Payroll companies like any other business have many choices when it comes to storing data. One of the biggest questions to answer is whether to host data in the cloud or keep everything locally-hosted.
Cloud computing (or 'the cloud') is the practice of storing and accessing data on remote servers hosted on the internet. Cloud computing allows for flexibility and agility. With a cloud system, users can compute, store, and get to data as needed - and also access a ton of pre-built services. The cloud allows customers to gain new capabilities on demand without investing in new software. Cloud computing is also helpful for companies experiencing growth, as cloud solutions allow for quick expansion into new areas without huge investments.
Consider the hosted, or cloud, version of Symmetry Payroll Forms. The product is hosted by Symmetry. Customers access the product online through an administrative username and password. All transactions - or completed W-4 forms - are printed, emailed, or posted back all through Symmetry’s online servers. Over 130 forms are available at the click of a button, without any heavy hardware installed on a customer’s end. With this cloud version, a payroll manager can be up and running and automating withholding forms almost instantly. Many cloud applications implement a regimented system of updates, either daily, weekly, or monthly. This can be helpful for shorter staffed businesses that still want the most up-to-date product.
Objections to cloud-based products generally center around security and control. However, major public cloud systems - like Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform - have proven themselves to be secure and much less susceptible to attack than the average on-site server. As more and more companies and products switch to cloud computing, the practice only becomes stronger. Each company is unique with its cloud-based programs, too. With Symmetry Payroll Forms, if anything goes down, a back up server will start operating within milliseconds, and all that heavily guarded information, like addresses and social security numbers, are not stored anywhere by Symmetry.
With on-premise solutions, data is stored locally. Software is installed and operated from a company’s in-house data center. Because this software is licensed and remains within the organization's premises, there is more control on the licensing company’s end. Because it requires in-house server hardware, integration, and support from IT. On-premise solutions are more costly than cloud versions.
Having the system on site can ensure better maintenance because system checks can be performed as frequently as a company wants. Companies expanding with on-premise solutions generally require significant infrastructure and staff investment. Not having to go through a third party is appealing to some companies because reaching an admin within a company’s own organization is faster and easier than contacting outsourced help. On-premise also allows for complete control over upgrades.
So Which One?
There are pros and cons to both cloud based and on-premise solutions. Considering security in the cloud is integral, despite the flexibility and ease it can offer. On-premise lets companies maintain more control, but can be expensive and clunky, and internal security must be top-tier. The best plan of action is to vet the provider closely, and keep updated on new trends.