When Microsoft Office switched from offering one-time purchase licenses to access through online portals and monthly subscriptions, a lot of people thought it was just a tool for the company to garner more revenue. But monthly licenses and online application hosting matched precisely what many of their business clients needed: mobility, easy universal access, and better version control.
Online tools, or software as a service (SaaS), with application Hosting follow the same ideas. They can even help keep your business's data more secure along the way because:
Local storage on individual devices is a security risk.
Whenever different people are working on a joint document or splitting the tasks on a shared spreadsheet, those copies are going to be downloaded and stored on each collaborator's device. This may continue multiple times, as parties email in-progress documents back and forth and download them again. But those copies are vulnerable to both Man-in-the-Middle attacks and any malware that might reach the individual devices but isn't strong enough to penetrate the business network.
With SaaS portals, on the other hand, the documents don't have to be downloaded. They never leave the secured portal because employees can access files, edit documents, and notify their coworkers of changes all within the system. This is true whether you have universal applications like Office 365 or enterprise software like Salesforce.
Minimizing downloads keeps your network safer.
Email clients can sync up with your company's preferred anti-virus program to detect unsafe attachments, but downloads are still riskier than your IT department would prefer. Malware can also get into the system if employees comply with malicious pop-ups requesting a new 'Java' download or program update. Sidestep the issue entirely by using application Hosting to avoid frequent document downloads, program upgrades, and installations.
Use SaaS so outages and patches are the vendor's responsibility.
Using online portals that the vendor hosts means you're not responsible for bringing anything but the Internet and a compatible device to the equation. The vendor has to keep the application functional, fast, and effective for all of its customers. The stakes are high for them because every outage means thousands of clients are waiting for them to clean up the problem, and that means any outages last far shorter than you could expect with other programs or individual hardware issues.
Vendors also manage their own updates and provide early warnings about any scheduled maintenance. Because a large portion of their business relies on being stable and secure, you can benefit and arrange your own business's schedule accordingly.
Access industry-standard tools at a lower price.
SaaS has lower per unit costs for everyone involved. There are fewer physical objects, such as disks, instructions, and boxes. A widening market of small software businesses and self-employed individuals means companies who offer portals with application Hosting are incentivized to offer low prices to capture the whole market and secure a spot as an 'industry-standard' application. The programs also have a very low cost to the vendor each time a new license is added; their main concerns are servers and load capacity. This means vendors can spend their time adding new features and giving you better tools.
Software with application Hosting is the only way to access key programs like Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft. Running a small business is about getting the best sustainable results without a lot of logistical support. Everything has to be geared towards sales and service, and maintaining a functional IT frame often has to take a step back. If you know that your business doesn't have the manpower or time to focus on the background tasks of running your business, build up your systems so you can focus on growth. Go to Delmarva Group, LLC for other ways to keep the IT side of your business running with little manual attention.