Cloud Software vs Physical – Cloud vs Physical Round 3

Kate SaundersSoftware

Last week we looked at some advantages and differences between cloud and physical backup solutions. This week we are looking at software. We are all feeling the pressure to move to the cloud and software seems to be the biggest pressure. Don’t be scared or misinformed. Keep reading as we look at the differences and advantages of cloud software vs physical software.

Week 3 – Software

Since the dawn of the internet we have been finding new ways to use it and testing how much the “cloud” can actually do for us. If you have been using any software in your business or home in the last few years you might have noticed the push to always-online cloud software.

We have seen programs that used to be purchased out right and used for years move over to subscription-based versions you update almost monthly.

Physical Software

When we are talking about physical software, we are talking about a once off payment for a program that you install on your local computer and that is it – few updates, no ongoing payments and all your data sorted on your computer. This has been the norm for a while, but we a quickly seeing a change.

Companies such as Microsoft, MYOB and Reckon who all started with physical software, are now some of the most advanced in cloud-based software and subscription models. For example, you can purchase Microsoft Office Desktop software and also have access to their Online versions of office.

Now for some users, going to cloud-based only may not be your best option. Likewise, for some developers this is also the case. With programs that require heavy programming and calculation, it may require you to physically install the software on your computer to get the performance.

Cloud Software

Cloud software is exactly that – software running in the cloud. Companies often implement the cloud software model using one of two methods. Either fully cloud based method or a hybrid physical/cloud solution.

Fully Cloud Software

Let look at the first, fully cloud software. This is software that runs 100% in your web browser. You do not need to install any software or store anything locally on your computer. Some examples of this is Reckon One, Xero and Office 365 Online. For each of these platforms you simply login to the website from any computer and access the information you require.

The fully cloud approach has many benefits for both developer and user. For the developer it means they have direct access to the code of their software and can do minor updates more regularly and fix bugs in the software quicker. This does not however mean they can see your information without your permission. For the user it means you can have the ease of knowing your data is secure, 100% backed up, often geo redundant, and is always up to date. Fully cloud based software can sometimes be simpler and easier to use.

Hybrid Cloud Software

Then there is the hybrid approach. This is often delivered through the use of a small application you need to install on your pc or device, that then talks to your data stored in the cloud. This means that you have the advantage of security when it comes to your data and the ease of simply installing a program. If your computer dies, you buy a new one, install the software and are up and running again where you left off.

The Verdict

More often than not, you will not have the choice of whether you use a cloud platform or a physical software installation as this is done by the developer of the software. What you do have is the choice of the software you use.

Physical software is good for high performance programs such as design and development software and is mostly purchased for a once off fee. You may also find it can also be purchased on a subscription like Adobe Creative Cloud or Office 365.

Cloud Software is excellent for always accessible software you can use from anyway and software you like to know is backed up securely. This software is usually subscription based and requires you to keep paying for as long as you require the software.