Ransomware. Malware. Hackers. By now, you should be familiar with the digital threats affecting all online platforms worldwide (rarely, a month goes by without hearing about a virtual attack). And yes, this includes the Association Management Software used in our buildings. Security, Uptime, Ease of Deployment, Barriers to Adoption, and Speed of New Capabilities, among others, are what every property manager needs to seek.
So how exactly should managers and boards select the right platform for their community to work with? Here’s a breakdown of five key things to keep in mind to decide whether you’re going cloud native or sticking to outdated client servers.
It might sound surprising, but there are many companies still storing their client’s data in physical servers that consume massive amounts of energy and that are housed in buildings that are prone to climate disasters or terrorist attacks. Do you remember those old-school images of computers the size of a whole room? Needless to say, these types of architecture have become obsolete as more and more companies switch from hardware servers to cloud-native options, a mirror-based network where the information is stored in several different data centers that support each other in case of an outage or emergency.
Let’s say your building was a victim of a malicious attack. If your information is in the cloud and the server goes down, other nodes in the virtual network will take over, continuing to run your operation. In an on-premise server, an on-site problem—whether it’s hardware or software related—will halt all your work until it’s fixed, rendering the stored information unavailable. The cloud alerts the data owner about an issue and offer an immediate report, while the traditional server needs to be fixed/brought back online before one can assess the situation, interrupting your work and your client’s access to information. In case of failure, you want your server to be proactive, not reactive.
Flexibility and Scalability
When looking for an association management software ask yourself: how easy is it to implement changes when my company or building needs to grow? The main difference between the traditional hosting and cloud hosting is that the latter allows for infinite growth, while the retro networking of fixed servers will require an adjustment of maintenance fees if you were to need new licenses or if your client base increases. And keep in mind that even then, the server space would eventually reach its limit. The cloud is infinite.
Selecting an on-site server can drain your energy as your IT team will have to audit different suppliers according to your needs (i.e. location; the farther it is from your operation, the slower it will be). Running on a cloud server requires very little beyond signing up. The provider will be in charge of the server’s running, including fixing any bugs or strengthening security loopholes. These highly automated offerings imply that the server will always be up to date, limiting the disruption possibilities thanks to constant collective testing.
With on-site servers, you get what you see—a bulky inflexible hardware. On the other hand, cloud servers allow you to develop and apply service-oriented templates that make accessing and sharing data more homogenous. This includes being able to synchronize with other software: in the case of ONR, we’ve fused our capabilities with those of management companies such as TOPS, Caliber, and Quickbooks (with more on the way). Being able to plug-in with cloud-ready APIs allows your business to evolve seamlessly. This will help lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as you can create a bespoke protocol that includes fixed costs to secure, run, integrate, and manage the information.
Bonus: Consumer-like experience
There are few things as enervating as a system that feels stuck in the 1990s; today’s digital nomads are demanding a modern interface and a dynamic experience that feels organic. Cloud data allows for the flexibility of always enhancing and updating the consumer experience; the reviews prove it. ONR’s sleek interface and functionality has ranked us top in the market—and yes, all our data is stored in cloud servers and works with APIs that include AWS, Twilio, Stripe, Hubspot, and Plaid, to name a few within our tech stack.
Don’t waste your time with obsolete technologies that signify data risks; the cloud is the flexible, secure, and customizable solution for your information storage needs. And always make sure you leverage a cloud-powered platform, like ONR, that ensures availability and scalability.