Why is Cloud Computing, Software as a Service (SaaS) Becoming the Technology of Choice in School Nutrition?

If you have been hearing about terms such as Cloud Computing, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Online Software, you are not alone.  Online Software is fast becoming the technology of choice for many businesses including school districts and school nutrition departments. There are good reasons for that- high confidence in the availability, reliability and security of the solution, and easy accessing from anywhere due to increasing connection speeds.

What is Online Software and how does it differ from the more traditional on-premises software?

For the past several decades, you have been familiar with purchasing perpetual licenses of software –which involves- making a long-term investment in the software, installing it on your own servers, and maintaining the server hardware and software with help from your IT department.
Online Software offers a very attractive, alternate software-delivery option. The provider shoulders the management and support of the software while your only requirement is an annual subscription.

Is Online Software less expensive than the on-premises option?

For the software provider, Online Software is easier to implement, manage and support.  When issuing a patch or a bug fix, it is applied only to one set of servers, not on hundreds of installations the software provider may support.  Customer service and support teams only have to be familiar with, monitor, and maintain a single-server environment.  You would expect them to pass some of the savings over to you.
When performing a cost comparison between on-premises software and Online Software, be mindful of the fact that costs are involved in the procurement, setup, upkeep, and maintenance of your server hardware.  Typically, the annual subscription for Online Software is all-inclusive covering the cost of the use of software, server hardware, network bandwidth, upgrades, and support.

Is my data safe and secure in an external data center?

Safety and security of data was a major concern when Online Software was new.  Current industry standards for Online Software are very stringent with regards to physical access to servers, network security, and data security.  The safety and security of your data depend greatly on the capabilities and experience of your provider.  Make sure your software provider is compliant with industry standards such as SAS 70 Type II and SSAE 16.  If your provider meets those standards, your data should be safer and more secure with your software provider than your school district data center.

Comparison between Online and On-premise software

Let us look at some key differences between the two software delivery models.  The quick comparison below should give you enough understanding to communicate effectively with software providers and IT department personnel and to help you make good technology decisions.

Are you considering using an Online Software solution for your school nutrition departments?  Are you already currently using online software?  If so, what has been your experience?  Do you have questions or concerns about moving to an online solution?  Tell us in the comments section below.