The Cloud: The Safest Place for Data, Mint, Yodlee, QuickBooks, Xero

Despite the scary headlines, the cloud is, BY FAR, the safest place for data. The least safe place for data is your local computer.

Few local computers have the inherent high quality redundant components of most cloud computers. In fact, many cloud computers are in heavily redundant computer farms, with automatic testing and fall over if any compnent of any computer fails. Google apparently has the largest such computer farm. Their quality and uniformity standards are such that they do not even repair failed computers.

Local computers also tend to use less secure operating systems, firewalls, antvirus / malware protection and security controls. Few have any redundant components and almost none have automatic testing and fallover. We have a free service that partly remedies this, by continuously monitoring your system and instantly alerting us both if anything is unusual. It often lets us inexpensively fix problems remotely, before you even know you have them. You can even use the included software to give yourself 24/7 access to your computer, from anywhere.

Almost all of us compound local computer weaknesses with insecure locations, inadequate backup and far less qualified and trained personnel. This leads to frequent devastating losses from local hardware and software failure, fire, theft and malicious or foolish acts. Absent Intuit servers, which you do not need, it also is far more likely that you will have major and minor service outages with local computers.

Hurricanes and other disasters can destroy or disable access to local computers, offices and CITIES. However, they cannot seriously affect cloud services, inexpensively hosted at two or more geographically dispersed redundant data centers, with fall over. My southeast Florida location had three major hurricanes six years ago. One caved in a roof and a second left us with no power for a month. However, a new portable let me keep working, an hour away.

As I said, the cloud is, BY FAR, the safest place for your data. It is only our resistance to change that makes this even an issue. The cloud also is, BY FAR, the most economical place for data, unless your resistence to change makes you ignore massive related savings. You can start by giving yourself 24/7 access to your data and programs, from any location. There are no file transfers and no time wasting backups or virus and malware checks.

The cloud also is the most economical place for data because you do not have to separately install and customize many different programs on many computers. Word and Excel have many time saving and securiity preferences that you probably should use. Each version of QuickBooks has more than 100 extremely important preferences. Not using some of these preferences have cost many companies more than $250,000 in employee theft. You are very unlikely to be an expert in setting these time saving and securiity preferences, but we can set them remotely faster than we can explain them to you.

The other big reaon that the cloud is the safest and most economical place for data involves outsourcing. Now please do not say that you do not outsource. You do not grow your own food or manufacture your own clothing, furnishings, appliances or cars. You also outsource water, sewer, medical, phone, internet, TV and many other functions. As with the cloud, this outsourcing is far safer and more econominal. It lets you have many of these goods and services 24/7. It also lets you go from using none of a particular good or service, to an almost unlimited amount, at any time.

It is the same way with cloud services, whether you consider your local computer system or the world as the cloud. No one can work 24/7, but you can have your business work done very inexpensively for any part of 24 hours,

Mike Block CPA • By the way, Yodlee bank and public software now has more than 35 million users (many times as many as Intuit’s Mint and QuickBooks Online). That means 35 million users constantly work together to improve the accuracy of automatic account classifications. Many banks charge $30 a month for remote access to their branded versions of Yodlee, but the public version is faster and free, with automatic daily feeds from more than 12,000 financial institutions (Mint does have 16,000 feeds).

This automates consolidated accounting for almost all business and personal (including family) bank, credit card, credit union, mortgage, loan, investment, mileage, point and other account balances and transactions. Compared to manual entries, it vastly cuts cost and increases accuracy. Yodlee E-payments and transfers are often free (Mint does not allow them). You can even delegate Yodlee read-only or read-write access to anyone. Mint and Yodlee have multi-account fraud detection programs. You can easily supplement these with your own fast and easy fraud review, to quickly detect and limit fraud or excess spending, even if you have no idea how to do this professionally.

Having financial transactions go from secure bank and other financial institution servers, to Mint or Yodlee secure accounting servers, is far safer than exposing them to U.S. mailed bank statements or to local computers in insecure locations. Do you know that Intuit and others provide easy password removal programs for QuickBooks? The free Intuit version does not make you show you own the QuickBooks file. Do you know that you can use these password removers with a different copy of the QuickBooks program, on a different computer, than the one that created the QuickBooks file? Security? LOL!

You also must manually download each bank and credit card statement, into your local QuickBooks, each month. Less than 5% of QuickBooks users probably do this. Compare that to the 40+ million Mint and Yodlee cloud users, who automatically get many more types of accounts downloaded daily. Also compare the cost of QuickBooks to the cost of Mint and Yodlee (free). For the life of me, I cannot understand why we are even comparing these immensely more secure, cheaper, more popular and more accurate alternatives.

If Mint and Yodlee accounting is not enough, you can automatically import transactions into the inexpensive Xero, for better secure automatic and manual accounting without local computer risk. Xero lets CPAs easily add transferable rules, for practice wide account reclassification, and uniform reports. It also lets us automatically know and fix any Ask My Accountant entries, without even logging in to user accounts.

Besides the savings from the increased security and automatic accounting, Xero also gives you the incredible management value of having constantly updated business information, You can even have virtually any add-on you want. That is why three year old Xero (multi-currency optional), is already in 100 countries and gwing around eight times as fast as QuickBooks Online (the fastest growing Quickbooks by far). Xero should soon have many more users than the 10 year old QuickBooks Online. As a Xero Partner, we cut your very inexpensive Xero cost by 20% or provide it free – see I Bet You $100 You Like Xero Better Than QuickBooks.

So, the cloud is the safest place for data. Local computers, computer programs and computer maintenance are far more costly and error prone. They also are far more likely to result in uninsured and effectively unlimited losses. Only the cloud provides the tremendous savings and increased accuracy of automated accounting. Only the cloud provides the immense value of continually updated accounting data. That means that only our resistance to change makes this an issue.


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Fastest, easiest, accurate, low-cost QuickBooks! Intuit - QuickBooks CEO, "You're fantastic Mike! Absolutely fantastic!" Tax fighting CPA.

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