Cloud-based computing has taken its place through the hosted delivery model for many key business applications, from accounting and payroll software via such solutions as Sage MAS 90 and SAP Business One as well as via the web-native SaaS solutions.
The Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) model was created to deliver applications regardless of the processing speed or location of the computer. For a business owner, the cloud requires no new investments in the latest desktop systems or laptops. Moreover, solutions can be customized to meet any client's specific needs, as well as the capabilities or perceived limitations of their computing systems.
All the business needs is a broadband Internet connection. Desktop computers become "dumb" terminals, like hardware deployed in many businesses. All software is served up on an as-needed basis via the Internet and Web browser. Businesses have been known to dust off even older computers to act as email servers; most Web-based mail consumes so little processing power and memory that even pre-XP OS installations generally can handle it with relative ease.
Some business applications often perform better and more reliably when delivered as a web-based solution, as opposed to the software being installed on a local computer. No hard drive space is required, and far less RAM and processing power is needed to run an application accessed as needed over the Internet.
Given that older systems might be more susceptible to component or software failure, hosted applications also ensure data is backed up, protected and secure.