By: Gene Marks CPA
The Marks Group PC

A couple of years ago my basement flooded. I felt like screaming when I realized I didn’t have any back up plans and that my company’s data was lost. Instead, that basement flood motivated me to make another big decision – to move my desktop accounting software to the cloud.

But first let’s go back to the incident by reviewing some relevant details. They’re important, OK? It was raining. I had a sump pump. I also had my company’s server in the basement of my home. What I did not have was a working sump pump or any back up protection for the aforementioned company server. I think you’re starting to see where this is going.

I ditched the server – and moved my QuickBooks Desktop and other accounting-based applications to Right Networks, so they could manage it all for me in the cloud. Within a year, my business was significantly changed by this complete cloud solution.

For starters, we suddenly became really, really mobile.

Instead of being restricted to an in-house accounting system, we were freed to travel, work from home, work from client offices – even work in the air – and connect to our data wherever we wanted. More importantly, we could now do this on any device – iPads, tablets, and laptops. The impact was tremendous. Invoices were done while still at client sites. Expenses were submitted on the fly. Order histories and open accounts receivable could be immediately accessed. Notes on customers, scheduled services, tasks and documents could be pulled up and reviewed. Chargeable hours went up – along with our profits.

Our database security vastly improved.

I’m sure you can imagine that if my server could be victimized by a basement flood, our data inside the server was no better protected. Up until the incident I (like many of my clients) was careless about updating our security software and operating systems. I assumed we were backing everything up, but who really knows, right? Of course, I could’ve been paying my IT guy to do all this but he was expensive and, frankly, I found that for every one thing he fixed, three things broke. So I let things go, which was pretty irresponsible. But now…a huge difference. Our data is secured and backed up by professionals. The monthly cost is less than I would’ve paid for two hours of traditional IT service and who knows how much this would’ve cost me if there was an actual breach or malware attack? So better security, higher profits.

Most importantly, I avoided disruption.

Some people think that “moving” to the cloud means throwing out your existing systems and migrating to new systems. With that comes a lot of headaches. Data never migrates the way it should. Things always go wrong. New software needs to be learned. Your old routine now needs to be done differently. For many, it’s a great move. For my business, it would have been extremely disruptive. I was having no problem with my accounting software. I was just having a problem with an old sump pump. So by moving my existing applications to a cloud service that managed it all, I avoided the cost of changing systems altogether. Less costs means more profits, right?

So here I am. Now working happily in the cloud with my existing accounting based desktop and legacy applications and enjoying all the benefits. In an indirect way, I profited from a flood. I just wish I could have saved my rugs in the process.

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