By Tim Schlee
As rapidly as technology progresses, it’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of new advances and terminology when trying to stay up to date. But staying abreast of recent innovations can be vitally important to the success of your self-storage business. You don’t want to ignore any cool new gadgets that make your workflow more efficient or boost convenience for the customer, do you? Especially not when your competitors are taking advantage of those same features!
Cloud-based software is one of the recent tech innovations that’s changing the way people look at data storage and computer programs. Using the convenience of the Internet, cloud-based providers are able to streamline storage, installation, updates and virtually every other facet of the computer software they offer. It’s not without its critics, however.
If you’re not sure what cloud-based software is or whether it’s right for your storage operation, read on. I’ll address the major benefits and potential drawbacks you could encounter in switching to this new technology.
What ‘Cloud-Based’ Means
Let’s begin with a little background on cloud-based software. If you’ve ever heard mention of the “cloud,” it’s a term that refers to off-site data storage. In traditional software, your computer is the data-storage site. You input numbers, names, dates and any other information directly into a program that’s installed on your computer—and that’s where the info stays.
In cloud storage, however, your data is stored by a third-party vendor, not at your facility, and you access the info via the Internet. Cloud-storage vendors operate warehouses (sometimes quite large) that house servers, the databases in which your information is stored. A complex of servers offers far more computing power than the typical office setup and allows a specialized team of professionals to maintain the server farm’s safety and security.
Using Cloud-Based Software in Self-Storage
The popularity of cloud-based software is quickly growing. If you’ve ever used Google’s Gmail, Dropbox or Google Docs programs, you’ve taken advantage of the convenience of cloud storage. Its use in the self-storage industry is more recent and less widely accepted, though cloud-based software providers are growing in the industry.
Cloud-based software can be used in place of any site-based program. There’s a wide range of products that offer a variety of services including:
- Payment processing
- Management software
- Call tracking
- Security systems
Whatever computer programs you run at your facility now probably have cloud-based counterparts that offer innovative new features not available in conventional software. If not, then it’s likely you’ll be able find a cloud-based counterpart in the near future, as the use of cloud storage is growing.
By taking explicit control of the storage and maintenance of your data, cloud-based vendors relieve you of these duties and offer a number of advantages that other software providers don’t.