Cloud Data Storage FAQ
What is the Cloud?
The basic idea behind "the Cloud" (as implemented in Offering Helper) is that we can store data on a secure web server, which we can then access from any computer that has an internet connection.
Why the Cloud?
There are two advantages to storing your data on the cloud. The first is that it allows for automatic data synchronization between different computers running Offering Helper. You could, for example, have Offering Helper installed at your home and in the church office, and any data you enter at one computer will automatically appear at the other. No more shuttling data files back and forth between different computers on a memory stick, wondering which computer has the most recent data.
The second way the Cloud Data Package can benefit you, even if you only run Offering Helper on one computer, is that it can be used as a way to achieve a secure offsite backup. An "offsite backup" refers to a backup copy of your data that is located in a different physical building or location from your computer. It protects you from theft, fire, flood, or any other event that could destroy your computer and all the data it contains. With the Offering Helper Cloud Data Package, you can rest assured that your data is always backed up!
What About Security?
This new version of Offering Helper has been designed with the utmost security in mind. All data transmitted to and from the cloud database is encrypted using industry standard, ultra secure algorithms. The cloud database itself is housed in a professional data center running MySQL, and can only be accessed with the correct username and password, that you get to choose -- much like online banking. Rest assured that your data will be as secure as it can possibly be.
Also, this new version of Offering Helper is not a Web Application (like Facebook, for example) that anyone can access using a web browser. You can only access the data on the cloud by using the Offering Helper program, which must be installed on your local computer.
How Exactly Does This Work?
You will install Offering Helper onto your computer just like you always have, and it will still store data in Microsoft Access database files on your local hard drive, just like it always has. However, as you enter data, Offering Helper will be working in the background to automatically upload the new data to an identical set of files on the cloud data server, so they are always in sync. When you then go to a different computer that also has Offering Helper installed, and start it up, it will take a few seconds at the beginning to download those data changes and incorporate them into its own local data files.
How Do I Get Started?
The first thing to do is purchase the Cloud Data Package add-on. You can do that by visiting the Offering Helper Online Store. Each computer connected to the cloud needs to have its own license. The Offering Helper program itself counts as 1 license, so you will most likely need to purchase at least 1 additional network license. This is a one-time cost. You will also need to pay the leasing fees for the cloud data server. This will be a yearly fee. Please visit the link above for current prices.