The debate over business use of outsourced cloud computing versus on-premise computing has been rising to a higher decibel level. The main advantages of adopting cloud-based software are:
1. Minimal start-up costs in exchange for monthly or annual fees
2. Reduced infrastructure management
3. Web-based deliverability that provides access “anywhere”
On the flip side, the main arguments against cloud computing are the inability of firms to manage system risk and the potential loss of security for proprietary business data. A higher total cost of ownership over longer periods as well as concerns about the difficulty of migrating away from Software as a Service (SaaS) applications present additional roadblocks that prevent accounting from moving to the cloud.
Recently, SaaS options that extend functionality of on-premise accounting systems are beginning to appear. Such hybrid solutions combine the use of both on-premise and cloud-based software. For instance, Indicee, a Web-based application that interacts with reports from on-premise Sage Accpac ERP and other software, provides basic sales analysis and other business intelligence. So far, hybrid solutions do not completely eliminate concerns about data security, but any additional risk extends only to the outsourced applications. Undoubtedly, new software services provided via the cloud will continue to emerge.
- Chris Firra, Sr. Consultant