Last Friday, QuickBooks Online was offline for about a half day. There was quite a bit of Twitter traffic about it — people were frustrated who needed to access their books and couldn’t.
That is the downside of cloud computing: When there’s a problem with the cloud, everybody gets rained on. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)
So you might conclude that putting your accounting data in the cloud makes you vulnerable to outages like last Friday’s. And you’d be right about that.
The alternative is desktop software, like QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise. When QuickBooks is installed on your server or your computer’s hard drive, it is under YOUR control, and any problems on Intuit’s servers aren’t going to affect you too much.
No, you then have a different set of potential issues to deal with: issues with your own system.
- Power blips in your office
- Hard drive crashes on your computer
- Viruses/worms/malware on your computer
- Backup failures on your computer
- Theft/fire/flood affecting your computer
- Software conflicts between QuickBooks and other software installed on your computer
- Outdated versions on your computer
There is an extremely good chance that Intuit’s IT department is more sophisticated than yours and is better equipped to prevent these kinds of problems than you are. But if you are running QuickBooks on your own computer(s) and have a good IT plan in place, you might go for years without any problems.
So the bottomline is this: Who do you want to manage the inherent risks associated with business IT?
One final thing. This isn’t especially a QuickBooks question or even an accounting software question; it is a question that exists for any cloud vs. desktop business app.
What do you think? Do you trust the cloud or your desktop machine more?