Everything in the Cloud?
Desktop-based, browser-based, Cloud, SaaS, mobile access… When selecting agency software, we encounter an abundance of technical terms. But which product is, in technical terms, state-of-the-art, and even more importantly: which solution is best for one’s own agency? Since upgrading to PROAD Sky, even our current clientele have been confronted with the need to choose between staying with their tried-and-true software and placing their trust in new technology.
The Compact Hosting Glossary
A few months ago, we briefly explained the difference between web-based and Cloud. As, when talking to customers, we continue to notice how unclear the difference between the two is, we’ve decided to revisit the topic and subject it to more thorough treatment.
FAQ to our consultants:
- Must agency software be installed at each work station individually?
- Do we need our own server?
- How secure is our data in the Cloud?
- Who does the updates?
- Do the hosting variants influence scalability?
- Which solution offers small agencies the best value for money?
Straightaway the main technical terms:
- Desktop-based means the software must be installed individually on each computer. You will be familiar with the procedure for installing Windows packages or antivirus software.
- Browser-based means the software is installed centrally on a server; you access it from your computer via a browser. The server can be located at your agency or on the premises of your provider, or at the data centre of the relevant software producer - i.e., in the Cloud.
- If you use your agency software in our Cloud, that is an example of one of the various browser-based variants. Another term for Cloud is "Software-as-a-Service", SaaS for short.
- Last but not least: mobile access. If you see in the product description that the manufacturer offers apps for the widely used mobile devices, this means you can use your agency software while away from the office or on the move.
But what suits your needs best? And with which technology will your agency be optimally equipped for the future?
Browser-based vs. desktop-based
We are convinced that there is actually no realistic alternative to browser-based solutions – not only because they utilise modern technologies, but also because they significantly reduce agencies’ maintenance costs. To mention just one example, updates: new releases need only be installed once, namely on your server, and not individually on all those work station computers.
This is also why we have decided, from the current version of PROAD Sky onward, to develop all of our agency software exclusively for browser-based use. We shall of course continue to update our customers’ desktop versions, but in this regard as well, we see a clear trend: since the start of 2015, upwards of 75 of our current customers have switched to PROAD Sky and the trend is on the increase. The advantages are obvious: the browser-based version combines tried-and-true work-flows with the latest technology and a modern user interface.
And the Cloud – for whom does it primarily make sense?
Your own server vs. the Cloud
We see that freelancers and smaller agencies have a great need for Cloud solutions. Until recently, those agencies which opted for a comprehensive professional solution also had to have the corresponding in-house IT infrastructure, a high cost factor that frequently exceeded their budget and meant having to doing without their preferred agency software. The Cloud now also offers smaller agencies superior solutions, without big initial investments, high maintenance costs or expensive technical staff. The monthly licence fees are manageable, and subsequent purchase is always an option.
Yet another advantage of the Cloud (including for larger agencies) is having all of your updates, bug management and backups outsourced to us. Once your agency is in our Cloud, everything is taken care of for you and proceeds comfortably in the background. And you always automatically have the latest version to work with.
Many agency administrators tend to think of security gaps when they think of the Cloud. Our recommendation: trust only Cloud providers with high standards of security. Ask about appropriate certification, alarm systems, fire protection, climate control and emergency power supplies. After all, the security of your data, and that of your customers,must be guaranteed. Even – and especially – in the Cloud.
Browser-based solutions are the future
The positive responses of our customers and the numerous distinctions of which PROAD Sky has been a recipient are, in our view, proof that the demand at agencies for a smart, browser-based solution is great. Which is why, this year as well, the topic will once again be on the agenda of our annual expert discussion, and is sure, once again, to stimulate an animated exchange of views.
Our motto: hosting in keeping with present-day needs is an important quality feature for all agency software, a feature you should never have to do without. Whether to opt for the Cloud or for your server: that is a choice for you to make. At PROAD you definitely have that choice.