What is the Cloud and Saas? Introducing the Cloud and its Benefits

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1 Powerful Cloud based Accounting Software for Mid-Sized Businesses including Multiple Company Consolidation. What is the Cloud and Saas? Introducing the Cloud and its Benefits

2 The Cloud refers to the practice of using remote Datacentres to locate one s IT infrastructure (computers and software) rather than the use of local in-house servers. These Datacentres are equipped with the very highest levels of penetration defence and firewalls, anti-hacking and anti-denial of service protections, together with strict controls over physical access. Power security is achieved through connection to a least two separate electricity grid substations backed up by in-house Battery Storage and Diesel Generators in the event of a prolonged power outage (and indeed most Tier 4 datacentres will also have their own off site fuel storage facilities). The Datacentres are also equipped with the most up to date and comprehensive fire and other contingency protection facilities and these defensive and safety systems are fully tested at a minimum of once a month. In addition, they are manned 24 hours a day, provide for automatic and continuous data backup using replication techniques onto separate storage devices followed by frequent offsite backup onto remote storage facilities in a twin data centre. Tier 4 Datacentres generally guarantee up-time in excess of 99.98% (inclusive of planned downtime). All in all these facilities and service levels could not be surpassed except in those organisations with an annual IT Budget far in excess of that of most businesses. Economies of scale are achieved by the Datacentre operators through rental of space in their facilities to many different Clients like AccountsIQ, who, in turn, further achieve economies of scale by providing extensive infrastructure with unlimited storage and computing power to our own Customers using the AccountsIQ IT resources located in Datacentres in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia. Customer access to the facilities is through an Internet connection from anywhere in the world. The Customer will then pay a monthly fee for use of storage space within the Datacentre. Cloud Software providers, such as AccountsIQ, will use these datacentres to host their software and then charge customers a monthly fee in order to (a) use the software and (b) to store the customers data within the datacentre. This is known as Software as a Service or SaaS. You never actually own the software (unlike when you purchase a traditional piece of software which you then install on your PC/locally hosted server) but rather rent the software. The data stored within the datacentre as a result of you using the software (i.e. historical data) is owned by the Customer and when you cease to use the software should be returned to you. The SaaS model is also creating a new relationship dynamic between the software vendor/client. Cloud software is continuously being developed and upgraded, with each and every product development/upgrade deployed to every single user. For example, accountsiq has an upgrade every two weeks, with major functionality upgrades occurring once a quarter. This means that the software evolves, quite often at a rapid rate. The path of evolution of the software tends to come from feedback from users of the software who quite often

3 request new functionality. This creates an on-going relationship between the vendor/client with constant two way interaction between the two. Software vendors will be explaining what is/has been developed on an on-going basis, whilst clients will be asked for feedback and suggestions about what they require. In addition, support services are also Cloud based making support and assistance easier to access. Our Customers pay a single low monthly fee (known as Software as a Service - SaaS) to access the AccountsIQ Application suite and their data in their own segregated infrastructure. Crucially, unlike most of our competitors who store all their Customer s data in one gigantic database, each Client of AccountsIQ has his own discrete and private database with little fear of cross-over or accidental access by other clients. The quantum of monthly fee is mostly determined by the number of simultaneous users the Client requires and there are no other limitations on the amount of computing power or storage required for the vast majority of clients. There is an on-going programme of software enhancements and updates and these are also automatically provided within this single monthly charge. And most importantly, the roll-out of such additional new functionality will never cause an interruption of service to the customer. Deploying the AccountsIQ Cloud Computing and SaaS model in your business enables access at any time to the Applications from anywhere in the world, using any internet connected device (with appropriate security and permissions). You can facilitate simultaneous collaboration with multiple users within your organisation through this centralised online service - which makes it a particularly attractive solution for companies or organisations which are geographically dispersed. There is no need any more for in-house servers, private networks, etc. and you can eliminate costly labour associated with the operation and maintenance of such facilities. Access anywhere 24-7 enabling flexible work practices: The datacentre will allow access to the data/software from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection at any time of day or night. This means you can typically access your software package from a tablet/phone or laptop wherever you may be. This is in contrast to traditional software that will be installed on a single PC or work server which can only be accessed from your office. Particularly suited to Multi-Location Businesses: The nature of being able to access the software from anywhere and having multiple users access the software at the same time means that multi location businesses can easily deploy the software across their business group without the need to install the software at each location. The accounts for each business can then be easily updated and the results monitored in real-time.

4 Full Software and Hardware Maintenance included: The Datacentre will handle all the maintenance of the IT Infrastructure including upgrading servers and maintaining security patches. Meanwhile the Software provider will maintain the software and all upgrades of the software are included in your monthly fee. This means that there are no upgrade costs for new versions of software and your software version is always the latest version available. Private Database for each AccountsIQ Client Company: This is truly unique to AccountsIQ whereby every single client of ours has their own Database in which their data is stored. This is in contrast to our competitors who store data for all clients on one single gigantic database and thereby co-mingle data. Having your own database means there is an added layer of security (no co-mingling of data), an ability to easily scale the number of transactions being processed and easier back-ups and restoration of data when required. Unlimited Storage and Computing Power: No matter how much data you are processing or storing (for historical purposes) you will never have to worry about this. This means you can scale your usage of the software easily and quickly and will never have to purchase new servers to store data. Additionally you will never have to be concerned about storing historical data as this will be done automatically for you. Safety Backups automatically provided: All back-ups are included as part of the service with a superior level of data back-up, storage and restoration than that which can be achieved having your own IT department handle the process. Indeed, accountsiq can restore data to within 1 hour of the last session if required and we can have this done very quickly for you. Extensive Security & Protection: The datacentre handles the security protection with 24/7 monitoring of firewalls to ensure they are not being penetrated. Additionally security patches are updated constantly ensuring that the latest patches are installed to protect against new viruses. Work Flow Approval processes: The nature of the Cloud, with multiple users being able to access the software from anywhere in the world, enables additional features to be introduced to increase business activity security such as workflow approval. You can now add an extra layer of security to your day-to-day business activity by ensuring employees must get approval to allow them to sign-off certain activities. Document Management and paperless offices: In addition to storing the software and data in the Cloud, the accountsiq software also has a document management system that allows you to store any document you wish. These can be invoices, scanned

5 receipts (for expense claims) or customer contracts and information. This can save on storage costs for servers hosted locally. In addition you can encourage customers and suppliers to move to online invoices and receipts to save on paper and thereby increase your green credentials. Ability to control individual User access and Permissions: The Cloud allows you to have numerous users access the system at any time. Each and every user will have their own 3 tier login individual to them. Additionally, and uniquely to accountsiq, you can control which parts of functionality each and every user has access to, enabling them to only have access to what is relevant to their role. Support & Help Desk included: All support and Helpdesk functions are included within the monthly SaaS fee meaning there is no additional fee on top of purchasing the software as there tends to be with desktop solutions. Support is also Cloud based meaning it can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Automatic updates of Application Software: As previously mentioned the software is developed constantly and continuously upgraded. This means there is only ever one version of the software that is released to all clients and you will never have to worry about old versions of software, upgrades and data migration. You will be seamlessly and continuously using the latest version of software at no additional cost. Low fixed Monthly cost: The monthly SaaS fee spreads the cost of the software meaning you don t have expensive (and often quite large) upfront costs of purchasing the software. You also will not have additional annual support costs, or upgrade costs. In addition you do not have to purchase IT infrastructure nor have the support costs associated with keeping this maintained and monitored. No In-House Infrastructure and on-going Operational Costs: Quite often people compare the costs of SaaS versus Desktop packages as the monthly SaaS fee over 12 months versus the upfront cost of a desktop package. However, there are other costs involved in desktop packages such as IT infrastructure (servers) and on-going operational costs (the cost of your IT department maintaining this infrastructure and making sure security is up to date). No back-up & off-site storage requirements: Nearly all companies will be required to store accounts data (and other data) for a minimum period which can sometimes be for up to 10 years. With Cloud computing this is not an issue as the data is stored automatically for you. We can also archive data on request and all this is included in the monthly SaaS fee.

6 No disaster recovery requirements: Disaster recovery is increasingly critical in the modern world and with Cloud computing the datacentre handles this to a level that is unrivalled. You will have a superior level of protection that cannot be afforded by doing this in-house. No version/licence issues or costs: There is only ever one version of the system which is the most up to date version. This means you will never have to upgrade the software or be concerned that a new version of the software is released and you will have to spend time and money migrating data. The above advantages of the Cloud are generalised and relevant to every single user of the system. There will also be unique advantages of using accountsiq that will individual to users in different sectors.

7 For more information please visit: or contact: Andy McKeown UK Business Development Manager

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