With the upcoming release of HawkSoft 5, which boasts several new cloud-based features, and the recent Virtual Town Hall we held to discuss our product roadmap, we’ve received some questions from agents about HawkSoft Cloud.
We'd like to go over some of the most common questions about HawkSoft Cloud. We've provided a short answer and a more in-depth explanation for each question. Click on a question to navigate there and learn more.
Questions about HawkSoft Cloud
- Where is my HawkSoft data stored today?
- Local installation
- Online hosting (HawkSoft Online)
- How does HawkSoft Cloud affect how I access my data?
- What does it mean to have my HawkSoft data stored in the cloud?
- What is the future of HawkSoft Cloud?
- Will the new HawkSoft Cloud platform cost more than the online system we have now?
- Will HawkSoft Cloud be dependent on my internet connection?
Where is my HawkSoft data stored today?
Short answer: Your data is either stored on your agency's internal server (local install) or by a third-party online hosting partner (HawkSoft Online).
Where your HawkSoft data is stored (what we like to refer to as the “source of truth,” or where HawkSoft goes to read data it trusts) depends on the type of HawkSoft installation you have. We offer two different types of installation, to best serve the needs of different agencies.
- Local install
HawkSoft is installed on your agency's workstations (locally), and data is hosted on your agency’s internal server or network.
- Online hosting (HawkSoft Online)
HawkSoft is installed on a remote Windows environment hosted by a third-party online hosting partner. Your agency accesses HawkSoft through Remote Application Server (RAS) technology.
How does HawkSoft Cloud affect how I access my data?
Short answer: Once HawkSoft Cloud is completed, it will not require a remote experience like HawkSoft Online, nor an internal server like local installation. Your data will reside in HawkSoft's own secure cloud servers, and you'll be able to access it directly from your desktop or a web browser on any device.
HawkSoft Cloud is the future of the HawkSoft system we’re currently working toward: a fully web-based system with data hosted in the cloud by HawkSoft, rather than on an agent’s local server or through a third-party online hosting provider. This will move the source of data and truth for both installation types (local and online) to HawkSoft’s secure, encrypted cloud servers powered by Microsoft Azure. This eliminates server requirements for local users and the need for RAS for online users.
HawkSoft Cloud is the future of the HawkSoft system we’re currently working toward: a fully web-based system with data hosted in the cloud by HawkSoft, rather than on an agent’s local server or through a third-party online hosting provider.
We’re moving toward this goal by incrementally rebuilding HawkSoft’s desktop features in the cloud, while taking the opportunity to enhance functionality and add new features. We’ve already released several cloud-based features, including HawkSoft Text Messaging, Partner API, and Self-service Certificates, and will be adding Agent Portal in the upcoming release of HawkSoft 5. All cloud features, both now and moving forward, will be available to both local and online users.
Cloud features are made possible through HawkSoft Data Sync, which agencies can enable to connect the data housed in their agency’s source of truth (either local or online) to HawkSoft Cloud in order to use cloud-based features. Data Sync also makes it possible for agencies to send data to third-party providers they wish to integrate with through our Partner API, for applications like marketing automation, reputation management, an insured app, etc.
The diagram below illustrates the relationship between agencies’ current source of truth (local or online), Data Sync, and HawkSoft Cloud (the future source of truth). Later in this article we'll look at how this process will change in the future, when HawkSoft Cloud becomes the source of truth for both local and online users.
What does it mean to have my HawkSoft data stored in the cloud?
Short answer: Data on HawkSoft Cloud is accessible in multiple ways through web-based features, secure on our encrypted cloud servers powered by Microsoft Azure, and always kept private (never sold).
We’re transitioning HawkSoft to the cloud to best satisfy the needs of our agents, who want to be able to access HawkSoft data on any device or through any integration, while ensuring it remains safe and secure. As independent agents, we know you value the freedom of choice you’re able to offer your customers. Similarly, HawkSoft believes in the freedom of choice for our software. It’s important to us that your agency has the freedom to use HawkSoft—and your agency’s data—however you choose, in the way that’s best for your business.
We want to assure you that HawkSoft Cloud serves this goal by making your data accessible, secure, and private.
What is the future of HawkSoft Cloud?
Short answer: Eventually HawkSoft Cloud will replace your local or online database as the source of truth for your agency's data. It will depend on an internet connection (to a lesser extent than HawkSoft Online), and is not expected to incur a higher cost for your agency than the current online platform.
Agencies aren’t currently required to enable Data Sync, but new HawkSoft features are being built for the cloud, so you won’t be able to take advantage of them unless you have Data Sync enabled to allow them to access the data from your local or online database. Eventually, Data Sync will become required as more cloud-based features utilize your agency’s data. Ultimately, HawkSoft Cloud will replace your local or online database as the source of truth for your agency’s data. This will allow agencies more direct access to their data from a web browser on any device, rather than only from agency workstations or through Remote Application technology. The diagram below illustrates this future state.
Will the new HawkSoft Cloud platform cost more than the online system we have now?
No. We don’t anticipate that HawkSoft Cloud will incur extra costs for your agency. Our testing so far shows that our cloud platform drives efficiencies that HawkSoft can leverage to keep your costs unchanged at this time.
Will HawkSoft Cloud be dependent on my internet connection?
HawkSoft Cloud, once completed and fully implemented, will serve data to your agency via the internet. This does mean that, at that point, an internet connection will be necessary to get the most out of HawkSoft. However, two points should be understood in light of this.
- The bandwidth (internet speed and data) requirements will be significantly lower compared to HawkSoft Online today.
The technology used to serve agency data will be more efficient than RAS as you won’t be “streaming” the entire Windows operating system and HawkSoft. Instead, you are simply accessing your agency’s data in the cloud.
- You will not be tethered to your in-house workstations for accessing HawkSoft.
HawkSoft Cloud, as discussed above, frees your agency data for use when and where you need it. If the internet goes down at your agency, HawkSoft Cloud will provide access to agency data via a mobile device (in a tool like Agent Portal) or from another workstation elsewhere (such as at your home or your laptop connected to a wifi hotspot).
HawkSoft’s Development team is well aware of the critical role agencies play in times of natural disasters. While we don’t have specific details yet, HawkSoft is exploring avenues that would allow local caches of key data to ensure HawkSoft can run in the event of prolonged internet outages.
Join us in the cloud
We understand that moving to cloud may feel like a big change for your agency. If your agency has any concerns with moving to the cloud, please call us at (866) 884-4680 Option 3 so we can discuss them with you.
We look forward to the bright future ahead with HawkSoft Cloud, and we’re excited to step into a new era of technology with our agents to help you better serve your clients. Stay tuned for more updates from us as we make more developments on the road to HawkSoft Cloud!
Learn more about HawkSoft Cloud
Edit: An earlier version of this blog referred to the technology enabling HawkSoft Online as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). In reality, HawkSoft Online today utilizes modern Remote Application Server (RAS) technology. Past iterations of HawkSoft Online did use RDP but HawkSoft transitioned to RAS in 2018.