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Is Sage 50 Cloud based?

A few years ago, Sage software launched a subscription licencing model for its popular Sage 50 Accounting software. At the same time, they threw a confusion bomb into the field by naming it Sage 50Cloud Accounts. Here’s a very common example of why that’s a problem:

An existing customer of ours, with a perpetual licence for Sage 50 Accounts needed to upgrade their software. We told them that you can no longer buy perpetual licences for Sage 50 Accounts, so here’s a quote for Sage 50Cloud Accounts subscription. Immediately the customer is concerned; they don’t want a cloud-based version of Sage, they want a desktop version, something that runs on their PC just like it always has. They want to look after their data and know where it is kept and how it is backed up. It takes quite a bit of explaining to assure them that Sage 50Cloud Accounts is not cloud based and they have no reason to be concerned.

 

So, is Sage 50Cloud cloud based or not?

The answer is “Sort of”, “If you want it to be”, “In the right circumstances”.

Let me explain, the “Cloud” version of Sage 50 is still a desktop version of the software, it needs to be installed on a Windows PC or server. It does not run in a web browser (although see later in this article about how we can make it do just that), and the data is very much stored on your PC or central Server.

The reason Sage saw fit to put the word “Cloud” in the title is that Sage have introduced a number of “Cloud based” add-on features to bring some of the benefits of cloud computing to what is a traditional desktop application.

 

What are the cloud-based features of Sage 50 Cloud Accounts?

The main feature of Sage Cloud is Remote Data Access, previously known as Sage Drive. Remote Data Access syncs your Sage data from one PC, up to the cloud, then back down to another PC. This is a great way of sharing data with your accountant, or with someone working remotely.

The reputation of Remote Data Access is – to be generous – mixed. I’ve spoken to many people who have struggled with this solution and were fed up with spending hours on the phone to Sage support because of issues with Sage Drive.

Speaking with an experienced Sage consultant, their view was that Sage Remote Data Access is fine for a small number of users, but they had seen problems for customers with a larger number of users.

The other cloud features that Sage have introduced with Sage 50C Accounts include some integrations with Microsoft 365/Office 365. One example is syncing your customer and supplier contacts with the Sage Contact app in Microsoft 365, enabling Microsoft Outlook to use that contact information when generating emails. The Sage Capture app lets you take photographs of receipts using an app on your phone. The pictures are then stored in OneDrive and added to the transaction in Sage as an attachment. Sage Capture can also be used by remote users to approve expenses, or reject them.

One cloud-based feature of Sage 50C Accounts is the ability to back up your Sage data to OneDrive. Now, I’m a very big advocate of backups, you can never have too many backups, and they are often the only Get Out of Jail Free card when you’re hit by ransomware. But, and it’s a very big but, OneDrive is NOT a backup solution. Microsoft themselves state that it is your responsibility to protect data held in OneDrive, not theirs. In other words, by all means store data in OneDrive but make sure you back that up too.

The main problem with OneDrive is that it works using data synchronisation from your PC. If your PC gets hit by ransomware you may think “no problem, I’ve backed everything up to OneDrive”, but of course your OneDrive sync folder is also encrypted by the ransomware, so this gets sync’d to Microsoft cloud, so your online version of OneDrive is also encrypted. You can in theory ask Microsoft to restore your OneDrive account to a previous state, but that will require a support call to Microsoft, so you may be waiting a few days before your data is recovered.

Using OneDrive is a way of taking a copy of your Sage backup in case you mess up month end, but don’t rely on it as a disaster recovery solution. Or if you do, make sure you also backup Office 365 using a proper cloud backup solution run by a third party.

I want a cloud-based accounting solution, should I choose a different product than Sage 50Cloud?

No, if you like the features and functionality of Sage then it is the best product for you, and there is a perfect solution to run it in the cloud.

Sage 50 Accounting is after all the UKs best selling accounting software for medium and small businesses. You can create sales invoices, quotes, purchase orders, stock valuations, manage cash flow, update VAT returns direct to HMRC with Making Tax Digital, as well as connecting direct to your bank account to make bank reconciliations easy.

If you also want a proper cloud version of Sage 50 then there is a very cost effective, reliable, and secure way of running Sage 50 in the cloud. The solution is to use a hosted remote desktop service. This is a Desktop as a Service solution, all your Sage software, the database and the client (the part that installs on your local PC) are hosted in the cloud. You and your users can access this over the internet from anywhere in the world, all in real time, and run Sage just as if it was installed on your PC. You’d struggle to know the difference.

Sage 50C hosted in the cloud is fully supported, and you can connect from non-Windows devices like Macs, iPads or Android, and, as we promised to show you earlier, you can also run it from a browser on PCs or Macs.

To find out more speak to one of technical sales team, just complete the form below or call 01282 500318.

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