It may come as a shock to some, but 90% of businesses are already using the cloud in some way. Many may be using a cloud service like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive without actively realizing they are using cloud services in their day-to-day operations. “Moving to the cloud” and “cloud computing” almost sound like some kind of futuristic transition best left to future generations when, in reality, many businesses have already made an initial move to cloud computing services.
Of course, using a basic cloud-based service available for free to accomplish a few tasks is much different than fully transitioning operations and data storage to the cloud. This can be a daunting task for some businesses but it can also deliver extensive benefits in everything from improved customer service to reduced costs. With three different cloud computing models, accounting firms are increasingly finding that managed IT services can help deliver the customized cloud model they need to take their business to the next level.
What are Cloud Computing Models?
A lot of people know, on a basic level, what cloud computing is. At the most basic level, cloud computing is a service provided using a remote server rather than locally on the device being used. Most people are familiar with the cloud as a way to store data like photos or documents for accessing on any device.
Cloud computing models determine how the cloud services and data is actually stored and delivered. There are three different models used to provide cloud services.
First, there is the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. This gives users access to a software platform or data management platform over the internet. Storing photos on iCloud would be a common example that many people are already aware of and may use themselves.
Next, there is Platform as a Service (PaaS). This is when a cloud vendor provides software and hardware access over the internet but not a fully completed stack like in the SaaS model above. Typically, this is used more by developers.
Finally, there is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In this model, cloud infrastructure is supplied by the vendor and the end user must do the work of installing the operating systems, applications, and more.
Each model has its own pros and cons. But, regardless of cloud computing model, there is opportunity for accounting firms to add value by making the switch to the cloud.
One very tangible reason for switching to the cloud is to enable businesses and their employees to make the move to a paperless environment. The cost of printing can add up quickly. Printing documents to hand them over to someone else is a cost that many businesses can reduce or eliminate entirely. With cloud-based data storage, documents can be easily accessed and shared by any approved user. As employees adapt to this new method of sharing and collaborating, print costs are cut down significantly.
Of course, the cost savings isn’t the only benefit. Employees, especially those from younger generations, feel that environmentally conscious practices are an important part of their morale at work. Going paperless isn’t just about a line item on the budget, it’s about company culture.
Improved Document Management
These days, more and more transactions are being done digitally. That means more and more accounting documents will be delivered and stored digitally as well. With a cloud-based data storage system in place, accounting firms can store digital documents as they come in and access them whenever they’re needed from any authorized connected device.
In addition, when users are all working on the same document management system, the firm can implement document management standards. Instead of everyone storing files their own way on their own local hard drive, everyone will follow the same rules. This includes how to sort documents and even how to name files. Everything can be standardized and improve document sharing for the future. This is especially handy when onboarding new staff or covering for existing staff on vacation. Everyone is on the same page, digitally speaking.
Security is key when dealing with sensitive documents at any accounting firm. With cloud-based document management, the documents can all be stored in one place under the supervision of the managed IT provider. This is much more secure than having documents on various local storage devices where individual users may be exposed to cybersecurity risks due to a myriad of reasons.
Depending on the model chosen, the cloud vendor may share security responsibility and offer support in the event of a cybersecurity concern or other issues.
Make the Transition Today
Is your accounting firm ready to make the leap to cloud-based services? With the help of managed IT services from CDS Office Technologies, that transition can be made easy and seamless for everyone. To learn more about cloud computing, contact CDS Office Technologies today.