Online v/s Offline Church Software

The myth and reality

The most discussed topic when it comes to running a software online is whether it is safe compared to running it offline (on local systems). The reality is whether a software runs online or offline; it requires a minimum credible level of security and protection for both environments. These include encryption, firewall, automated regular data backup, disaster recovery setup, regular updates and upgrades, physical access security, and protection from theft, fire and other unexpected events.

Online software is centralized with the above as a standardized procedure whereas offline installations are spread across numerous systems and remain exposed to these threats.

Today, businesses and users have realized the large scale of economy and convenience with online solutions and moving up to to Cloud computing. Data centers, hence follow online banking level security as a standardized practice.

Online/Offline - a comparison

Implementation - Online systems are pre-installed and parishes can just logon and populate information and data either themselves, or through trusted representatives or even through family unit representative to begin with. In case of offline systems, every parish needs to be visited to install the software and takes a long time to complete it.

Data Security - Offline systems do not adhere to regular backup and in case of data or system crash, data is lost beyond recovery whereas, online servers have multiple, daily automated backups as a standard procedure. In case of a crash, the system and data are restored quickly

System Security - Apart from data crash, local systems are exposed to theft, fire and other unexpected natural disasters. An online system is designed to withstand all these eventualities in a modern Data Center that follows all regulatory compliances

Software maintenance - Every software requires regular updates and upgrades to make it compatible with the frequent changes to Operating Systems, Browsers and new devices. In online environment, the implementation and testing is done at the data center ensuring it works for all. In case of offline system, every single system needs to be updated, often requiring onsite technical help by professionals.

System Maintenance - Since online software is browser based which is part of all systems and devices, it would run alike on all. In the case of offline system, if a software or hardware is not compatible, it would require upgrade/update locally. It also means if the particular system running the software is having a problem, the software cannot be operated. An online system can be operated from another system.

Centralized Command and Control - In the event system requires monitoring and locking, it is easy to do so on an online server with a single command. This is not possible with offline systems that requires manual intervention on every system

Member Data accuracy and regular update - When members are given login access, their information remains up-to-date and accurate avoiding the need to submit it manually. On an online system, even family units can update information during regular family meetings with the help of a single system

Data integration with Diocese - An online system updates all information and data with the diocese automatically providing real-time consolidated information and statistics of all parishes. This is not a possibility with offline systems where the information stays locally

Anywhere Access - An online system can be accessed from anywhere helping parish priest to conduct communications even when outside parish

Centralized Data - Online system maintains data at a secure central location. Internet Data Centers hosting online servers have very stringent security systems that are never compromised. Incase of local system, the data is spread across multiple systems and financially and technically unviable to implement even standard security

Technical expertise - With online solutions, well trained technical experts are available around the clock to monitor and maintain systems proactively. Offline systems are mostly manned by amateurs leaving the system and data open to unexpected security threats

Centralized Support - In the event of an assistance is required, the same is available around the clock and the issue is fixed then and there. Unlike an offline system, where personal visit is required and system remains inoperable.

Rs.100/- per month

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