You’ve heard the term ‘cloud-based’ many times and have also heard people talk about ‘cloud-based’ products but you’re not really sure what this means and if these products are better than traditional software products. Let’s explore these terms a little.
A trip down memory lane
Do you remember setting off to the local IT retail store to buy a software product you needed? Traditionally, when purchasing software you would get a box containing a CD and instruction manual and you usually had to fork out a tidy sum of money. You’d go home, pop the disc into the computer’s CD drive and wait for the automated pop-up asking you if you want to run the executable file. After pressing ‘yes’ a progress bar would appear telling you how many percent complete the download was until it was installed.
Out with the old – in with the new
Fast forward to 2016. Let’s see a show of hands – when last did you buy software on a physical CD? If you are resistant to change, then you may very well still be using CDs, as long as your PC or Mac has a CD ROM (Macs no longer include these on their devices). That said, in all likelihood, you are already using some form of cloud-based service such as everyone’s favourite cloud storage utility, DropBox.
Nowadays, instead of physically going to a retailer to buy a software package, you have the option to download the programme onto your computer from the comfort and convenience of your home or office, you don’t have to put a foot out the door. Downloadable software is available via the Internet. The only thing you need to do is pay for your software (if not free), and click a link to download the file, run the installation, and launch. Done and dusted. While the software is now easily loaded on to your computer, like with loading software from a CD, you still have to ensure you keep updating the software to ensure you are using the latest version and you have to ensure your computer is regularly backed up so you don’t lose your data.
Cloud-based software solves these problems. Cloud-based software is simple software products and services that you access directly via the internet, you never have to download them onto your machine. They reside in ‘the cloud’ so to speak. It’s revolutionary, it means you are always accessing the latest version and all the data you enter is automatically backed up 24/7 without you having to do a thing. Companies providing cloud software are making customers’ lives much easier by offering online solutions instead of actually having to install anything on your local machine. This has had far-reaching advantages, one of which is price! With cloud-based software you typically pay a small monthly licence fee to use the service as opposed to paying a large upfront fee to buy the software. It has made products that were previously expensive and out of reach for small business, very affordable. Think about the full Adobe suite, this was quite costly at a whopping 5-figure outlay! Thankfully Adobe has introduced single programme subscriptions of their cloud-based offering which is very affordable – and you always have the latest version.
Many programmes are now available online simply by going to your internet browser, typing in the web address and logging into your account. You can manage your information remotely, from anywhere at any time on any internet connected device. You data is secure and is automatically backed up, this frees up space on your PC as you no longer have to install the programme, and it also eliminates the possibility of compatibility issues. As already mentioned, one of the biggest advantage is that you are ALWAYS using the latest version! The responsibility of keeping the software updated now lies with the vendors, not you. This means you will no longer need to keep paying for and installing new releases to ensure you are using the most up to date version.
Advantages of cloud-based software
- You always have the latest version
- You can subscribe at a minimal monthly or annual fee that is affordable
- Your computer hard drive saves storage space
- Server technical problems and maintenance are not your problem
- Fully backed up on a secure server
- Easy online user support
Cloud-based small business software? We have it!
At SMEasy we anticipated the need for a cloud-based accounting solution for start-ups and small businesses that was easy to use. We developed an award-winning product that enables entrepreneurs to do online invoicing, quoting, accounting, and general business management. SMEasy ticks all of the boxes when it comes to what an entrepreneur needs to keep on top of their finances. It allows them the freedom of logging in from anywhere at any time with the certainty and confidence that the platform is stable, secure and simple to use.
But don’t just take my word for it – give it a ‘test-drive’ and let us know what you think. Sign up for a free, no-obligation 30 day trial: https://www.smeasy.co.za/freetrial#sectiontop
Today’s weather forecast: Cloudy with a chance of trying our SMEasy 🙂