The cloud software vs. on premise debate remains a big one. Which should you choose for your spa? Here’s why cloud is the clear winner.
When choosing a software solution for your spa or wellness business, you want one that is within your budget with the functionality to successfully run your company. To find those things, you’re going to have to decide between a cloud solution and an on-premise one. Which should you go for?
The answer is actually simple: the cloud is a better solution for almost every business.
Cloud software vs. on premise: what are we talking about?
Before we get into comparisons, let’s answer the question of what we’re talking about when we say “cloud” software vs “on premise.” “Cloud computing” means storing, managing and processing your data and programs on a network of remote servers, rather than on a local server or personal computer. Examples include iCloud, Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Salesforce. Conversely, “on premise” means storing and accessing data and programs on your computer’s hard drive or a central server somewhere on your premises. Examples include, purchasing a Microsoft office license and installing it on your computer.
Why is the cloud a superior option for almost every business these days? Here are five reasons:
When it comes to accessibility, there is no competition. The cloud is accessible from anywhere in the world where there is internet access, meaning spa employees can view their schedules, client information, and more, in real time from wherever they are. Even better, if your business has multiple locations, cloud software makes it easy to share information across all of them. This is a guest experience game changer, since a guest can go to any of your spas without having to share their personal and credit card information more than once.
On-premise software can’t offer this functionality, as its use is limited to the computers and servers on which it has been installed.
Cost is one of the biggest advantages of cloud software solutions. On-premise software requires that you pay the full price of the software upfront, and then for any additional licenses, should you wish to add more users later.
Cloud software is purchased by subscription, meaning more manageable payments, and typically uses a utility pay structure by user and access level, meaning you only pay for what you use, and services can be added or removed as needs change. Cloud software also saves the cost of the IT staff that would be required to maintain an on-premise solution, as well as the cost of the IT infrastructure you would have to put in place if you haven’t got one already.
3. Ease of implementation and maintenance
Cloud software is fully accessible online and requires no hardware or installation on your part. The software company takes care of these things for you, and complimentary training documents and videos are typically offered by the company to help get you up and running. On-premise software, on the other hand, must be installed on your computer and/or servers and requires in-house IT infrastructure and a team to maintain it and make regular updates. With cloud software, the vendor is responsible for maintaining the data warehouses and any hardware on their end. Updates are made regularly and are shared with the customer as the product continues to improve.
Security is a top priority for any company that stores data – a breach can be devastating. You might think your company data is safer in your own hands, but is it? A 2019 survey of nearly 300 C-level security professionals found that a majority now believe the risk of a security breach is the same or lower in cloud environments compared to on premise.
One reason may be that cloud software companies are required to do their due diligence to ensure that they’re compliant with privacy laws, like HIPAA, and that their data is secure. Although on-premise software platforms are also required to be compliant, there may be a need for further monitoring and management in house. This often requires more work on your part – elevating your level of exposure and risk.
A good cloud software company is constantly updating security measures, because security is their top priority too. A breach would ruin them, so someone is always paying attention. It’s their business to notice suspicious activity and to alert you immediately. Can you, with confidence, say the same of anyone running your in-house IT service? Moreover, the ability to control access levels lets you limit who has high-level access to data, which can ease concerns about an inside breach (some estimates are that half of breaches are inside jobs).
That being said, not all cloud companies are created equal. It’s important to ask pointed questions regarding security before purchasing a software, and choose a company that has the right measures in place.
5. Customer support
On-premise software often has the advantage with customer support, because users can turn directly to their in-house IT team. Getting customer support from a cloud software company can be a whole other story, and it can sometimes take days to get a response to a request, meaning stretches of downtime interrupting business operations. However, there are companies out there, like Book4Time, that take customer support very seriously, won’t leave you waiting, and will work with you until your issue is resolved. Because keeping your business up and running is our business. Always ask about a company’s customer support and turnaround time on support requests before making a purchase decision. If they can’t give you a satisfactory answer, run.
There is obviously a lot to consider when purchasing software for your spa or wellness business. Do your research and ask all the important questions. If you want to keep costs down with an easily accessible solution, you’ll probably find that a cloud software solution is the right choice.
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