Many businesses rely on software to handle operations such as accounts processing, record keeping and generating sales reports. Using computer applications to process all of these tasks can greatly streamline business operations. When it comes though to what kind of business software to invest in, two options one can go with are a cloud based service or standalone application. So, which of the two options would be ideal for your business? Well, it can be hard to choose the perfect software model for your business without a clue about the different types of business software. Read on if you want to understand the differences, strengths and weaknesses of standalone and cloud based applications.
Standalone Business Applications
With a standalone business app, software is installed on computers located at your business premises. This application will handle all operations as well as data storage. A good example for this retail software model would be the traditional Point of Sale systems. With the pioneering retail applications, no internet connectivity is required. All that is required is a PC installed with retail software at the checkout terminal. Here are the key advantages and disadvantages of standalone business apps.
- One time cost: Most software vendors provide these kinds of applications at a onetime fee. This can be cost effective for businesses with a tight operating capital.
- Reduced security risk: Applications that work offline are less likely to experience unauthorized access and cyber attacks.
- Data can be lost: Standalone applications store data on local computer hard drives. This puts data at risk of theft or damage due to fire. Business information can therefore be lost if it has not been backed up.
- High maintenance costs: You would need plenty of technical support and maintenance to manage your own standalone business software.
Cloud Based Business Applications
Unlike standalone business apps, cloud based applications require internet connectivity to function. These kinds of applications store data in a different location such as on a remote server. Here is a list of the good and bad of cloud based apps.
- Mobile Integration and remote access: Cloud solutions provide great flexibility since they are easy to integrate with mobile devices. In addition, all transactions are stored on a remote server. This means users can access business information any time of day or night.
- Real time data backup: You can save business data in the cloud instantly whenever connected to the internet.
- Reduced maintenance: Mostcloudservice providers take care of issues such as fixing technical bugs, software updates, and installing security features, thus reducing overhead costs for having in-house IT experts.
- Recurrent costs: It can be hard to find cloud hosting business solutions at a one off fee. Most providers in this business offer monthly subscriptions.
- Increased risk of fraud: Business information is at risk on any cloud platform. This is due to the fact that cloud-based systems rely on the internet to transmit and store data. As such, hackers can easily infiltrate unencrypted connections.
- Downtime interruptions: When internet connectivity is lost, one cannot access cloud services. This can bring business operations to a halt if a constant internet connection is required to use a business app.
The list of pros and cons provided above can help you to make an informed decision when comparing standalone and cloud based business software. If you want the best of both worlds, choose a hybrid application. This means software that works offline and online. With such an app, you can process vital tasks such as payments at the point of sale even without internet connectivity. Data is then cued and uploaded to the server when connectivity restores.
David Fugerson is a restaurant manager and freelance blogger who has a love for sharing useful information related to technology and business. He is also a contributing writer for I-POS.co.uk, one of the leading providers of iPad point of sale systems in the UK.