Have you ever heard the story about the cemetery that lost its records? Of course, you have. It happens all the time. Whether it is fire, flood, forever misplaced, digital negligence or many other reasons, those records are gone and not coming back. At Chronicle we have spoken to many hundreds of cemeteries over the last few years and approximately 70% of them have experienced some form of data loss over the last 50 years.
Yet, those same cemeteries are often reluctant to embrace “the cloud” for their data storage. In this article, we explore this technology hesitation and explain why storing your data in the cloud, with a dedicated cemetery software company, is likely the safest option for your records.
Information stored in the cloud is likely to be more secure than that stored on your own devices. Cloud companies often rely on far more robust cybersecurity measures to protect your sensitive data than are files, images and videos stored on your own devices. For example, a company like Google will encrypt all of your data using its strict security protocols.
What is the cloud?
Cloud computing is a way of using the power of the internet to process and store data. Rather than relying on a single computer, you take advantage of online processing power and data storage. Data moves from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones into computers and storage devices in large industrial facilities. Popular services like Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook, and Twitter are based on the idea of cloud computing.
Can I lose my data in the Cloud?
The truth is that you can lose your data in the cloud, but this doesn’t mean that you should avoid using cloud services altogether. There are ways to make sure that your data is safe on the cloud and there are some precautions that you should take before uploading your data to a cloud service. There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your data is safe in the cloud. First of all, there are different types of cloud providers. Some of them have better safety features than others. You should always choose one with the most security features. Secondly, to protect the privacy of sensitive information, make sure that your data is encrypted or that the service or software that you use encrypts your data before uploading it to the cloud server. This will protect against any unauthorized access to your data by third parties such as hackers who might want to steal or spy on your information.
What if my data is hacked?
While you may have heard stories of data being stolen from big companies, that is typically caused by a single employee’s laptop terminal being compromised by phishing, malware or hackers gaining physical access. The same stories are common for home users where hackers can use malware and phishing emails to get the information stored on your own devices and they might freeze your computer if you don’t pay them a ransom.
Hackers can not take control of your data stored in the Cloud. The data that you save with cloud service providers probably is safer than the information you have stored on your own devices.
Now that we’ve addressed the typical concerns. What are the benefits of using a Cloud-based Cemetery Software like Chronicle?
Chronicle is 100% cloud-based software. That means all of the software and your data are hosted in the cloud. Therefore our customers can take advantage of all the benefits of cloud computing such as:
Encrypted data communications
All of the data that Chronicle sends and receives to the cloud is encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard with symmetric keys, ensuring total data security between your laptop and the cloud.
- Eliminate the biggest risk for data safety. You -> Human errors.
The most common way for data to be lost or hacked is through user negligence or gross mistakes. Some examples of what we mean are:
- Laptop destroyed/broken/corrupted that had all data stored in one place. Even if we lose 1 month of data between backups, this is still a big problem.
- Malware and ransomware attacks. In 2017 it was reported that ransomware attacks a company every 40 seconds! Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Backing up to Dropbox or similar might not be protected against this as those files can be blocked during the attack too.
- Physical theft or negligence. Who else has access to the laptop where your precious records are stored? Is it a shared laptop? Maybe you are super careful with your data, but other users might not be. Also, your password of “123456” or “password” are not as hard to guess as you might think.
- Phishing emails or phone calls. These are the clever emails or calls that sound very real and somehow convince us to hand over access to our critical data.
None of these things can go wrong if your data is kept with Chronicle in the Cloud. Your data is automatically synced to multiple storage locations and backed up daily, so it can never be corrupted. Phishing, malware or ransomware attacks would have to penetrate the might of Google security, which doesn’t happen. All data changes and user access is closely tracked by Chronicle ensuring we know who is making what changes to your data and it can always be recovered if someone makes a mistake. Even more, by using Chronicle, you can rest assured that you have granted the access to authorised persons in your cemetery. Our Multi-Factor Authentication feature lets you login with multiple steps of verification.
- Cloud providers invest heavily in data security to the level that personal storage or servers can’t match up due to the cost.
Many cloud services offer security features like role-based authentication which make it harder for unauthorized users to access your information.
- Encrypted stored data
- Encrypted data while it is transferred
- Consistent security updates
- AI tools and auto-patching
- Built-in firewalls
- Redundancy (ultra-backed-up data)
- Third-party security testing
At Chronicle we conducted extensive due diligence on each of the cloud computing providers (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc) before choosing Google as the best choice for us as the provider best known for their focus on data security. Google invests many many millions of dollars every year keeping your data safe.
But I heard big companies such as Google are evil…
Google is a company that has over a billion users and it has been around for 20 years. Google is one of the most trusted companies in the world and there must be reasons for that. They have an unrivalled reputation for security, and they have never had a major breach of their network. They store data on multiple servers in different locations to make sure that even if one server gets compromised, your data will still be safe. Google Cloud Services stores data to their highly secure digital encryption and their data centres are physically protected by guards, security cameras, and other physical security measures.
- Always up to date
The cloud allows all of your staff to access one dataset. So everyone is always looking at and updating the latest version of your records. There is no need to call two other people to make sure they have saved, closed and synced their Excel files to Dropbox while you wait to add your updates. Using the same software and system, you make sure that the data input process is the same and uploaded to the same server. Cloud computing also allows your updated data to sync – in real-time. The records and data are updated in seconds, or even milliseconds depending on how fast the internet connection and the server’s performance.
With cloud-based software, you can access your data from any location, any time as long as there is an internet connection. This is the level of accessibility that can boost your business productivity to new heights. Download our e-book about the ROI of cemetery software here.
It also has the advantage of allowing you to stay mobile as you can even access the data on your smartphone, especially if the cemetery software is mobile-responsive.
You don’t need a dedicated on-site laptop. Instead, you can access Chronicle using any device from anywhere. Chronicle is even accessible on your mobile. All you need is to access a web browser from your phone or tablet and remember your password.
- Share it publicly
The cloud makes it easy to share your records and maps with the public. Of course, we restrict the data they can see so no private information is shared. This allows the public to do their deceased search and locate the burial location, without having to call the cemetery office for details.
There is a proven benefit that being able to share a record of a deceased online by sharing the URL to the specific plot when answering public enquiries such as genealogy questions or simple questions asking for their loved one’s burial plot location.
- Productivity and time savings
With access from anywhere and from multiple people at once, it’s easy to see how time can be saved. Perhaps you want to train a second administrator to help with phone calls and updates if your primary administrator is sick or on leave. This is easy with the cloud.
Public access to your records is an enormous time-saver that you won’t fully appreciate until it happens. From our internal surveys, we have found that a cemetery of 10,000 records spends upwards of 40 hours per month responding to public enquiries that could be reduced by 98% down to 1 hour with Chronicle. That is a time saving of 468 hours per year!
You don’t need any special laptop or tablet to run software in the cloud. For Chronicle, any laptop from the last 10 years, as long as they are running the latest web browser (essential for security) can manage the records in Chronicle.
Additionally, the cloud software model (typically referred to as SaaS), is typically cheaper than traditional software business models, where the business needs to earn its profits in one big upfront payment. Instead, SaaS businesses operate on a small annual subscription with the intention to keep you on as a customer for many years through excellent software and service. Chronicle is a company with a bigger mission to have remembered the deceased and to preserve the stories of the local community, that’s why we are affordable and fair in our pricing structure.
- Superior service and product
The big benefit for the customer here is that the onus is on the business to continuously provide an excellent product and service to the customer or the customer will switch to a different company. This is different to the traditional model, where the business would sell software once, and then move on to find the next customer.
Software updates for Chronicle in the cloud are seamless. We update our software every 2 – 3 weeks during non-business hours. The update process takes a few minutes. When you access the software the next day you will have access to the new features and performance improvements. There are no patches for you to install and nothing to worry about on your side.
It should be clear from this article that the typical reasons to be afraid or reluctant to embrace cloud computing for your data usually came from non-realistic theories that are not fact proven. Instead, the benefits of embracing the cloud for your cemetery management software are many, allowing you to keep your data safe, save money, save time and deliver a better service to your customers.
Most countries have a requirement to keep their important data such as cemetery records within the country. Australian cemeteries are required to host their data on a server in Australia. In general, the same is true for the US. Chronicle utilises data centres in Australia and the US to accommodate this. It is more than evident that cloud-based cemetery management software is excellent for cemetery operators.