Cloud 101: Benefits vs concerns

| 28 Jan 2015
cloud computing

The majority of the Australian workforce currently use at least one cloud based application in their personal life; such as Facebook, Hotmail, or an online banking portal. Despite this, there is still some confusion around the benefits and perceived drawbacks of using cloud computing for business. In part three of our Cloud 101 blog special, we look at some of the key benefits of using cloud based software, and bust the cloud’s biggest myth: lack of security.

Key benefits of cloud based software

Reduced total cost of ownership

The costs associated with purchasing, managing and upgrading traditional servers and related hardware can go beyond what some aged care providers can realistically afford. By utilising cloud based software, aged care providers can eliminate the operating costs associated with large scale servers, such as expert staff and large energy consumption bills.

When a business decides to implement or update a software system, the running requirements often dictate the purchase of new infrastructure or an upgrade of their current servers. By utilising cloud based software, the barriers to entry are greatly reduced, as the necessity for any infrastructure is eliminated.

Another benefit of using cloud based software solutions is that many providers offer a pay-as-you-go cost structure. This can greatly reduce the amount of upfront investment, and often results in a significantly lower overall cost than that of an on premise solution.

New functionality delivered sooner

When a software update requires a business to upgrade their servers, the cost associated with this change can work as an additional barrier for aged care providers. This can result in providers missing out on additional functionality that would create efficiencies for their business, simply because a server upgrade is not financially achievable.

Traditional software updates often require each existing software package to be individually updated, meaning it is impractical for both the software provider and their clients to undertake frequent updates. As a result, software updates often see a significant change in the functionality and design of the product, which may require subsequent staff training. By utilising cloud based software, software providers can send through updates automatically, with little or no disturbance to users. This results in more frequent updates, and a contemporary product featuring the latest functionality.

An added benefit of using cloud based software is that software providers tend to develop solutions based on key components, rather than complex functionality – as demonstrated when comparing feature packed Microsoft Word with the streamlined Google Docs. As a result, cloud based software is typically easier to use and navigate than traditional solutions.

Speed of implementation

With traditional software, deployment is typically a lengthy process involving IT experts, a full assessment of requirements, and internal staff resources dedicated to ensuring the implementation runs smoothly. For large scale operations with multiple locations, the implementation process can take over 12 months from start to finish. In selecting a cloud based software solution, aged care providers do not require the same level of staffing or hardware resources as there is no installation process, resulting in a significant reduction in cost and time. With cloud based software, the advantages of the system are felt sooner, so that aged care providers can concentrate their time and resources on providing care, not on lengthy installations.

Cloud computing’s biggest myth

Lack of security

Data security is a common concern for aged care providers considering moving to the cloud. This perceived vulnerability has been a topic of discussion across the business world for a number of years, however as credible cloud based solutions are now established throughout the market, this perception has proved to be largely unfounded.

With all major Australian banks now hosting their online banking portals in the cloud, other industries have begun to recognise that security levels far surpass what was once imagined. Cloud hosting providers – like Amazon and Microsoft – spend millions of dollars on cloud security each year, and hire teams dedicated to eliminating any potential threats. In fact, small and medium aged care providers typically have very minimal or outdated security practices around their data, hosting of their servers and patching of these servers – as a result, moving to the cloud is often a security upgrade.

By partnering with Microsoft Azure, iCareHealth can provide aged care providers with the assurance that their cloud based data will be hosted onshore in Australia; addressing what was once a major concern for the health sector.

Interested to learn more about cloud based software solutions? Contact us today.

Tags: aged care, aged care software, cloud, cloud computing, iCareHealth software, implementation, residential aged care, software, technology

Sophia Bolden

Communications Manager

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Manager at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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