Convenience. The most significant advantage is the incredible convenience cloud-based software offers. Because you connect to the cloud via the Web, you can access your information anywhere you have Internet capability. This means you can access your software and data at home, on your laptop, from your smartphone, etc.
You can be stuck at home in a snowstorm, for example, and still have access to all your billing reports. You don’t have to go into the office to send invoices or apply late fees. You can check your security cameras late at night, or use your cloud-based call-tracking software to see which leads called back on the day you were out of the office.
The new software also offers a degree of control not previously possible. Even when on vacation, the facility owner or manager can still check in on a laptop or mobile device and make sure everything is running smoothly. This expedites your response to problems and allows you to take greater control faster to set things in order.
This feature is especially important in the self-storage industry, where some owners operate several facilities in separate towns or even across different states. With cloud-based software, they can now exercise as much or as little power as they like based on the needs of their facility managers. Other conveniences include:
- Rapid implantation
- Quicker updates and upgrades
- Improved scalability
- Improved system availability and disaster recovery
By exploiting the ease of access most people now have to the Internet, cloud-based software providers can offer a level of flexibility and personalization not found in most conventional software.
Security. This is one of the biggest concerns many people have with cloud-based software, but in actuality, it’s often much safer than keeping information on your computer in the office. This is true for two major reasons: encryption and redundancy.
Encryption is the process of encoding information to make it inaccessible to people who aren’t authorized to access it. The computing power required to crack the encryption keys of most cloud-based software providers is far too much for the average hacker. By comparison, what security measures do you take to protect the data sitting on your home or office computer?
Another common security mechanism is the use of redundancy, or storing the same information on multiple machines. This ensures a backup of all your information at any point in time, so even if one of the provider’s servers were to crash, your info would be safely stored on another.
Cost. While the cost of cloud-based and conventional software can vary widely, it’s often easy to find it for a cheaper rate than conventional software. The upfront costs are lower because the entire process is simpler. Cloud-based software doesn’t need to be mailed to your facility on a disk and then installed on your computer. Many programs can be operated right in your Web browser.
Operational costs are often lower as well. Because of the ease of access—both from the customer and provider—maintenance and support is significantly simplified, which often translates to lower prices for the end user.
Largely because of how new the technology and cloud-based providers are, there are some potential drawbacks to switching.