Cloud computing has transformed how we work, communicate, and collaborate, providing flexibility and mobilisation that wasn't possible with legacy on-premise software.
With real-time access to data and systems, businesses can stay competitive by being responsive to the expectations of their workforce and customers.
If you're considering moving to cloud-based services, it's essential to know the key differences between on-premise and cloud computing and the benefits of a digital transformation through cloud technology.
What is cloud computing?
‘Cloud computing’ refers to software programs, storage, networks, hardware, databases and applications stored in data centres worldwide and delivered to businesses and individuals via an internet connection. Features, files and data are stored on the cloud instead of locally on computers. Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook and Instagram are all cloud-based applications. 'Software as a Service' (SaaS) uses cloud technology to deliver software to users. Xero, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Urbanise are all examples of SaaS applications.
What is on-premise?
'On-premise' software refers to software that is hosted locally and runs on a company's hardware infrastructure. An on-premise setup requires in-house server hardware, software licences, integration capabilities, and IT employees on hand to support and manage potential issues that may arise.
Why move your software systems to the cloud?
Cloud computing is at the forefront of the digital revolution. Moving to the cloud allows organisations of all sizes to increase performance and efficiency, be more agile by enabling data and software to be accessible from anywhere on any device, and innovate their businesses by incorporating AI and machine learning into their strategies.
Dell reports that companies that invest in big data, cloud, mobility, and security enjoy up to 51% faster revenue growth than their competitor. Despite the apparent benefits, some of the business community has yet to move to cloud technology. This is partially due to a perception that the cloud can pose a security risk, and many businesses haven't dedicated the resources to unravel existing systems.
Despite perceptions, cloud computing can strengthen your security because of the depth and breadth of cloud security features, automatic maintenance, and centralised management. Furthermore, using the cloud lets you focus on running your company instead of worrying about technology.
Below are eight key reasons to move to cloud-based software
1. Cost efficiencies & simplicity
For businesses using on-premise software, there are ongoing costs for the server hardware, power consumption, space, and resources to update and maintain their server. Switching to cloud computing removes many IT overheads: for instance, businesses no longer need to update and maintain their servers, as the cloud vendor they are using will do that, making it a cost-effective option. Cloud software is also updated automatically and regularly, preventing IT teams from performing manual upgrades.
With cloud-based SaaS, you rent the software rather than buy it. It's much cheaper because you only pay for what you use. You're not paying for upgrades, system maintenance, support fees or backup systems. SaaS is maintained and supported by the specialists who built it. They take care of server maintenance, security updates and software upgrades.
2. Accessibility, flexibility & mobility
With cloud-based software, employees can access the same applications and data they would have if they were working in a traditional office setting. This allows businesses to offer flexible, remote or on-the-go working arrangements to attract talent or provide efficiencies for employees working outside an office.
You can connect to your 'virtual office' quickly and conveniently if you need access to your data when offsite. For example, strata managers with cloud software can write meeting minutes directly into management systems and issue them immediately rather than wait to return to the office to re-enter them.
Additionally, your clients will be able to access their data in real-time, whenever and wherever they want – and for strata managers that have traditionally been bogged down with requests for information, self-help client access is invaluable.
Data protection against cyberattacks is essential for both on-premise and cloud software. Two large strata management agencies have fallen victim to cyberattacks in the past few years, and cyber security should be a priority for any company that manages customer data.
On-premise software requires manual efforts to check, download, and install system updates. Some businesses perceive that on-premise software is more secure since the data remains on-premise, and the organisation can monitor its access. However, as witnessed in the strata industry recently, on-premise software can just as easily be compromised.
With cloud-based software, data is encrypted, ensuring only authorised users can access it. Different security settings dictate how a user accesses and interacts with data. For example, users can be assigned detailed CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) permissions across all data sets defined by the organisation.
SaaS providers take on the role of monitoring and responding to security issues. In addition, data automatically syncs to the cloud, making it easy to recover and prevent data loss.
Reputable cloud providers utilise security experts and employ the most advanced solutions, providing more robust protection. For example, Urbanise Strata is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Australia and benefits from AWS's world-class security experts, which monitor infrastructure and maintain their innovative security services.
AWS data centres and a network architected to protect information, identities, and applications. All data flowing across the AWS global network interconnecting their data centres and regions is automatically encrypted at the physical layer before it leaves their secured facilities. In addition, fine-grain identity and access controls combined with continuous monitoring for near real-time security information ensure that the right resources always have the right access.
4. Quality control & collaboration
In cloud-based systems, all documents are stored in one place and a single format, making it easier to manage data and improve quality control. With everyone accessing the same information in real time, you can maintain data consistency and avoid version control issues. Furthermore, cloud software is collaborative. Team members like strata managers and their assistants can view and share information quickly and securely.
5. Automatic updates
One of the big advantages of cloud computing is that you always have access to the latest software version. With cloud technology, you get the latest features immediately, and updates happen more frequently, ensuring that your team is always productive.
With Urbanise Strata, we actively listen to our customers and continually improve our platform with new strata features to keep up with the evolving landscape. Upgrades are deployed to all customers at no cost, making upgrades cost-effective for businesses.
6. Insights & analytics
Many cloud-based solutions include integrated analytics allowing companies to analyse data across their entire organisation and create customised reports enabling more informed decisions, improved efficiencies and achieving organisation goals based on these observations.
Urbanise has developed a comprehensive suite of reports allowing organisations to easily manage their accounting, legislative, compliance and common property management obligations.
In addition, we provide reporting services that enable the build of customer-specific analytic solutions, including PowerBI-based analytical reports, reporting APIs for customers to develop their own reports, and data lakes for larger customers to store and process large amounts of data for further analytics.
7. Business continuity & prevention of data loss
Having your data stored in the cloud means it is backed up and secured in a stable and safe environment, regardless of whether you encounter a natural disaster, power outage, or other crisis. Accessing data easily helps companies to continue doing business as usual minimising downtime and lost efficiency. As we saw with the COVID pandemic, strata agencies that used cloud-based software could continue operations and adhere to health orders without issue.
8. Simplicity & scalability
Cloud software is easier to set up and deploy compared to on-premise software. It's also scalable. As your organisation grows, new properties and their associated lots, new users, storage, or processing power can be easily added, making Urbanise Strata future-proof for operational expansions.
Are you interested in learning more about Urbanise Strata? Book a demo today.