Internet dependency. There’s no getting around the fact that cloud-based software requires Internet access to be functional. In the event of an outage, your information will be perfectly safe at the provider’s server facility, but it will be temporarily inaccessible to you. This can be ameliorated by investing in a faster, more stable Internet connection, which may be an easy task if your new cloud-based software is saving you money each month.
Vendor lock-in of information. Third-party storage of your information can sometimes result in third-party ownership of that info. Read your contracts carefully. Some cloud-based software providers stipulate that, because they are storing your information, they legally own it. When you sign their contract, you give up ownership of your data.
This can cause problems down the road, especially if you ever want to move to a new provider. The company that owns your information can refuse to release it to you, meaning you won’t have it when you try to start over with a new company. Be wary of vendor lock-in to ensure you have complete control of your data. Ask each provider about this issue before making the switch to any new software, cloud-based or not.
Potential lack of support. Cloud-based software providers tend to be newer, smaller companies operating newer products. As such, some cloud-based programs don’t have the level of support that established, conventional programs do. It’s a good idea to inquire beforehand about a company’s support to ensure you don’t waste time and money training employees to use a software without any support.
Determining What Works for You
Cloud-based software offers a number of advantages, but ultimately, it’s up to the facility owner and manager to determine what’s appropriate for their business. Budget and need both play a role. If your current software provider is relatively inexpensive, there might be no motivation to switch, even with the added convenience. On the other hand, if you operate a company with facilities in various locations, the convenience of accessing your information from anywhere might outweigh any budgetary concerns.
Whether you choose to invest in a cloud-based software for your facility or not, it’s important to remain up-to-date about new technologies so you can operate your business and serve your customers in the best way possible. Take a look at some cloud-based options and see if they’re right for you.
Tim Schlee is a Kansas City native who studied English and linguistics at Truman State University. He is a content writer for StorageAhead, which offers Web-marketing technology for the self-storage industry, including lead-generating search engines and facility-management software. For more information, call 913.954.4110; visit www.storageahead.com.