud9 Real Time in January 2013. It was one of those “practice what we preach” decisions, and boy are we glad we did it. Our hope was that by using a hosting solution, we could move to the cloud without having to retrain all our staff and switch to new workflows all at the same time.”

True to his commitment last year, Doug Sleeter is back with a Sleeter Group Cloud9 review on how hosting QuickBooks and back office applications with Cloud9 is working out for The Sleeter Group.

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Cloud Computing Technology Infographic:
SMB State of Data Backup Storage & Disaster Readiness

cloud computing technology infographicInstead of a soft cumulus white cloud image, the cloud computing business should use a hurricane – that’s the best way to visualize how rapidly cloud computing technology is expanding today.

See also: Cloud Computing Disaster Readiness – Be Prepared!

cloud computing technology infographic thumbnailCloud Computing Technology Statistics

To hear Jack Woods at Silicon Angle, there’s some sobering growth forecasted and he lists 20 recent cloud computing statistics you can utilize to build your case for why your company or practice needs the cloud or to appreciate why you should consider it immediately.

If your business isn’t using cloud computing technology, you risk dropping behind in the marketplace. Cloud computing technology makes it simpler to manage, share and store content and data, and the statistics show that your competitors have most likely already moved to the cloud or are about to make the leap.

Recent Cloud Computing Technology Growth Forecasts

Gartner forecasts that global IT expenditure will likely surpass $3.7 trillion this year, and the senior analyst at IDC estimates that ninety percent of the growth fueling the IT industry from 2013 to 2020 will be determined by mobile, social, cloud and big-data technologies.

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Webinar Thurs Dec 19th: Enjoy Total Peace-of-Mind
– Essentials of a Business Disaster Recovery Plan

Business data disasters come in many different forms:

Business Disaster Recovery Plan

Fires and floods and hurricanes oh my! Could your business survive a disaster? Join Cloud9 Real Time and learn how to put a business disaster recovery plan and cloud strategy in place and how it could save your business during a worst case scenario.

Free Webinar | Plan for the Worst
How to Avert Disaster with a Cloud Strategy

Thurs Dec 19, 2013 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PST

Local server crashes, hard drive failures, disgruntled employees and of course the all too unfortunate natural disasters. When the storm hits – how prepared is your business or practice? And what about your clients or customers?

Every company should have a Business Disaster Recovery Plan.
– Here are the essentials to get you started:

1. Offsite backup of all business data. Tape backups are not reliable. Backups need to be regularly scheduled and automatic.

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QuickBooks Cloud Backup, Best Practices!

[Editor’s note: Best practices advice from a real pro:  All Cloud customers using QuickBooks should avoid the risk of a problematic bloated TLG file by running an occasional manual backup and verification. Los Altos CPA and accounting technologist Victoria Cameron provides a good tutorial just added to Cloud9’s support Knowledge Base.  Sure we spoil you with a fully managed custom solution, and everything is always backed up and disaster ready, but don’t forget, the basics still apply!]*

One of the best parts of Cloud9’s hosted QuickBooks service is that your data is always backed up, painlessly, every night. So now you never need to use the backup routine in QuickBooks for making periodic backups – Right? Wrong!

Victoria Cameron QuickBooks Cloud Backup guest post at Cloud9 Real Time

QuickBooks Cloud Backup Done Correctly

Best practices in maintaining a healthy QuickBooks file on Cloud9 still dictates performing a manual QuickBooks Cloud Backup on a regular basis. Not using the actual QuickBooks Cloud Backup process can lead to trouble with your data file down the road. The reason for it are three little letters – TLG.

The .TLG file is one of several files that QuickBooks creates every time you open your company file in a new place. The main file has the extension .QBW. Then there is a .QBW.ND file which helps the QuickBooks Database Server manage access to the file.

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Who Uses the Cloud? You Do, So Simplify!

Robert J. Chandler Cloud ComputingAre you still wondering – who’s using the cloud?

You’ve been hearing the hype about the cloud for a while. Perhaps you’ve even been thinking about making the leap to hosting your applications in the cloud.

Together in the Cloud by Robert ChandlerIn many cases, you’re using the cloud and may not even realize it. After all, your email is hosted online, even if it is downloaded to your email client. You pay bills and may even sign your kids up for little league – all online.

Small- to mid-sized businesses use the cloud for access, scalability and reliability. You can access your client database while on vacation in Bermuda, increase your storage capacity if you get a new customer or client, and have next to no down time.

So the question isn’t really who uses the cloud, but why not make better use of the cloud? If you are not making good use of the cloud, examine your reasons. Here are some pointed out in Together in the Cloud

  • Fear
  • Laziness
  • Comfort Zone
  • Isolationism
  • Protectionism
  • Hidden Agendas

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Cloud Accounting: Pros w/ Few Cons

CPA Practice Advisor Cloud Accounting Hosting AwardMany small company owners & managers know the benefits of maintaining the business books; they also know just how time intensive it can be!

Proper bookkeeping is solely for the benefit of operating a company; it is a must for business owners to keep up to date with their P&L and revenue targets.*

QuickBooks Cloud Hosting & More!From CPA Practice Advisor -

Get the White Paper – A Specialized Cloud for Accountants

Presently there are MANY accounting software packages available off the shelf, with some being industry standards, and some being more niche specialized.  Amidst the decision-matrix there is a growing move towards selecting cloud-based accounting and virtual server software hosting, which functions and is accessed via the web. This basically means that the bookkeeping and accounting processes happen online, rather than localized to an individual PC.

Cloud Accounting Concerns

One essential concern company owners have with cloud accounting is data security. This in itself should not be an overriding concern; cloud access is only granted by permission from authorized account holders. The best cloud hosting companies invest significant capital in security and backup.  Essentially, data may actually be safer than if it was stored locally. For example, data could be lost through theft of hardware or failure when stored on an office computer or server. Such risk is minimised when data is stored in the cloud and protected by high levels of security and backup procedure.

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Cloud Services for Law Firms Gaining Popularity

Cloud Services for Law Firms and Law Firm Cloud Computing Servers from Cloud9 Real Time

Cloud Services for Law Firms is gaining traction among attorneys for several good reasons.

Advocates and early adapters of Cloud Services for Law Firms maintain that its chief  advantages include economy, simplicity and accessibility.

Get the white paper: Cloud9 Legal Cloud Report

See also: Interest in Paperless Law Firm Capabilities Picking Up

Cloud Services for Law Firms now include legal practice management solutions, document management and data storage, secure document and information platforms, hosted secure email exchanges, digital dictation services and billing/time tracking.  Cloud-based SME platforms are innovative, economical and increasingly viable for legal practices of all sizes.

Cloud Services for Law Firms Advantages

Law firm cloud computing advantages include reduced overhead due to decreased IT costs, increased ease of IT maintenance and support,

Taking advantage of law firm cloud computing allows attorneys to focus on providing legal services while the cloud provider updates, upgrades and maintains the practice management, accounting, time tracking, and other applications on both a regular and emergency basis.

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Build Immediate Value With Small Business Cloud Servers

Small Business Cloud servers can do it all from Cloud9 better faster cheaper saferHow can small business cloud servers add immediate
real value to a small business
 or professional practice?

Small Business Cloud Servers technology has ushered in new possibilities to enhance small business IT processes by leveraging cloud computing technology at a rapid pace.   From unleashing untapped IT resources with cloud based servers, to allowing staff members to use their personally selected BYOD smart devices for work, to reducing IT costs operating and maintenance costs, operating from the cloud allows businesses to remain focused on core business objectives.

small business cloud servers webinarsThere are a myriad of ways in which small business cloud servers can accelerate small business value.  A qualified cloud service provider can assist your small business to implement best practices for your specific needs, your customers, and your overall operational model.

small business cloud servers from cloud9 real time are award winningHow To Lower IT Costs With
Small Business Cloud Servers

Small Business Cloud Servers allow small companies to rapidly scale and explore technologies that are needed when they are needed, while foregoing the total cost of owning and maintaining such technologies.  

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The 10 Key Things To Look For in Cloud Service Providers

cloud service providers must be checked out carefully

Good Cloud Service Providers : Ten Attributes 

Small business cloud computing is growing rapidly with increasing number of new players.  If you are just beginning to look for cloud service providers, here are the top considerations you should hold firmly in mind.

See also: Just How Secure Is Your Cloud?

1. Top Technical Expertise

Cloud service providers should not be approached like a commodity:  it is not as elementary as providing you with the lowest rate computer in a server farm.  Reliable cloud computing demands much technical expertise to initiate the right system that warranties sufficient security for your data and allows you to run your business without interruption.  Key consideration should be placed on the quality of the cloud service provider’s support team and their technical adroitness.

*Sources: CloudTweaks and Sleeter Goup

2. Trust

You will be migrating confidential enterprise data to a third-party server. You really must able to trust the cloud computing provider.  Query their representatives and determine if they are they team with whom you can trust your confidential corporate data. Ask for references and client testimonials. Research cloud service providers completely before trusting them with your resources. Also, look for their industry accreditations and awards.

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White Paper: Paperless Tax Preparation w/ Paper Flexibility

Paperless Tax Preparation White Paper

With our third and biggest annual Cloud Summit behind us, we will be recapping the benefits proffered by the Summit’s showcase vendors, beginning with an overview and white paper from SurePrep, a cloud technology that garnered a lot of excitement among attendees for its paperless tax preparation platfor..

Integrating traditional paper-based processes with paperless tax preparation technology offers tax and accounting practitioners the organizational and review flexibility of paper plus the efficiency of a digital workflow

White Paper author David Wyle, CPA, leads the SurePrep team as president and CEO. Prior to SurePrep, he founded ePace! Software and was a CPA with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. Over the years, David has emerged as a leading voice in the tax and accounting profession, specifically in the areas of the paperless office.

SUREPREP paperless work flow on cloud9Over the last decade, the accounting and tax professions have undergone a slow and steady evolution to the paperless office—a transition that began in the area of audit. As audit professionals started to reap the rewards of more efficient, paperless tax preparation workpapers, tax practitioners took note and soon followed suit—putting the tax department at the center of the paperless movement.

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Cloud Threat Horizon – the Big Three Concerns to Watch

Cloud Computing Threats - Look before you leap

While no longer in its infancy, the era of cloud computing services is relatively new and must circumnavigate a number of challenges that could impede further growth. 

“The best way a company can protect itself is to team up with reputable providers and to avoid unintentionally compromising data security by rushing to escape limitations caused by metered bandwidth.”

Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented pace.  Large and small businesses are accelerating their bandwidth consumption as they increasingly make use of the many opportunities the cloud has to offer.  Companies particularly appreciate the availability of services that were once only available to enterprise-level firms, such as data storage, security, billing support, and business voice.

A recent ISF survey found two major trends that are accelerating the cloud computing explosion, and therein lies the rub – 

The smart enterprise: The need to boost efficiency and optimize the use of assets will continue driving organizations to greater use of cloud computing, including both “public cloud”, “private cloud” and “hybrid cloud”. Organizations should make best use of these without increasing complexity and costs.

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Hosted QuickBooks: Understand Your Service Options First

Hosted QuickBooks for the Modern World of Business

award winning cloud9 hosted quickbooks software hosting21st century technology is altering the way businesses and their CPAs do accounting. The agencies that stay on the cutting edge of this trend will benefit from improved efficiency, reduced IT costs and greater flexibility. However, embracing this technology also can mean considering new business models.

Hosted QuickBooks is a simple concept

A case in point: The way hosted QuickBooks works is easy to grasp. Instead of paying a licensing fee to have software installed on your local desktop or office server, you pay a monthly service fee for a hosted QuickBooks provider to host the application remotely. You then access the hosted QuickBooks from any computer, and because your data is now as well hosted on the provider’s remote servers, anyone who uses the hosted QuickBooks system sees the data in real time.

See also: Cloud9 Nabs Top Accounting Cloud Hosting Award

Get the: Accounting Cloud White Paper

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ABCs of Cloud Computing Accounting, a Basic Rationale

21st century cloud computing accounting

Cloud Accounting and Storage: The Twenty First Century Way to Account for YOUR Business*

When a small business buys an accounting or tax preparation application, like Intuit, Drake or Sage, typically its installed on one or two computers and stored within a local network where individuals access the integral business and financial information. However, if the local network or server or application(s) crashes, the information is lost, and users must rely on the backup – assuming it was backed up.

*Sources: CloudTweaks.com and Sleeter.com

The popularity of Cloud Computing Accounting Hosting has grown dramatically over the last five years.  The poster child for this movement is (of course) Cloud9 Real Time,* but there are hundreds  perhaps thousands, of business software applications now being provided securely and cost effectively over the Internet using a reliable cloud computing host.

*See: A Specialized Cloud For Accountants – White Paper

In recent years, increasingly, accounting firms (and small businesses in general) are turning to cloud computing services to host their accounting and tax software. Instead of installing the accounting application on your local desktop computer, you can utilize a cloud service and access your company’s financial information online.  Continue reading

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SmartVault Accounting for Professionals on Cloud9

Using SmartVault accounting with Cloud9

As a SmartVault accounting professional, you understand the value cloud services can bring to your practice –

 – helping you boost efficiency and drive more profitability into your business. But how do you take the next step in making it happen for your firm? Simple, SmartVault accounting.

See also – Cloud9 Featured Partner: SmartVault

Look across the workflows in your practice that are the most paper and time intensive, pick an area to focus on, pick a few clients to test a new workflow with – and measure the results. Sound easy enough? (Don’t worry, we’ll help you get there…)

CLICK TO REGISTER:  Weds Sept 5th 1PM-2PM CDT

SmartVault accounting and Document Cloud Management & StorageIn this interactive webinar, we’ll show you how SmartVault accounting can be integrated into common workflows in your practice – tax preparation, bookkeeping, “clean up” and virtual CFO services – so that you can work more efficiently, be more responsive to your clients, and ultimately deliver more profit to your practice.

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New Infographic: Assessing Cloud Accounting Applications

INFOGRAPHIC cloud-accounting-software

The ideas of cloud computing and cloud accounting are simple.

The accounting and other office applications are on the Internet, which CPA practices do not need to purchase, load, or maintain. There isn’t anyneed to hire technicians because these firms only need a broadband Web connection and a browser. Gone are the network switches, operating systems, applications, and servers at the local area. For cloud-borne operations, such things belong to the cloud, the Internet, and the cloud computing provider.

Infographic source: CloudTweaks

A CPA or other accounting firm can benefit from cloud computing in different ways. One, the overhead is quite low. System administration, upgrades, and maintenance become the responsibility of the supplier and everything happens in the cloud. Therefore, the practice need not pay a manager to monitor any software/hardware work which usually occurs during weekends or at night. For a small firm of 100 employees, cloud computing software typically costs 50% less than software installed in the firm’s premises, in a span of 4 years.

OPEN INFOGRAHIC

Remember us. Cloud9 Real Time was voted Best Accountant’s Cloud by more accounting  professionals. Get a free demo or take a 7-day test drive and discover why Cloud9 is the favorite cloud computing provider in accounting today!