Much lower upfront cost, lower ongoing costs, stronger security, faster start-up, and better disaster recovery are solid reasons for why startup equipment rental companies should strongly consider cloud options for their new accounting system.
Startup equipment rental companies often find themselves with a bewildering choice among the seemingly countless accounting systems that might work for their business. Besides the decision of which software supplier to choose, a more fundamental decision must be made whether to purchase a software license for installation in-house or sign up for a monthly cloud plan, a decision which will help narrow down the supplier selection. This article will help provide some clarity on choosing between these two options and explain why, in general, the cloud is a better choice for startup equipment rental companies.
Accounting systems can be expensive, representing a significant investment for both an in-house software license and the consulting services typically accompanying the installation. This can be a challenge for start-up companies, who may have limited capital investment. Spending precious capital on an investment that does not generate additional rental revenue may not be the wisest move. Most people understand this point but what they often overlook is startup companies often don’t have or want IT staff. Purchasing an in-house software license means procuring expensive servers and staff or contracted staff to keep them running. Backups and software support become the responsibility of the company, as does the security firewall necessary to secure the system, or if staff or customers need to access the system remotely, something that is increasingly common. Another important point is that cloud systems can generally be set up and running much faster than in-house systems.
People comparing in-house to cloud options often will calculate two or three years of cloud payments and compare that number to the cost of the in-house alternative. What they forget to add back are the additional costs described in the previous paragraph. Even a part-time IT staff member or contracted service can be fairly expensive, as does the upfront cost of the new server equipment and renewing it every three to four years. In-house equipment needs maintenance and it is unlikely that an in-house system will have the uptime of a cloud service. What is the cost to your business if your server is down for a week or even two, in the event of a catastrophic failure of a server? Few organizations invest in fail-over options in the event a server goes down. By the time your IT staff orders the new equipment, get it running, and restore from backups, two or three weeks could easily go by.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud keeps your data in two redundant data centers in different physical locations. The primary location keeps three copies of your live database so that if the first copy goes down, the system automatically flips the users to the second copy and spins up another instance. If all three go down, the user is redirected to the secondary location. Microsoft is also responsible for maintaining the security firewall and all patches on the servers and software being used, an important point considering the majority of security breaches happen through servers and software that have not been regularly updated.
If the cloud is the preferred option, consider how well the software will scale to match possible growth for your company and whether the cloud database can be moved in-house later, if desired.
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