Nitin Mittal Senior Manager, Assurance and Risk Advisory at Perfect Accounting .and shared services Pvt. Ltd. Read more…
The benefits of time tracking software have long been acknowledged worldwide and across the industry verticals. Earlier, enterprises had the only option for purchasing and implementing on-premise time management software suite. So, this business productivity tool remained as a prerogative of larger and midsize enterprises with a sizeable budget for innovation and new tech investment. The formal launch of the ‘cloud computing’, somewhere around 2006, leveled the grounds for businesses of all sizes. This was one of the most phenomenal technical interventions that aimed at making tools more accessible for everyone by converting it in a form service. Moving ahead with changing times, the software vendors also moved their software to the cloud and made it available as software as a service. The market still has a provider for on-premise time software suite and time tracking service based on the cloud.
There are four major premises on which on-premise and cloud-based employee time tracking software differ and they are:
• Cost- This is one of the huge defining factors that majorly guide the buying decision of an enterprise. Investing in a legacy based software suite incurs the cost of installation, licensing fee, maintenance & consultation charges. In contrast, the cloud model allows enterprises the flexibility to pay as per the consumption or usage of particular software as a service. Furthermore, when it comes to scalability, the cost shoots up in the case of legacy software installations. While for cloud-based service, the cost depends on the number of users and amount of usage.
• Data security-Every data in business is critical but there is still a difference. For example- the data pertaining to the banking sector or defense is much more critical than project plans of any organization. Therefore, the basis of the need for ensuring multi-layered data security mechanisms, enterprises opt for legacy time management software. When it comes to a cloud-based time tracking tool suite, the entire shifts to the service provider because the data gets hosted on their server. This is another major factor that accounts for the investment decisions of an enterprise.
• Deployment- For the on-premise software solution, the deployment happens within the client’s infrastructure. Here the client is responsible for the up gradation and maintenance of the software suite. In this case, the deployment happens at a larger scale. For small enterprises and entrepreneurs, it is never a cost-effective solution. The cloud-based time tracking service eliminates the challenge of physically hosting the software suite for its clients. Even within the cloud, there are three types of architecture and deployment. These are the public cloud, private cloud, and a hybrid cloud. So based on the organizational needs, the enterprises can explore the cost-effective options.
• Control- The priorities differ from organization to organization. For defense, banking and research organizations maintaining a strong hold on the assets would never leap for a cloud. They would prefer having complete control over the hardware and therefore, the deployment happens in-house. The only downside of cloud-based employee time tracking system as a service is that the entire hosting happens on a third party server. So the downtime is actually not in one’s own hands for immediate corrective action.
• Compliance- On-premise deployment of time tracking software suite calls for certain regulatory norms specific to a particular industry vertical. In the case of legacy systems deployed locally, the enterprise ensures compliance because it is in charge of its data and hardware assets. In the case of cloud, both the enterprise and the service provider have to enter an agreement wherein both parties comply with the prevalent norms of the industry. The only sour part is that this compliance with regulatory norms cannot be enforced in case of cloud-based time tracking software as a service.
In spite of so many benefits, the cloud has its own sore points when it comes to data security and compliance. So now the question arises as to how this can be mitigated?
Compliance is a critical action point when it comes to migrating the entire company data on a third party server. Here are some crucial pointers that enterprises can take note before deciding to take on cloud services and they are:
• First, before availing cloud based time management software as a service, enterprises must consider the type of cloud service they want to avail. Post that, it is important to sift through the data and retain the supercritical data on internal servers. As far as the cloud is concerned, enterprises can choose a private cloud with an option to be hosted locally within the organizational premise. This way not only does the enterprise reap the benefit of the cloud but also has control over its data.
• Second, it is important that enterprises and entrepreneurs carefully review the contract with the cloud provider before the deal and include the clause of data protection in the service level agreement. Also, it is important to include the right to audit the compliance standard build around to protect the data.
If these are ensured at the very beginning of data migration, then there is no better option than availing a cloud-based service for minimizing both capital and operational expenditure significantly.