With all the talk about new technology like web-based screens, easy mobile access, and cloud-based ERP, a lot of customers have been asking us about options for updating their Sage 300 (formerly Accpac) system while minimizing IT hassles and server maintenance.
So we wanted to take a moment and explain why some Sage 300 customers are choosing to have their ERP system hosted in the cloud rather than maintaining their servers and systems themselves.
What is the Cloud?
Before we dig in, it’s helpful for us to get on the same page about what “the cloud” and “ERP hosting” mean.
In a nutshell, it means that your Sage 300 software and the server it’s installed on is located offsite and accessed remotely via an internet connection. This offsite location is usually referred to as the cloud.
The server and other technology infrastructure that holds Sage 300 in the cloud and allows you to access it over the internet is usually updated and maintained by a company that’s providing you with a service called hosting.
The terms cloud and hosting are often used interchangeably.
With that said, why would you choose Sage 300 hosting (in the cloud) over a traditional on-premises installation?
Let’s take a look at some common reasons customers choose hosting.
Outsource the Technical Cost and Headache
This is probably the number one benefit for most, particularly for small businesses with limited technical expertise in-house (or none at all).
With Sage 300 hosting, someone else is responsible for managing the technical infrastructure like servers, databases, and networks. All the IT headaches, troubleshooting, server maintenance, and system upgrades are no longer your responsibility or burden. All you need to worry about is leveraging the features of Sage 300 to run your business efficiently.
Not only do you eliminate the cost of servers, databases, and other technology infrastructure needed to run your Sage 300 software, you also reduce (or eliminate) the cost of paying full or part-time IT staff to support and maintain it all.
Hosting Technology is Faster and More Reliable
Companies that provide ERP hosting are typically running super fast servers on world-class technology that many small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the expertise or budget to implement in-house.
Most hosting companies also maintain redundant systems so that if the server running your Sage 300 system goes down for any reason, it’s automatically picked up by another server within seconds and you probably wouldn’t even notice.
It all means that you’re running on technology that’s much faster than you’d typically purchase for in-house use, and it’s up and running at a near 100% reliability rate without any disruption to your business. There are a lot of companies running their software on-premises that don’t experience that same reliability and have to take their systems offline to troubleshoot more often than they’d like.
Easy Mobile Access
Another benefit that companies tend to enjoy after moving their Sage 300 software to the cloud is the ease of access to the system. You can be in the office, on the road, or at home using any laptop, PC, mobile device, or tablet and log right onto Sage 300 using an internet browser and secure login. You’re no longer tethered to your desk or have to go through complicated remote access routines.
Automated Backup and Advanced Security
Another benefit is that most hosting providers automatically backup your ERP system data. In fact, some of them run continuous backups throughout the day. And at the very least, you get daily backups that are stored for at least a month, and monthly backups that are stored for a year or more.
When you’re managing your system and servers in-house, it’s really easy to forget to backup data, or end up spending several days recreating transactions and records manually because you didn’t backup frequently enough. Worse yet, some companies don’t realize that the backups they ARE performing aren’t formatted properly, only to discover the nightmare that the backups are unusable when they try to restore the corrupt files.
When it comes to server and system security, most small businesses don’t come anywhere near the safeguards that a hosting provider can deliver including redundant firewalls, encrypted data, authentication, and user access restrictions that create an environment that’s as secure (maybe more) as any bank or financial institution.
In short, your Sage 300 system and sensitive financial data is actually MORE secure offsite with a hosting provider than it is on your own server down the hall in the office.
Do You Lose Control and Flexibility?
Some companies think that when you move to a hosted environment, you’re giving up control of your Sage 300 software and can no longer customize the software like you could if it was installed on-premises.
But that’s simply not true.
With Private Hosting, the server and Sage 300 software is yours to do with as you please. You can still configure the system anyway you like, customize the software, and even integrate external third party applications (i.e. eCommerce, Insurance Billing, etc) with Sage 300.
Is Sage 300 Hosting Right for YOU?
The answer is different for each company. Some see tremendous cost savings and other benefits, while others have plenty of budget and full-time in-house IT staff who prefer to keep their technology infrastructure close by – if nothing more than for peace of mind.
Sage 300 Hosting and Acumen Information Systems
At Acumen Information Systems, we offer our customers a variety of Sage 300 hosting options. We’ve hand-selected and partnered with the most reputable hosting providers in the ERP industry to provide options and services that are top-notch and reliable.
If you’ve considered Sage 300 hosting but aren’t sure where to start, leave your name below and we’ll follow up shortly to provide information and guidance.