SurePayroll Insights Survey: Small Business Owners Rely on Web-Based Software for Big Business Success

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Small business owners favor online solutions over desktop software

Michael Fineberg, SurePayroll CTO

If business owners are informed about how to get the greatest advantage out of SaaS, it can empower them to dramatically increase productivity

A recent survey conducted by online payroll service SurePayroll reveals that small business owners are increasingly abandoning traditional desktop software solutions in favor of Web-based software that better allows them to compete with big business, with nearly 3 out of 4 saying they rely on it to be successful.

Web-based software, commonly known as "software as a service" (SaaS), enables users to work in an online environment instead of purchasing or licensing the software, which has been the more traditional approach among business owners. Some of the most well-known examples of SaaS include SalesForce, McAfee and banks that provide online accounts.

The survey suggests that SaaS is making significant strides in popularity in the small business community, with 58 percent of respondents indicating that their use of Web-based software is increasing dramatically each year, in addition to the nearly three-fourths who feel business success depends on it.

"The use of online software is growing so rapidly among small business owners because they understand that it can mean the difference between success and failure," says SurePayroll Chief Technology Officer Michael Fineberg. "Access to these comprehensive, easy-to-use solutions allows small businesses to level the playing field with big business to a greater extent than ever."

According to the survey results, SaaS popularity will not wane anytime soon. In fact, 3 out of 4 respondents believe that within 10 years there will be no such thing as desktop software and that all applications will exist on servers that users will access remotely.

"When SurePayroll launched the first SaaS payroll service in 2000, it was only the early technology adaptors who immediately saw the benefits and jumped on board," says Fineberg. "In 2008, most small business owners seem to understand the advantages of using Web-based software as a low-maintenance and low-commitment business tool."

According to a survey of business technology professionals conducted by InformationWeek Research and publicized in the June 2008 issue of InformationWeek, SaaS is an appealing solution for business leaders because of its reliability, ease of use and ability to be upgraded. SurePayroll's survey had similar findings, with respondents saying they enjoy convenient access from anywhere, the fact that they don't need internal support for the software, and fast and easy implementation.

-- SaaS Security Ranks as Top Concern Among Small Business Owners --

Although most small business owners are using SaaS to achieve big business benefits, the SurePayroll survey also indicates that they do not necessarily feel secure. 60 percent of respondents considered security risk a drawback of using Web-hosted software.

"It's true that not all Web-based software is secure, and that's why business owners have to make sure they fully understand the functionality and history of an online service before making it a part of their business," says Fineberg.

According to Fineberg, small business owners shouldn't be afraid to ask a web-based business about their security, recommending they ask the following key questions:

1. Do they perform comprehensive vulnerability audits and penetration tests regularly?

2. Do they perform daily scans, conferring the HackerSafe certification?

3. Do they utilize firewalls, encryption and other intrusion prevention mechanisms?

"If business owners are informed about how to get the greatest advantage out of SaaS, it can empower them to dramatically increase productivity," he says. "The effects of this trend will only become more apparent as small business leaders continue to discover the nuances of Web-based software."

About SurePayroll:

Voted Editor's Choice for best payroll service by PC Magazine, a Top 100 Product by Accounting Today and finalist in the Best Customer Care and Best Product categories of the 2008 American Business Awards, SurePayroll is America's largest full-service online payroll service and honoree of the of the INC 500 Fastest Growing Businesses award two years in a row.

SurePayroll is passionate about small businesses and their payroll. The company is dedicated to providing an extremely friendly and simple payroll experience -- at a price small business owners can afford.

In addition to its payroll and ClickFREE(TM) tax file and pay service -- which allows a user to complete the entire payroll process in minutes -- SurePayroll offers a suite of online services designed specifically for small business, including HR and compliance resources, 401(k) retirement solutions, health insurance and workers' compensation products.

SurePayroll also offers a private-label and co-branded payroll service to accountants and banking partners to offer payroll processing to their small business clients.

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Frank Krolicki
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