Cloud data storage is changing the shape of business, but not all cloud is created equal however – particularly when it comes to payroll.
It pays to understand the difference between “true cloud” and “fake cloud” to ensure you are really getting the full advantages that true cloud brings to a payroll application and not just the cachet offered by fake cloud.
Let’s take a quick look back in time to see how data storage has evolved
Data used to be stored on servers in business premises, and software was installed on these servers, but over time servers proliferated and companies built server rooms for them. As the cooling and security requirements of these multiplying servers grew, businesses relocated these servers into purpose built data centres offered by companies like Datacom.
Moving from ownership to rental data storage
In many cases, data centres installed racks of “blade” servers and offered blade servers for rental to clients as an alternative to the client owning their own server. These were easier to manage and designed for datacentre environments.
Eventually virtualisation software became available, allowing datacentres to offer virtual servers for rent on which the company could install their software further reducing the cost of servers. Then some software sellers began to install their software on a virtual server(s) and rent the assembled package to clients as a solution ready to use.
So this is “fake cloud”, usually described as “hosted in the cloud.” The software is stored on various individual virtual servers and so each client still has their own separate version of the software. This means that it needs full software upgrades each time there’s a security, performance or legislative update, costing time and money and involving risk.
So sure, it’s cloud-based, but merely uploading your legacy payroll systems to the cloud will not provide the same benefits as a shared application.
“True cloud” is where software authors design their software so that it can be used by lots of different clients at the same time. This meant that all clients are running on the same version and when the software authors deploy any upgrades, all clients have immediate access to the new features without having to upgrade their own software.
It’s like Facebook or LinkedIn – the software is continuously updated so there’s no need to install new upgrades. An added advantage is that just one disaster recovery system can help all users recover their data should a network outage or security threat occur.
Truly in the cloud with Datacom
Datacom released its first cloud payroll app, called NetPay, in 2000 and all our payroll applications, including our flagship DataPay, operate under the “true cloud” model. All customers use the same payroll application which is updated a little at a time on a continuous basis, so you can be sure every time you connect, you’re connecting to the latest version.
Perhaps most importantly when it comes to payroll, using a “true cloud” system means it’s easier to get paid! A true cloud app like DataPay is already connected to the banking system, so staff are paid automatically as soon as the payroll has been approved.
Looking to the future
Datacom ensures your payroll needs will continue to be met into the future as we connect a growing number of our applications with all kinds of institutions, from banks to government agencies like Inland Revenue, and the Australian Tax Office. As more and more applications move into the cloud and share data, more processes can be automated and less paperwork is required. Even better, with true cloud, you don’t need to worry about upgrading your systems in the event of any changes to reporting requirements such as Single Touch Payroll in Australia, or Payday Reporting in New Zealand.
As the “fake cloud” / “true cloud” comparison demonstrates, being “in the cloud” is not the same as enjoying the full benefits of a true cloud-based payroll system. Ultimately, a true cloud model should make your payroll system safer, faster and easier to use, or it’s not the genuine article.