What is cloud software?
Upgrading from on-premise software to cloud software is an opportunity to modernise your practice’s IT. But what exactly is cloud software, and how does it work? To better understand if it’s the right solution for your practice, here’s a quick overview of what the cloud actually is.
If you’re not yet familiar with the concept of ‘the cloud’ and how it works, you may think it has a science fiction ring to it. However, the idea of cloud computing has been around since the early 2000s, and many of the services we use every day would not exist if it wasn’t for cloud technology. Gmail, WhatsApp, Zoom, Netflix, PayPal and Microsoft Office 365 are all examples of services that use the cloud.
What is cloud software?
The terms ‘cloud’, ‘cloud computing’ and ‘cloud software’ really just mean the delivery of computing resources over the internet. The internet is often represented by a cloud symbol in diagrams, which is why we refer to it as ‘the cloud’.
The cloud enables hosted services such as software applications, databases, networking and analytics to be accessed over the internet, via a subscription or pay-as-you-go model. That means you’re essentially ‘renting’ your IT instead of buying it, eliminating the need to purchase and maintain physical (on-premise) IT infrastructure and software licenses yourself.
Each cloud-based application is hosted by a third-party, who is responsible for providing you with a secure, up-to-date and on-demand service. That means you no longer have to download and install files, or run applications on your computer. All software maintenance and updates are taken care of by the software provider remotely.
How does cloud software work?
With cloud software, the software provider hosts and manages the application through a network of remote servers, databases and computers. Once you’ve signed up for the service, you access the software via a web address, or by downloading the appropriate app to your computer, tablet or phone.
Depending on the software, each user will need to set up their own profile and login details, which will enable them to use the software from anywhere – as long as they have an internet connection. Individual log ins also help keep data private and secure.
When the software needs to be updated, this is all done automatically for you. Improvements, new features and functionality and security updates are all incorporated by the software provider remotely, so all you need to do is familiarise yourself with the changes when you next log in.
What are the benefits of cloud software?
Cloud software has a number of benefits over and above on-premise software:
- It’s on-demand: Cloud software can be accessed at any time, and from any location. That means your practice team can work more flexibly, as all they need is internet access and a log in.
- It’s scalable: As your practice grows, you can easily add more users without having to buy more software licenses.
- It’s cost-effective: Practices that use cloud software don’t need to maintain physical IT infrastructure such as in-house data servers, or manage their own software upgrades. This reduces, or even eliminates, the need for IT support.
- It’s secure: Not only do cloud software providers have access to the latest security technology to protect and back up your data, they also have dedicated specialists to continually monitor the software and servers, and address any issues quickly.
- It’s compliant: Any new government regulations or industry requirements are factored in to the software at the appropriate time, helping your practice meet its compliance obligations easily.
- It’s innovative: Most cloud software providers strive to be industry leaders, and are focused on continuously improving their products and integrating new features so they can stay on top of industry and consumer demand.
For many practices, cloud software offers much greater flexibility, security and innovation. If your practice is currently using on-premise software but is interested in moving to the cloud, contact our team today.