In an every day working environment, software has become integral to every business. Whether it is basic word processing and spreadsheets, web browsers, or more bespoke systems such as clock-on and clock-off management, we all rely on software each and every day, maybe without even realising it.
When it comes to simple day-to-day tasks, most basic software will work fine for general use; however, as with most processes and tasks, there is always room for improvement, and software is absolutely no exception. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of switching to cloud-based software, over the use of localised software.
When your company adopts a new piece of software, either for a team, department, or company-wide, the IT boffins usually have to run around gathering the files, filling out licenses, downloading and installing the software on each and every computer system, and setting up each user one by one. For a small business of a few employees, this won’t take very long. However, with larger business of dozens or even hundreds of staff, this could become a months-long project!
But what if that didn’t have to be the case? What if you could just sign into an online platform and have all of the data and systems you needed without having to download, install and configure the files? Your IT boffins would certainly be thankful, I’m sure!
By cutting out the requirement of installing the files needed for a piece of software to operate, not only are you saving massive amounts of time for the users, but also the labour/work hours required by your IT team to set it all up is drastically reduced, saving energy and money in both the short and the long term.
Maintenance and Updates
We’ve all been there; halfway through working through a document, or just starting up a project, and that little pop-up appears with “The latest update is ready to install”, and let’s be honest, nine times out of ten we close it and carry on with what we’re doing.
However, these updates can range anywhere from a tiny bug fix, to a system-wide overhaul, and can be hugely important not only for data compatibility and client interaction but also for security and data protection. The last thing you want to have to worry about is a hacker coming along and stealing your precious data!
Keeping on top of updates manually can be quite a hassle, especially if the software/program doesn’t automatically alert you when updates are needed. With Cloud-based systems, however, these updates are not only applied automatically, but they are live almost instantly. The latest features, upgrades and security patches are implemented as soon as they are released, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to compatibility and data security.
Another thing to keep in mind is maintenance; any program can crash or break for any number of reasons, but properly maintained systems will have this happen much less often. A system crash could cause lost work hours, or even data loss, and that’s never a good way to start the day!
Cloud systems will have a team running the day-to-day maintenance and identifying problems with the software as soon as they crop up, allowing them to keep close tabs on any issues on individual or isolated systems, and iron them out before they become a major issue, preventing the possibility of data loss and system failure on a much more regular basis than standalone or localised system software.
Security is tantamount to any successful business, especially when dealing with client information or confidential and sensitive data; making sure that it is held behind secure walls to stop any would-be attackers from gaining access to it is critical. This can range anywhere from research and development projects, health and safety reports, building schematics, up to customer addresses and financial information and payroll processing. It will vary from business to business, of course, but the principle remains the same, and the programs/software that handle this kind of data regularly should be entirely secure in order to prevent a data breach.
While this is mentioned above, keeping software updated and correctly maintained is imperative for security, and this is made a thousand times easier with automated updates and maintenance through cloud-based systems. Security fixes are some of the most common that you’ll see within version and update changelogs, and an ever-evolving security system makes it much more difficult for hackers to tap into your data.
The physical security of Cloud-based software is also quite substantial; this might seem like a bit of an odd thing to say, given the nature of the Cloud. However, Cloud servers are hosted in physical server farms, and as such, they have great amounts of security both in terms of Firewalls and Antivirus, and also actual security in the form of building access control. Cloud-based software hosted within this platform is incredibly secure, with additional measures being added every day as technology advances.
Accessibility is something that we can quite often take for granted. For example, how difficult does working become when you accidentally get locked out of your computer? Or do you leave an important file on a home computer while you are in the office? There are a variety of methods for getting around this, but when it comes to software, these options become very limited.
Localised software will run only on the computer that it is currently installed upon, and as such, can only be accessed via that one system. This is great as long as you have access to the computer as and when you need it, however, the potential for workflow grinding to a halt as soon as that computer encounters a problem can have huge ramifications, especially in the run-up to deadlines.
Cloud-based software, on the other hand, can be accessed from any machine at any time, from anywhere around the world (providing you have login access of course!). This can provide a level of versatility for a business that localised software just cannot match. Not only is it so easily and readily accessible, but it also runs from the server, not the computer, and so the total strain that the computer would normally take to run the program is simply handled by the server instead, overall prolonging the lifespan of systems and computers over the long haul. Win-win all around!
Out of installation, maintenance, security and accessibility, Cloud software stands head and shoulders above localised systems in most regards, and these extra features can really help a business not only to grow and develop but to thrive and expand due to the highly expansive and utilitarian nature of the Cloud. It can be a huge boon for any business, and definitely worth looking into whether you are a fledgling startup or a multi-office organisation!