Do Funeral Homes Own their Data??
Article provided by: Mike Hepburn, FuneralTech
When data is moved into digital spaces such as online, into software programs, and into the cloud, it can sometimes prompt questions about data ownership. When you send an email, for example, do you own the content of the email, or does your service provider? Such high-tech legal issues plague everyday life, and the funeral home industry isn’t exempt.
For instance, many funeral homes use management software to track and organize data, but this prompts the same question: who owns that information? Is it the company that created the software, or is it the funeral home that’s inputted the data? The answer may surprise you.
Funeral Home Management Software Basics
As in any industry, funeral homes collect and manage client information for organizational purposes, and to better serve their customers. For funeral homes that have been around for a long time, this can amount to years or even decades of data.
Thankfully, technological developments over the last several years have spawned management software that makes the task of recording and safekeeping this information easier than ever before. Some software can be purchased outright by funeral homes while other software comes with monthly fees. And some programs are quite basic while others are more sophisticated, and the more advanced ones allow funeral homes to:
- Perform accounting tasks
- Create and track calendars and schedules
- Store contracts and pre-need agreements
- Set and update price lists
- Keep client information organized
- Integrate with all external software such as Accounting, Answering Service and Stationery Software.
- Integrate with your website
- and so much more.
Your Information Remains Your Property
The quick answer to the question of who owns the data held in management software is the funeral home. The software companies that provide platforms to house funeral home data may own the rights to the software itself, but funeral homes retain ownership of any and all information they enter into a management software program. However, not all software companies are the same, and many act as though the information actually belongs to them.
Controlling the Data That Belongs to You
One of the major ways that funeral home management software companies control your information is through data backups. Some companies have disabled backups, some companies refuse to grant customer requests for them, and others charge exorbitant amounts to perform them. In fact, some companies will only agree to perform a backup at a cost of $1,500 or more. Imagine paying $1,500 just to safeguard information that you already own on top of the software or subscription fee!
Luckily, there are software providers out there who respect that the data you collect is yours, and they won’t try to control what you can do with that information. If you’re in the market for funeral home management software or are looking to replace the program you’re currently using, look for a software company who understands that your data belongs to you. Look for a program that offers perks like automatic backups every time the software launches, and make sure you’re allowed to backup your data for free whenever you choose.
There’s no doubt that funeral home management software has made the job of collecting and organizing information much easier, but that’s no excuse for a software provider to squeeze more money from users just for the privilege of backing up data.
If you’re in the market for management software, keep in mind that the information you input remains your property, but that not all software companies will allow you to backup your data without an additional fee. Moreover, some won’t allow backups at all, and this leaves your hard-earned information and your livelihood vulnerable to damage or loss.