Rose Report: Issue 18

The Cloud is Finally Reaching its Potential

issue18-pic-story4Much has been said and written about the promise of cloud computing. But in the early years of development and adoption, many of those promises felt empty. Start-up costs were high, the learning curve was steep, and companies were rightly concerned about security and privacy.

But as the technology has rapidly improved, more and more companies are beginning to realize the considerable benefits of moving to the cloud. The latest generation of technology integrates accounting and IT functions together, creating what industry insiders call a cloud-based ecosystem.

One of the most significant benefits of using such a system is cost-effectiveness. When a company uses a cloud-based ecosystem, it has fewer hardware expenses, with reduced maintenance and replacement costs. And with reduced need for IT staff, overhead costs plummet.

Paired with other new technologies, cloud-based ecosystems now offer companies an extraordinary amount of flexibility in terms of the location and size of their headquarters. “In the early years, cloud computing meant sitting at a PC to access data stored on a server halfway around the country,” says Accounting Today. “However over the past five years, the cloud landscape has changed greatly. Affordable high-speed phone and Internet availability, coupled with prolific adoption of smartphones and tablets, has dramatically enhanced the value the cloud provides and transformed how we all stay connected.”

The current generation of cloud-based systems also have the latest and most sophisticated systems in place for network and firewall security. Most systems today are mirrored, which means they operate on two servers simultaneously. As such, disaster recovery is built into the technology; if one server crashes, the other picks up where it left off.

When a company outsources its IT function to the cloud, it can also be assured that all of the software it is using is current and up-to-date—the hosting company will automatically perform that task. And, of course, rapid data retrieval is another noteworthy benefit.

“The most important thing every accountant must realize is that the migration to the cloud is inevitable,” said Chandra Bhansali, president and co-founder of AccountantsWorld, in an article in Accounting Today. “Just like in the past, when they had to migrate to new technologies—from calculators to PCs, from DOS to Windows—it is time to move from desktop to the cloud. While the destination is the same, the reward for those who migrate proactively is that they position themselves to benefit from the migration, versus those who wait until they are forced into it.”