Goldenseal Pro for the Cloud (Aug 25)

Every week or two, we get unsolicited phone calls from companies that migrate desktop apps to “the cloud”. It’s known as SAAS (Software as a Service). Usually they ask a lot of questions and try to sound like buyers, before revealing the real reason they called. However, still not as annoying as the almost daily “Hi, this is Heather…” scam calls.

Basically, SAAS means that the Goldenseal app will run on a server somewhere, instead of on your own computer. Your company file will also be stored on a server somewhere, and you’ll run it over the Internet. It’s pretty much like using a website.

The plus side for you is that you can access your data from any desktop or laptop computer that has an Internet connection, and you don’t even need to install Goldenseal. Up-front costs are also lower. The plus side for us is steadier cash flow, since it’s a monthly payment instead of a one-time fee. It’s why QuickBooks is aggressively moving all users to their monthly cloud-based service, and gradually abandoning their desktop apps. A monthly fee is more lucrative than forcing people into upgrades.

The minus side for you is that you can’t access your data if you don’t have an Internet connection (or stop paying the monthly fee). It’s also more expensive in the long run. The minus side for both you and us is that your data is totally dependent on someone maintaining those servers properly. One potential problem is plain old data loss, if there is an unfortunate sequence of events that kills both their main data storage, and the backups. A more subtle (and more common) problem is a data breach, where some stranger suddenly has all your company records.

We do not want to get into the server maintenance business. Even if we have incredibly smart people tending things, there are always smarter people with more time on their hands, trying to breach whatever security we have. It’s just too risky. We don’t want to be worrying all the time about losing or spilling other people’s vital data.

Likewise, we don’t want to be trusting all those small companies who are calling to offer SAAS services. It just adds one more layer of risk, since we don’t know how good they are at security. If they fail, we and our users are the ones that suffer, while they can quietly disappear.

There are a few larger companies that offer SAAS. So far we haven’t done much investigating of their services. It doesn’t make sense to do so before Goldenseal Pro is out the door. The computer industry in general has been very sloppy about data breaches, so even the biggest providers will have some risk. SAAS sounds great in theory, but it adds more failure points.

Our vision for Goldenseal Pro is to let you run your own data server. It will still depend on regular backups and decent network security. Fortunately, both Windows and Mac OS provide those features, without much effort. You really should use Time Machine (Mac) or File History and Windows Backup/Restore (Windows) for all your data, not just ours.

Despite the problems, it still may make sense for us to offer a cloud-based SAAS service, if only because it’s becoming so popular. We’d appreciate hearing opinions about it from users, and potential users.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director
TurtleSoft.com

 

Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.

One thought on “Goldenseal Pro for the Cloud (Aug 25)”

  1. Dennis-
    Just read your recent post on SAS/Goldenseal.

    For the last year or so I have parked my GS company file on Microsoft OneDrive and then installed the application on my office computer, home computer and a laptop. I access GS from all three machines at different times, but never at the same time.

    So far it has worked great, I was in Japan in June for two weeks and with my laptop and was able to crank out a couple of estimates to clients back here in the States, emailed them as PDF’s

    One thing to keep in mind is that before you shut down the computer you are on you have to make sure OneDrive is up to date, you can see this by looking at the one Drive Icon in the lower right corner of the computer. If you shut it down too soon GS won’t be able to save all your work and it will make a new copy of the company file, this can get really confusing when you go to work on different machine at a later date.

    I don’t think this would work well in a multi user environment because of save/update issues, but for me as a single user it has been great. My wife is really happy since I can work from home more often.

    *Note— My office computer uses Carbonite for backup and this seems to cause total havoc with GS, so anytime I open up GS at the office I first go into Carbonite and pause it for a few hours. Prior to understanding this GS would crash constantly and I would lose hours of work, now that I do this I almost never have an issue with GS crashing.

    Microsoft is currently working on a “One operating System strategy” meaning the same version of Windows 10 will run on your desk top, tablet or smart phone. Once they do this all desktop apps will be able to run on your phone, including Goldenseal! And for those who dont know there is a “Windows 10 Mobile” platform” and a few phones that run it but its not yet able to run full desktop applications.

    -Jud

    Jud Aley
    R.J. Aley Building Contractor
    203-226-9933
    http://www.rjaley.com

    Design+Build – Remodeling – Home Energy Efficiency – Historic Preservation

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