There’s a lot of talk these days about “the cloud” and certainly there are advantages to SaaS (software as a service), but it’s important to know there are disadvantages too — particularly when assessing contract management software.
Contract management software typically handles some of the most confidential, sensitive information for your business. Can you fully trust a third party to safely store and process your contracts and other critical documents? Hosted software means that crucial business information is sitting on someone else’s server.
That can be a considerable risk for several reasons.
Let’s face it – vendor/solution provider viability is a significant concern. What would happen if your SaaS provider suddenly ceases operations? Not only does your access disappear, but the integrity and protection of your business information comes into serious question.
Suppose you were overly cautious and stored your own backups so your contracts were never out of your reach. You may retain the files – but what about the time and investment your company has put into using the vendor’s software. And you may not be able to replace that functionality quickly enough to stay ahead of deadlines.
Even if the software provider stays afloat, the very fact that your data is being stored on the Internet is an inherent risk not to be taken lightly. Hackers and competitors can steal, ruin, or even just finagle access to your documents. These risks are real and need to be evaluated against the benefits of using a contract management SaaS.
Keep It Local
How can you mitigate these risks while still reaping the benefits of a contract management system?
Look seriously at a software program that becomes an intimate component of your business management infrastructure. Keep your data on your system for your eyes only. Put it behind the security system and firewalls your company has trust in.
Software running on your computer or network is operational – whether or not you have Internet access, whether or not the software vendor’s company is operational. The contract management software continues to work as promised and your contracts, and your business, continue to perform.