Not all clouds are created equal when it comes to HR and payroll

Date: 27 Jul 2021

Author: Brian Henwood

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Fusion5 recently moved it’s integrated HR and payroll solution to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, featuring the very latest server-less PaaS (platform as a service) technology. In recent years, cloud computing has played an increasingly important role in the operations of organisations of all sizes and in industries all over the world. In simple terms, it has enabled companies to use state-of-the-art software on-demand without the complexities of building and running a complex IT infrastructure in-house. However, terms like ‘the cloud’ and ‘software as a service’ have become generic and people often don’t give a second thought to where their data is actually stored and processed. The truth is that not all clouds are created equal and vary greatly in their ability to deliver the performance needed for your business applications. This includes the security and reliability needed to keep your data safe. Since the cloud is ‘invisible’ as far as you’re concerned, it pays to ‘look behind the cloud’ to ensure it’s completely fit for purpose. When Fusion5 moved Jemini HR and Payroll to Microsoft Azure, this is exactly the process that it went through.

Trust is at the very heart of the cloud and Fusion5 knows implicitly that its clients need to have complete faith and trust in its software solutions. Clients expect constant availability and access to their data 24/7. They want the assurance that only authorised people will have access to that data and that in the unlikely event of a failure or natural disaster of some kind, access to systems will be quickly restored without any loss of information. After all, our customer’s data is priceless. It’s their crown jewels. Therefore, nothing less than the most advanced and secure cloud technologies could be used for clients’ HR and Payroll data in Jemini.

Pink ladder underneath a fluffy white cloud in light blue setting

If you’re using Payroll or HR software that’s on-premise or hosted in a different cloud, you need to be aware of the escalating risks in cloud computing. Threats to cloud security and data privacy are on the rise. If we look at an alternative sector for a moment; Healthcare, as of August 2019, the number of patient records that had been breached was more than double that of the previous year.

Fusion5 chose Microsoft Azure for its unrivalled security, reliability, scalability and performance across the world. As you can imagine, Azure was designed to perfectly meet the needs of Microsoft’s most powerful and demanding Enterprise software, applications that form the backbone of some of the biggest organisations and governments in the world. In the USA, 95% of Fortune 500 companies trust their business on Azure. Microsoft invests over $1 billion USD every year to protect platforms like Jemini from cyber threats. In order to give Fusion5 and Jemini users complete peace of mind, Microsoft analyses over 8 trillion threat signals every single day. Using machine learning, behavioural analytics and application-based intelligence, Microsoft’s data scientists analyse this data to help detect threats faster and keep the Azure cloud a safe place for your data. If you're not running an HR and Payroll platform that’s hosted on Azure, where is it hosted? — and how does your security compare?

The next question Fusion5’s engineers asked when choosing a cloud for Jemini was “where can we get the high-performance and scalability needed to tailor each Jemini environment to suit customer needs?” You probably don’t care about the jargon, but Microsoft Azure offers unlimited scalability for Jemini, being the only cloud platform in the world that provides hyper-scale relational databases and a super-fast NoSQL database. What that ‘gobbledegook’ means is that Azure provides the perfect environment for Jemini to run at maximum efficiency whilst being secure, reliable and resilient to the security threats that are so prevalent these days.

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Let’s talk about compliance. Compliance is a minefield, and something businesses can easily fall foul of. It’s critical you know exactly where your data (and your employee’s private payroll data) is being processed. Legislation dictates where data can be processed geographically around the world. Given the global nature of software packages, your data could be going offshore without your knowledge. This is not necessarily a sign of bad practice; some software vendors backup or replicate their data in other continents for business continuity purposes. However, you need to know that your data is being processed in line with the law. As a certified Microsoft partner, Fusion5 has always been aware of the way Microsoft helps organisations comply with constantly shifting requirements and regulations. Azure has over 90 global compliance certifications including over 50 region and country-specific offerings. We looked specifically to ensure Microsoft Azure was compliant with Australia’s ‘IRAP Unclassified’ and ‘IRAP Protected’ regulations and New Zealands’ Gov CC Framework. So what does this mean for Jemini customers? Quite simply, it means that no matter where in the world you have offices or operations, your data is being processed in line with the local data protection and processing regulations.

Payroll has got to be one of the THE most important systems you run in your organisation. As part of the psychological contract, employees have with you, the one non-negotiable is the expectation of being paid correctly at the right time in the month. This brings us to Resiliency.

According to Microsoft, “resiliency is not about avoiding failures but responding to failures.” The objective is to respond to failure in a way that avoids downtime and data loss. Business continuity is built on the foundations of resilient systems, applications and data. IT systems are subject to failure. For example, if all your systems and data are located on your premises, a fire, flood, tornado or other natural disaster can bring your operations to a halt for weeks or even months. When you use cloud based software, you have redundant, distributed implementations of your IT resources across physical locations (i.e. your data is backed up and replicated in more than one place). However, even in the cloud, hardware can fail and rarely, an entire service or region may experience a disruption. Therefore, you need to have complete trust in your cloud provider’s investment in business continuity.

Microsoft Azure provides a comprehensive set of native business continuity solutions that protect Jemini users against failures in data centres and even the failure of entire data centres. Azure is the first ‘hyper scale’ cloud provider to be certified under ISO-22301, the first international standard that demonstrates the ability to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from disruptive incidents.

When you use Jemini HR & Payroll, your data is always being replicated to ensure durability and high availability. In fact, Azure offers 99.996% availability for Jemini.

In conclusion, it pays to look behind the cloud and question exactly how and where your data is being hosted. Whilst ‘ cloud-based’ has become an IT buzzword, not all clouds are the same and it is important to take an informed and critical approach to choosing the software you use in your business. We hope this article has provided a rich understanding of why Fusion5 uses Microsoft Azure as the sole cloud provider for Jemini. If you have any further questions, please reach out to us. 

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