It wasn’t too long ago that business owners were voicing skepticism over transitioning their operations to the cloud. Among the many concerns were security and reliability that, if not handled properly, could cripple a small business indefinitely. Concerns were so great that payroll providers found it nearly impossible to sell an online payroll service to clients looking for something new. Now that the cloud has matured however, things are beginning to change.
Cloud computing has essentially taken over the modern digital world. So much is now done in the cloud that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find business operations still powered by local servers with limited connectivity. That means the business owner looking to outsource payroll functions and other HR operations is now more likely than ever to be looking at a cloud-based online payroll service.
Today’s Security Much Stronger
Security measures in place to protect the cloud today are much stronger than they were in the past. In the early days of the cloud, security was almost laughable to the point that CEOs and CFOs alike would not trust cloud vendors or applications with even the most irrelevant of data. That is no longer the case. The cloud is now exceptionally secure for the needs of the average small or medium-sized business.
Modern cloud security is based on three important principles:
- Encryption – The data stored on cloud servers is encrypted to prevent access even if someone manages to break into a network. The stronger encryption becomes, the harder it is to breach protected data.
- Password Protection – Though password protection is nothing new, it is still an integral component of cloud security. Furthermore, the password protection of today is quickly evolving into biometric protection that will eventually eliminate passwords altogether.
- Multiple Servers – At the core of cloud technology are the multiple servers across which data is spread. The use of multiple servers increases redundancy, reduces downtime, and mitigates many of the past security concerns of cloud computing.
Some cloud proponents make the case that cloud-based online payroll services are actually more secure than systems set up on isolated, local networks. That may or may not be true, but cloud security is infinitely more robust now than it was when the cloud platform was first introduced.
Real-Time Data Access
After data security, the most critical component of online payroll is real-time access to data. This is where companies utilizing cloud-based applications really shine. In the cloud, data is accessible from anywhere in the world – in real time and at lightning fast speeds. While an accountant at the payroll service is preparing data for weekly paychecks, an HR department representative back at the client’s office can access the same data without any loss of performance or risk of corruption.
Moving payroll operations to the cloud virtually eliminates the need for any local storage of payroll data. It eradicates the need for small and medium-sized businesses to purchase their own servers, hire their own IT staff, and maintain a legion of payroll specialists capable of administering payroll. In place of all that, a single employee can enter payroll information into a cloud-based application and leave the rest to the payroll services vendor.
There is no doubt that the maturity of the cloud has paid huge dividends for online payroll service providers. Thanks to a more secure and robust cloud, companies can offer a much broader range of services to small and medium-sized businesses looking to outsource payroll and other back office functions. In the end, both payroll providers and their clients win.