Cloud and Proud: Can Accounting Software Make it in the Cloud?

The debate over whether or not cloud software is the best decision for businesses has spawned an almost religious divide on the issue. Whether you’re a cloud believer or skeptic, it can be agreed that cloud software has been gaining traction over the years as the main alternative to software installed on-site, and rightfully so. Online cloud software is more flexible, requires much less maintenance, and is often cheaper, as you only pay for what you use on a subscription basis.

The cloud’s efficiency and cost effectiveness have always been accepted tenets of the cloud creed. Security, on the other hand, has traditionally been looked at as a limit of the cloud, especially with cloud accounting software and accounts receivable software. However, recent developments and studies into online accounting software has reviled that the belief in cloud’s limited security might in fact be rooted in superstition.

According to a recent article published in Business Credit magazine, titled “Head in the Cloud: Cloud-Based Solutions Gaining Traction in Credit” (February 2013), professionals are finding that software and hardware security is really only as good as internal firewall security. It’s true that any business’s firewall can potentially be hacked, but it’s the non-IT companies that try managing all their IT in-house that are at a higher risk.

“I think people are realizing they’re not as good at managing security as they thought they were,” said Jay Tchakarov, director of product management at HighRadius. “Even if you think you have a good firewall you’re managing yourself, it doesn’t guarantee safety. Cloud-based companies have staked their entire existence on being secure.”[1]

Developers of cloud solutions are highly invested in security and the protection of their products and customers. Especially when dealing with accounting or financial SaaS. The livelihood of their business depends on it, since compromising security could lead to the loss of customer trust. Of course, trust in online security is nothing new. Online purchases and online banking have been popular for several decades, and with 81% of people managing their banking online in the last year[2], it’s apparent that online risks of financial security have by and large become a thing of the past.

Benefits of the cloud far exceed better security. “The fact is, when you have it all in-house, you have to buy the server, buy the database, manage all these licenses,” said Tchakarov. “Also, you could be stuck on the same product version for several years while your peers in the cloud are consistently getting new value with regularly updated and upgraded products. Product upgrades easily provide significant value immediately without really jeopardizing their operational continuity.”[3]

According to a CNN poll, 76% of US consumers use the cloud, and this percentage is growing every year. Cloud software is no longer a thing of the future. It has been, and will continue to be a thing of the present. The cloud’s clergy of faithful followers is growing, and prophesies of revelation are nil. It’s clear the cloud is here to stay.

 


[1] Brian Shappell, ‘HEAD IN THE CLOUD: Cloud-Based Solutions Gaining Traction in Credit,’ Business Credit, February 2013, http://www.questia.com/read/1P3-2887236211.

[2] Statistic Brain. Pew Research Center, 16 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 April 2013. ‹http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-banking-statistic/›.

[3] Brian Shappell, ‘HEAD IN THE CLOUD: Cloud-Based Solutions Gaining Traction in Credit,’ Business Credit, February 2013, http://www.questia.com/read/1P3-2887236211.

by Josh Bailey

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