From start-ups to international businesses, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are essential applications. From data storage and analysis to planning and reporting, so much is possible. However, using these tools for important tasks does come with business risk.
The disadvantages of Excel and Google Sheets for businesses
These two tools offer many formulas to make data management seamless. Yet, there are disadvantages which can potentially have huge consequences for businesses.
Vulnerable to fraudulent activity
If spreadsheets get into the wrong hands, there is a possibility that a data breach could occur. Where Google Sheets are available online, this poses even more of a risk.
Susceptible to human error
Sharing sheets can result in data overwrites, deletion and manipulation. Both Excel and Google Sheets do have security functions in place. Excel has ‘read-only’ and password protection.
Google Sheets has ‘comment’ and ‘view’ access options. But, the limitations that these functionalities provide are not beneficial for collaboration. This means that often, ‘edit’ access is necessary to allow collaboration from others; this poses the risk of the original data changing.
For larger corporations trading in Europe, GDPR regulations and compliance are critical. If there is a GDPR breach due to an insecure spreadsheet, businesses can face fines of up to €10 million or 2% of global turnover from the preceding financial year.
Lack of business continuity
In the case of Excel, it is very common for spreadsheets not to be saved in a single location. This is because they are in the hands of employees who are not within the organisation’s IT team. Non-IT personnel tend not to be familiar with the best practices for data storage and back-up. So, in the instance of a major technical issue, there would be no guarantee of full data recovery.
With fantastic business growth comes challenges. One of these is to do with spreadsheets! As spreadsheets are shared with more people, the risk of fraud, human error, data loss and GDPR breaches increases. This also introduces the possibility of maximising data limits.
There is a lot which can go wrong with spreadsheets in their raw format, but, if businesses convert their excel spreadsheet to an application, many of these can be avoided.
The advantages of custom app development
If businesses were to create an app using Google Sheets or Excel, the risk factor would decrease. Here are some of the key advantages.
Eliminates human error and improves GDPR compliance
Through setting data entry limitations, web applications can prevent human error. Users will also be unable to access the back-end of the data. This significantly reduces the chance of data or spreadsheet formulas being adjusted or shared with unauthorised personnel.
Stored in a central location
As the web app will be a centralised resource, all incoming data is saved to a single location. This prevents different versions being stored in multiple locations which may contain conflicting data.
Enhanced data security
If a company has the correct SSL certificate for their website, the web app on the domain will have encryption in place. This, combined with appropriate firewall technology will provide uncompromised data security.
When dealing with small amounts of data. You do not consider the limitations which Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have. Excel has a limit of 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns, whilst Google Sheets has a limit of 18,278 columns and 5 million cells.
Through the creation of a custom web app, companies can capture unlimited volumes of data. In the case of large working spreadsheets, this is perfect.
Spreadsheet applications, whether desktop or cloud-based, offer limited customisation options. As a result, customer-facing spreadsheets are difficult to brand the same as other company documents. In addition, bespoke user permissions can be defined as well as authentication. Unique web apps can also be built to offer custom reporting and real-time notifications.
With a custom web application, businesses have full control over the way that data is displayed as well as the ability to shape the user journey. This makes spreadsheets more user-friendly and intuitive.
Looking for custom web app developers?
With the UK Government reporting that 4 out of 10 businesses experienced a data breach in 2018 (with cases rising year on year…) having a web application is essential for maintaining data accuracy and security.
If you are looking for custom web development services, we have experience in creating web apps for businesses which are user-friendly, functional and secure. For more information, please visit this page or contact our team.