The beauty of cloud based systems is that things like security, software updates, system upgrades and data backups can now be handled offsite by organizations that have core competencies in these areas.
The amount of support the cloud provider gives your organization depends on on the type of cloud service provider they are, Software as a Service(SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Software as a Service (SaaS): The customer accesses applications controlled by the Cloud Provider. These applications run within a cloud infrastructure. The customer does not control application capabilities, servers, operating systems, storage, network or underlying cloud infrastructure. In this model, the customer has the least amount of flexibility and control of the cloud environment. On the other hand, security is integrated at a high level because the cloud service provider is responsible for everything. Salesforce.com would be a good example of this SPI Model.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): The Cloud Provider grants customers the ability to deploy customer created applications or purchased applications onto the cloud. The customer does not control servers, operating systems, storage, network or underlying cloud infrastructure. However, the customer can deploy their own applications. This model gives the customer more control over their cloud platform than the SaaS model. There are fewer pre-built features for the customer. The customer can add additional layers of security.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The customer can deploy software, including applications and operating systems. The customer has control over operating systems, storage, and applications. The customer does not have control of the underlying cloud infrastructure. The customer has a great deal of latitude about how the operating system and applications are configured. Because of this, the customer bears a much greater share of responsibility for managing the security of their platform. Amazon’s AWS EC2 offering is an example of this model.
Whatever cloud based model your organization uses, the IT team can focus on supporting core aspects of your business.
The downside to cloud based ERP systems is that you are relying on another organization to guard your data. If an organization is planning on moving to a cloud based system, it’s very important that Service Level Agreements and assurances are worked out ahead of time.