February 9th, 2012
In my line of business, my clients have two options when purchasing their database software – installed software on the company’s server; or web-based software (SAAS – Software as a Service). Many clients and other business owners that I speak with are hesitant to move to web-based software for fear they won’t have their information when they need it.
One thing most businesses don’t think of is unusual circumstances like an extended power outage (several days or weeks). In these cases, having web-based software over a server-based software is quite appealing and beneficial. If you have no power, your server is also down. So the software is not accessible either. If you have the ability to work from somewhere that has power and Internet access (or Wi-Fi), using a web-based software application is great because you’re able to access the system and your data anytime you want!
Below are the top 5 questions that people ask me about web-based software:
- What if my Internet access goes down? How will my team work?
- How secure is my data?
- What if the provider goes out of business?
- Who owns the data?
- What if I want to switch software providers – how do I get my data out?
All of the above are valid questions and concerns any business owner would have. Below are answers that address each of these concerns.
If the Internet goes down in your office, the beauty of web-based applications is that you can access them from ANYWHERE! Need to work from home one day? You can still get access to the system and its data. If you were working off of server-based software and the Internet went down, you would not be able to access the program from anywhere anyway.
This is one of the top priorities the software providers focus on because they know how important it is to their customers. First, almost all of them back up data on multiple servers across the world, so that if any one of their servers goes down, you are not down and your data is not lost. Second, they make sure that accessing your account is safe and secure with logins, passwords, and sometimes other levels of security to make sure you and only you are logging in to your account.
Provider Goes Out of Business
These days, there’s no such thing as 100% guarantees that a company won’t be successful one day and then filing for bankruptcy or closing its doors another. But that’s where selecting the system becomes a critical component to the process. You don’t necessarily want to choose a company that just opened its doors yesterday; or has been struggling for a few years and may close up shop soon. Do your due diligence before choosing software to use. The fact is that even if (and it’s a small chance “if”) the company does close its doors, they still have an obligation to you to provide you with your data before they do.
Who Owns the Data
The answer is you should be. Read the Terms and Conditions and any contracts you sign with the provider carefully to make sure this is the case. Most of the providers don’t WANT to own your data. It’s yours! But again, there are no guarantees so read the fine print and make sure they are on your side.
How Do I Get My Data Out
Most of the web-based software applications make it fairly easy to export all of your data out into an Excel, CSV, or TXT file format. Many times they will either provide you with a .zip file containing each table of data from the system; or will send you a CD of your data.