Help Desk Software in the Cloud
Most of us now use the cloud in some capacity. We access personal data, communicate and share information with friends using services like iCloud, Flickr and Dropbox. The popularity of personal cloud computing has exploded, mainly thanks to faster data connections, better security and mainstream buy-in from companies like Apple.
A SaaS (Software as a Service) application is one that runs remotely in the cloud and is accessed via a web browser. If you use something like Google Docs, you already use SaaS. More and more enterprise users are considering SaaS as a main part of their IT provision, mainly because mobile devices allow people to take their work wherever they go.
Help desk service software is also now available through the cloud, along with more general customer service cloud provision. If you need a new help desk software provider, you’ll probably come across SaaS and in-house solutions in the course of your research. Both have their pros and cons, but here are a few key factors to consider before you make that final choice.
Help Desk Software In-House
If you choose to install your own help desk software, your team will likely need to understand web technologies at least at a basic level. Of course, your help desk software vendor should offer installation services that can make this a much easier process. Skills won’t be a concern in a technical team, but you may have to factor in some testing time and training. But a self-hosted help desk application puts your team in full control of customization, branding and maintenance, and if your technical team want that kind of advanced control over your help desk application, that’s a key consideration.
Of course, the big advantage is that precious data (including data about your users) is all stored on your own servers. That means it’s always in your hands, so you’re in control of privacy and security.
Risks of Help Desk Software in the Cloud
SaaS is more scalable, and it’s a more accessible option for smaller organizations, but if the worst did happen, you’d need a workaround – and fast. There have been some very high-profile SaaS outages involving huge multinational companies like Amazon and BlackBerry. When choosing a SaaS provider, check that they have adequate redundancy and a good spread of data center locations.
Running any SaaS application usually means paying a monthly subscription fee. If you’re in need of a long-term solution, it’s usually more cost-effective to buy into a product and self-install. Consider the short term vs. long term costs of ownership. A cloud solution is typically less up-front investment, but can cost much more over the course of time. If you sign a long-term agreement, your prices may be locked in, but you are stuck with what you bought for the term you agreed upon. If you have a short term commitment, you may be at the mercy of the provider if the price of your help desk software goes up in the future.
My Help Desk Software Vendor Doesn’t Offer a Cloud Version
There is a way to get around this. If you’re hooked on a product but need to run it in the cloud, you can pay a rolling fee to a hosting company who will host it for you. There will be an upfront cost to cover, plus the monthly fee for the hosting, but this is likely to be less. Depending on the type of host you choose for your help desk software, your costs could vary based on your usage of storage, RAM, bandwidth and even computing cycles. You can also host your help desk software on a third party dedicated server which will allow for fixed costs, but may not be as easily scalable as a true cloud host. Hosting help desk service software on your own terms can often provide the best of both worlds.
Cloud Based Help Desk Software Conclusion
Many organizations find it easy enough to host their help desk software in-house. If the product is not overly complicated and does not require extensive hardware or network resources, it’s often a simple process. But when you need a cloud solution, consider either a vendor with ready-to-go cloud based help desk software, or choose a host carefully. Some excellent hosts with strong reputations are Google Cloud, Rackspace, Amazon, or Akamai.