If you are looking at an online studio management system for your music school or dance studio, you will have come across online services such as YourVirtuoso and maybe you are a little uneasy with not having a CD of software to install?
Here are some thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of the online approach, know as SAAS in tech. circles - Software as a Service.
- No need to install software. Simply sign up and login.
- No compatibility issues. Typically any PC or Mac with any modern Browser is all you need.
- Access your system from anywhere. Anywhere you have an internet connection, that is. Yes, even from your smartphone!
- Easily provide access to other staff members.
- No IT resources needed
- New features added seamlessly without effort on your part.
- Ability to integrate with your website for online registration
- Security concerns: All your studio data is "in the cloud" on someone elses computer servers. Make sure the provider is using a quality hosting organization. If they are, your data is probably protected much more effectively than if it were on your hard drive. Data centers are so large these days they have fancy biometric security access arrangements, guards, alarms, encrypted data etc. etc.
- Accessibility: What if your internet connection goes down? I would recommend you have two different ways to acces your data. The problem will not be on the server end (they should have duplicate, redundant access connections), it will be on your internet service. Don't plan on using your neighbor's connection either, as it will probably be down too, but if you have a studio connection, home service, and smartphone data, you should have little to worry about.
- Losing Data: Can you be sure a service provider will take care of your data as well as you do? In my experience, you can actually figure they will do a much better job. They often backup all your data hourly, and can restore it very quickly if a disaster strikes.
I realize this analysis seems a bit one-sided now I re-read it, but I think it is fair. Let me know if you have had bad experiences, or have other concerns with online studio management software.