Cloud-based union software (also referred to as web-based or software as a service (SaaS)) embodies the new software model that has emerged with modern internet technologies. Cloud-based legal practice management software is accessed through a web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Much like using Google’s Gmail, Dropbox, or an Amazon shopping cart, data is stored in the vendor’s database instead of on a local office computer. This means that as long as they have a valid username and password, firm staff can log in to their firm’s practice management software from virtually any web browser, regardless of whether they’re in the office, at home, or another remote location. This can offer several benefits in terms of the overall setup and maintenance costs, compatibility, usability, and security.
You can see why cloud-based union management software is preferable over on-premise solutions, which represent the more traditional software model. With on-premise union software, companies purchase licences for individual staff and then install the software from a disk or via download. The software runs on each individual’s computer, and all information is stored on that same computer. Since it’s important that information be shared and retained within the union, most unions will also network and back up data from individual computers to a central file server shared across the firm. This network is typically limited to a single local office, which means that staff need to be in the office to access, share, or back up data. To access the database from outside the office, a virtual private network (VPN) would need to be set up and maintained.