Test versions of a long awaited web-based software-as-service accounting option from one of the UK’s most successful software houses has been temporarily withdrawn because of security flaws.
Sage Live is the result of 18 months of development work by the eponymous Newcastle-based company and has been in public beta for less than a month.
Clive Gray, head of Sage Live told Accountancy Age, “Security is an absolute priority for us. We’re passionate about getting this right for customers so while we investigate the issue we’ve decided to take the website down as a precaution.”
Based around a single-entry cash accounting product, Sage Live could flag the start of a new line of business for the software supplier.
Its proposed foray into cloud-based software services will be being closely monitored by the industry. The move could help validate the delivery model as a preferred option among smaller and medium-sized businesses. It is not the first into the online bookkeeping and accounts space, but is the biggest supplier by far.
Market researcher Pierre Audoin Consultants puts Sage as one of the top ten European software businesses, with revenues of around £650 million. It can boast a client base of 5.7 million customers worldwide and has a broad financial software portfolio ranging from accounts, payroll and business intelligence to customer relationship management.
Eventually the Sage Live SaaS offering is expected to make full use of latest Web 2.0 possibilities. The system should integrate with Google Docs, will use a mobile interface that will allow access to the cloud applications via a device such as a Blackberry, and reportedly will have built-in links to PayPal as well as Sage’s own online payments processing system.
Sage has made it very clear to users that its Sage Live product is still in beta, and explains on its site that ‘from time to time, we have to make changes to the site in response to your valuable feedback, and where required, this may mean that we have to take the site down while we work on it.’
But the situation is indicative of where the nascent SaaS market finds itself. Despite the market momentum behind the software-as-a-service model, concerns over security and the perception that it is more prone to breaches and down time than other application delivery options continue to drag on the pace of its adoption.