Hosted Software or Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts software and makes the software available to customers via the cloud. The benefits of such a service mean this is now a growing service trend among many businesses in the UK and Ireland. Rather than make vast investments of time and infrastructure in hosting and maintaining a system on site, more and more organisations are opting for the convenience and cost-savings available by using a Hosted Software Provider.
However, as the popularity of hosted systems grows, how can companies discern which provider is the right one? Here are some questions to ask a potential Hosted Software Provider before you sign on the dotted line.
- How are the fees managed?
Hosted solutions mean there is no need to set up additional servers or infrastructure because everything is managed externally from a secure location. Generally, you pay for this service monthly, but be sure to confirm with the provider, that this is the case. Ensure you are fully aware of the coverage you receive for this fee, such as technical support.
- What security procedure and accreditations do they have?
One of the concerns many companies have about hosted solutions is data security, especially considering the GDPR reform. This is an especially critical area for Payroll and HR departments due to the sensitive nature of the data they hold. A good starting point is to look at your processes and see how the Hosted Software Provider’s security standards match up. Ensure the supplier has procedures in place for disaster recovery and meets a recognised standard such as ISO27001 which is an internationally recognised best practice framework for an information security management system.
- How are updates handled?
One of the significant selling points of hosted solutions is the minimal fuss required to update the system. Traditionally, in-house systems could take considerable time to upgrade which was both costly and time-consuming. By comparison, hosted solutions tend to undergo regular and scheduled maintenance. Ensure this is the case with the Hosted Software Provider and that these updates will be communicated to you well in advance.
- How long will the changeover take?
Getting any new system off the ground can be an intricate process. With the amount of time and resources it can take before it’s fully working, it’s always a good idea to get a grasp on the provider’s implementation processes. So, ensure you ask the provider for a project plan so you are fully aware of how long this process will take, as too much downtime between changes can affect your business.
Above all, ensure you chose a hosted software provider that has excellent customer service, good client experience feedback and a strong support team.