Why move to the cloud?
Author: Teresa Nagle
All major software suppliers have now pretty much moved into the cloud. That is they are now service-providers rather than product-suppliers. A world of change. A world of difference.
Yet, many software customers are still thinking through the pros and cons of cloud v on-premise solutions. And quite rightly. Apart from anything else, it helps people think through their exact business requirement.
Open Windows Software offers both in cloud and on premise solutions and supports both options equally. A number of our clients have remained on-premise for their own (good) reasons. Many new clients opt for the cloud – also for good reason.
The primary benefit of the cloud is that you can access your data and functionality anywhere anytime with an internet link through any regular browser. No need for mainframe links, VPNs, networked system access or software and functionality (or extra processing power) on the PC, laptop or iPad …. or the smartphone. A browser will do.
Plus the cloud has become extremely secure. Cyber security is a growing worry for almost everyone. Having sufficient confidence in cloud based systems is a valid concern. Especially with high-profile online breaches reaching the nightly news bulletins regularly. But most online security breaches are really password hacks, not system hacks, as it were – and passwords can be vulnerable – for cloud and on-premise solutions both. It is the largest area of concern for cyber-security professionals.
For the most part, cloud based systems are very secure nowadays. Granted, some are more secure than others, and clients should do their homework on cyber-security as standard operating procedure for both in-cloud and on-premise solutions alike.
Importantly, many cloud users want their servers which host cloud based systems onshore. In the same country. They feel their data is more secure. And options to switch perhaps easier? Open Windows provides a number of options for our cloud customers – the most common being MS Azure which is physically hosted two data centres – one in Melbourne, one in Sydney. Both are highly secure indeed.
Using the cloud also enables a wider variety of software to be more accessible. Without the need to physically install software, users can access and use niche products with an endless range of minor (but sometimes very useful) applications far easier and cheaper than ever before. Some apps are just not viable if they need to be physically installed and hosted as an on premise solution.
Thus, cloud has facilitated cheaper software for most users for most applications; however niche. They are also simple to implement and use. You just turn them on as a service (software as a service SaaS), with minimal (or no) impact on your internal IT department!
Cloud based systems also offer software as an OPEX solution not a CAPEX one, removing the need to raise lengthy three or five year business cases; simply subscribe under an annual or monthly fee – even for a major system – dramatically reducing the initial costs to get on board together with a understanding of ongoing costs.
Some clients still prize on-premise solutions. Perhaps where the need for absolute security doesn’t persuade users that the cloud is quite safe enough. That they can provide a safer solution. Maybe with extra USER protocols around the system. For example, only a few certain users. No other software on that server/PC, only certain terminals used by registered users for a solus tasks; no other tasks used on that PC maybe?
Of course, some users may be beholden to regulatory requirements to keep data in their own data centres; perhaps due to the sensitivity or confidentiality factors; less eyes see them on private servers. Accessibility is key to security of course. More advanced, special (“Mission Impossible”) security is best implemented on private servers too.
Sometimes simply buying software not renting it (as is common for cloud based application subscribers) is the reasoning behind buying and installing software on a private server. With a traditional ROI business case on the CAPEX purchase of software v ongoing OPEX rental costs.
You can also manage older data forms more easily on private servers with older operating software. We have all learnt how software updates can wreak problems with old data on occasion. Controlling latency is easier on private servers.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to the choice between cloud v on-premise. It is down to your business needs and how you fulfil them. Your choice.
The trend is heavily towards cloud, but users committed to on premise hosting are not wrong. Open Windows Software still supports both.
Author: Teresa Nagle
Teresa Nagle is the head of enterprise sales at Open Windows Software and has worked for the company for over ten years and supported hundreds of prospects and clients in their search for the right software solution for their needs.