Frequently Asked Questions
Hardware and Scaling
Automated Backups and Database Snapshots
What is Minerva SaaS?
For many small and midsize businesses, deploying Software as a Service (SaaS) provides the benefits of an enterprise-class solution without the enterprise IT budget. When Minerva is deployed via SaaS, your Minerva system is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and can be accessed from any web browser on any Internet-connected device. You can pay as you go, and easily scale resources up or down based on growth or changing business needs. Free yourself from the complexities and costs of managing hardware and maintaining software. Additionally, a SaaS deployment enables Minerva to ensure the highest levels of security, availability, and performance.
What does Minerva manage on my behalf with my SaaS subscription?
Minerva manages the work involved in setting up and provisioning the application, as well as configuring the initial environment for you to access your Minerva SaaS instance. Once your Minerva environment is accessible, Minerva automates common administrative tasks, such as performing backups, software updates, and continuous monitoring and tuning, including multi-homed internet and power backup.
Why should I use Minerva SaaS (public cloud) instead of a private cloud version and host it on my own?
Minerva SaaS includes a range of benefits that come standard with your subscription. These benefits are provided by Minerva using Amazon Web Services (AWS), are backed by our SLA, and surpass the benefits you would gain from most external hosting providers. This includes disaster recovery, backup service, 24/7 access, high availability, monitoring, software updates, and application maintenance.
How do I access my Minerva SaaS ERP solution?
We will provide you with a URL to your Minerva SaaS ERP solution, accessible from any web browser on any device with an Internet connection. This URL uses a prefix you choose in the format .Minerva.com, but we can also help you create a custom domain URL (xxx.yourdomain.com) if you provide us with your SSL certificate.
Can I use separate databases to track my companies?
No, all you need is a single database. Each Minerva SaaS subscription is housed in a single database where you can track financials separately for an unlimited number of related companies and for up to 3, 10, or 20, or more stand-alone companies depending on edition. Stand-alone companies within the database allows you to decide what elements should be separated or shared between them, such as chart of accounts, customers, employees, etc.
What technology is my database stored in?
Minerva SaaS currently uses Microsoft SQL Server. Other database options exist for private cloud deployments.
Can I customise each of my companies separately?
Many customisations that require the system to behave differently based on separate business processes can be separated for each of your companies. However, certain customisations that require database changes are shared across companies. These include the addition of user-defined fields and user interface changes.
Can my customisations directly access the database using ODBC access?
While Minerva SaaS provides options to access your data through an ODBC subscription, it is recommended to use Minerva’s development platform APIs. They allow you to achieve the same integration goal with many benefits including:
Save time by eliminating the need to learn complex database structures.
Ensure system stability by guarding against human error that can threaten the referential integrity of your data or impact performance.
Reduce cost of maintaining customisations during upgrades. Customisations remain functional despite database changes, because the APIs change less frequently.
Consistent enforcement of your security policies. By going through the data access layers and APIs instead of going direct to the database, all your customisations and reports will respect your security configurations.
Can I add my own stored procedures and publish them to the database?
Minerva’s development platform APIs allow you to achieve the same goal without having to add your own stored procedures. Instead, you can build and publish server-side customisations that are registered and maintained by the system.
Is there a database schema I can use?
Minerva provides a full set of documentation of its development platform APIs. This allows you to build complex customizations using data access layer objects, eliminating the need for the database schema.
This has an added benefit of ensuring customisations remain functional despite database changes, and reduces the cost of maintaining customisations during upgrades, among other benefits.
What is a maintenance window?
Minerva may carry out scheduled maintenance, or in rare circumstances, unscheduled maintenance. Scheduled maintenance is usually communicated with at least a week’s advance notice. The scheduled maintenance window averages less than 30 minutes each week, and typically occurs during non-peak hours or weekends. Scheduled maintenance does not count against the uptime guarantee.
From time to time, unscheduled maintenance may be required. Minerva will attempt to notify you in advance of any unscheduled maintenance event. Unscheduled maintenance counts against the uptime guarantee.
Will my Minerva SaaS be available during software maintenance?
In most situations, maintenance will require us to disable access temporarily while we perform maintenance activities. Minerva makes every effort to minimise downtime during such events.
How will I be charged and billed for my use of Minerva SaaS?
You are billed based on:
Subscription fee – Minerva charges an annual subscription fee based on the edition (Standard, Advanced and Enterprise) and SaaS Resource Level (Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large) selected. This fee also includes updates and upgrades, hosting costs and additional SaaS benefits such as built-in automated disaster recovery backup with a seven-day retention period.
Additional storage – When you reach 90% of your pre-purchased storage limit, we notify you so that you should look into expanding your storage capacity. We will work with you on expansion options. When you scale your provisioned storage capacity, your bill will be pro-rated for the remaining term on your contract.
When does billing of my Minerva SaaS begin and end?
We usually provision new service instances within 1 business day from the date of your purchase agreement/invoice. Occasionally, this may take up to a maximum of 5 business days. Each subscription has an expiration date you agree on with us. You are strongly encouraged to renew your subscription at least 30 days prior to your expiration date to avoid any disruption of service that may occur.
What happens if it takes 6 months to configure my service? Do I have to pay for Minerva in that period before I am up and running?
Yes, your subscription starts from the date of your invoice. This allows us to use the service to begin configuration, implementation, and training that you will likely need before you are up and running.
What if I have an existing Minerva SaaS subscription that I’d like to switch to a Private Cloud Subscription (PCS) or Private Cloud Perpetual (PCP) license?
With Minerva, you can switch license or subscription type easily. Typically, the switching process takes between 3 to 7 business days.
Can I upgrade or downgrade my resource level?
You can upgrade resource level at any time. Should your business needs change, you can also downgrade your resource level at the start of any quarter within your subscription period, but only after your first year.
Can I cancel my cloud service?
Yes. After your first year, you can cancel your Minerva SaaS service at the time of your SaaS renewal. We require a minimum of 30 days written notice prior to termination or change in any aspect of your Minerva SaaS license.
Can I expect consistent performance from Minerva SaaS throughout all times of day?
Yes, Minerva reserves resources to ensure consistent performance – even during peak hours – as long as you have purchased the right Resource Level for your needs.
What are Minerva SaaS reserved resources?
Reserved resources are included with your Minerva SaaS service. You decide on your reserved resource level by choosing a SaaS Resource Level for your Minerva SaaS license (Small, Medium, Large or Extra-Large). We will walk you through the Resource Level option that is right for you. You can upgrade Resource Level at any time to acquire more resources.
What should I do if my Minerva system seems to be running slow?
If you are facing urgent connectivity issues (unable to connect or login to the system), please report it as soon as possible at Report an Outage. For other issues with speed or connectivity, please contact us and we will work with you to investigate and resolve your issue.
How does Minerva monitor the environment to ensure that I receive consistent performance?
Minerva uses 24/7, modern monitoring tools that continuously review system operations and automatically alert our engineers in the event performance or other operating criteria does not fall within our strict performance guidelines.
Hardware and Scaling
How do I know what Resource Level I need to buy?
Minerva does not charge by user. The optimal Resource Level is based on the amount of load you put on the system as a whole during peak times. It’s important that you share your expected transaction volumes and peak time usage patterns with us so that we can advise you on the best possible option.
How large of a system can I get?
Minerva SaaS Resource Levels scale from Small to Extra-Large. Minerva technology was built for scalability, so we have the ability to scale for extremely large enterprise scenarios.
Does Minerva provide load balancing configurations?
Minerva supports load balancing and multiple server configurations. Load balancing is useful when you want to spread your system load across multiple servers. This way, you benefit from the performance of two servers instead of one, and you also ensure high availability, which means that if one server were to go down, the other server will take over and the system remains up.
If I do not renew on time, will Minerva keep my data?
Upon your expiration date, your account will become suspended for a period of 30 days. During the suspension period, your data is intact and can be reactivated upon your renewal. You will not be able to access Minerva SaaS during the suspension period. At the end of the suspension period, your data will be permanently deleted.
If I don’t renew, and my subscription deactivates, can I get a copy of my data?
During the 30 day suspension period, Minerva can provide a backup copy of your data provided your account is in good standing.
What format can I get my data in?
Your data backups are fully intact in a relational database. All elements in your data are made available to you such that they can be restored should you choose to ever resume your subscription. You can also restore your data on your local SQL server environment.
What is a sandbox and how is it used?
An Minerva Sandbox is a separate instance of your Minerva environment. You can do anything you want in the sandbox – all without impacting your current deployment and your users. This can be helpful to ensure a smooth transition for new rollouts or new employees, or to develop and test new solutions for your organisation.
Can I push the changes I made in my SaaS sandbox environment into production?
No. The SaaS sandbox environment is for testing only. Any changes you make will be lost when the sandbox is refreshed.
Is there a charge every time we want to refresh my SaaS sandbox environment to the most recent backup?
Currently, this is a manual process and rates apply. Depending on your database size and free space, you can try extracting a snapshot from your production and restoring the snapshot within your sandbox environment.
Automated Backups and Database Snapshots
What is the difference between automated backups and database snapshots?
Minerva SaaS provides two different methods for backing up and restoring your instance: automated backups and database snapshots.
Minerva performs continuous automated backups of your data. You can request a copy of your data for a fee per copy, or you can subscribe to an optional backup access service with an annual subscription fee.
Minerva also comes with a database snapshot feature, which allows you to take snapshots of your company and restore them at a later time. Each snapshot is a complete copy of your database, so your snapshots could quickly add up to the total storage you have subscribed to. Snapshots will only work if there is enough free capacity available within your subscription.
How do I know what my database usage is?
Minerva will send you an alert once you are within 90% of your storage limit.
In the event of a disaster, should my system go down, what is the recovery process?
Minerva backs up all transactional data to an additional geographic zone for an additional layer of protection and disaster recovery. In the event of a disaster where a datacenter hosting your service is completely shut down, Minerva will quickly go through a fail-over recovery procedure and your service will resume from an alternate datacenter. Minerva’s SLA uptime guarantee will continue to provide you protection during this duration.
Do I need to enable backups for my instance or is it done automatically?
Backups are performed automatically at no extra charge. All transactional data is backed up daily on a rolling backup schedule. Additionally, incremental backups of transaction logs are performed frequently throughout the current day. All backups are replicated to an additional geographic zone for an additional layer of protection and disaster recovery. Access to backups is provided for a fee or by purchasing an optional backup access service.
What is a backup window and why do I need it?
Minerva’s backup window is an approximately 2-hour duration during which your instance is backed up on a daily basis. It is scheduled between 12am-6am. During the backup window, the system may experience slower response times.
How long are database backup files retained?
Several concurrent retention schedules have been implemented:
Daily backups are retained for 4 days.
The last backup of each week is retained for 4 weeks.
The backup taken on the last day of the month is retained for 4 months.
The last backup of the quarter is retained for 1 year.
What are the advantages of the optional paid backup access service?
The optional paid backup access service provides you with anytime access to 7 days of rolling backups. This allows you to download and store a copy of your data using SFTP. Standard fees apply if you need to restore or roll-back your production environment.
Subscribers to this service get this benefit in addition to all standard backup procedures.
What happens to the data after SaaS the subscription expires?
Upon expiration, the account becomes disabled but we retain the data for up to 30 days before we permanently remove it from all our systems. You can request a copy of the full database for your safekeeping so long as the request comes in within 10 days past the subscription expiration.
How do I restore a database snapshot?
You can restore any prior snapshots by using the restore feature within Minerva. However, do take extra precautions when restoring snapshots because they override your current production environment. We encourage you to restore snapshots outside business hours, and to first take an additional snapshot of your current production environment before restoring a prior snapshot.
Can Minerva help me restore my system to an earlier point in time?
If you have subscribed to the optional backup access service, or have a copy of your data on-hand that you wish to restore, Minerva will work with you on evaluating your data for restoration.
In the event that you have neither subscribed to the optional backup access service, not kept a copy of your data on-hand, but would still like to restore to an earlier point in time, please contact us and we will attempt to evaluate your specific situation. Minerva cannot guarantee that it will be able to successfully restore data in such conditions as the automated backups Minerva performs are intended for global disaster recovery situations and are generally not suitable for individual customer restore situations.
Should I delete snapshots from my database?
The data that is contained in a snapshot is also stored in the database, so a full snapshot effectively doubles the size of your database. When you upgrade Minerva, the data in the snapshot is also up updated so that it will be available after the upgrade. To keep the database size from growing excessively large, we highly recommend you export and download and then remove that snapshot from Minerva. If you need this data in the future, the snapshot can be imported to Minerva from your computer and then restored so long as the versions are the same at that time.
What happens to my database snapshots if I delete them?
If you delete your database snapshots, they will be permanently deleted from the database. If you export those snapshots to your local workstation system before deleting them, you can upload, import and restore the snapshots when needed. If you believe you will need the data snapshot at a later time, export it to your computer before deleting it from Minerva. Please keep in mind, you can only restore them if the versions have not changed since you exported the snapshot.
Is any snapshot data stored on the SaaS Server?
When a snapshot is exported from the SaaS server to your local machine, a temporary zip version of this snapshot is prepared and saved on our servers primarily to facilitate the download to your computer. This temporary zip data file may remain on the server for a few days and it will automatically be removed. Please do not rely on the export file to be available at a later date. Should you need to export the same snapshot during another date, you must prepare a new export file of the snapshot.
Will I need to buy another license if I want to install Minerva for failover purposes?
No. Failover protection is already built into Minerva SaaS.
Is my data stored in the same area as other clients?
Unlike many web-based applications, with Minerva every subscriber’s data is stored in a separate database. This way, every Minerva subscription enjoys better data security and can be on their own versions of Minerva. At the same time, they can take advantage of Minerva’s multi-tenant architecture to add additional completely separate entities within that same subscription.
Data is never stored on the user’s computer. All data remains on Minerva servers. As users complete forms only small bits of data are transferred to the web browser – and even then only for a brief instant. Once forms are completed, no data remains in the browser. All transmission is secure and encrypted using SSL technologies.
Will Minerva provide me with an SSL certificate or can I use my own?
Minerva will always provide an Minerva URL that is protected by SSL standards. However, Minerva also recommends that you use your own certificate if you would like to have your own custom URL.
How does Minerva protect my data from unauthorised access?
Minerva’s intrusion detection system (IDS) detects any attempt to compromise the confidentiality, integrity or availability of your data, or to circumvent security controls. In the event of such an attempt, the intruder is locked out of the system, and investigation is conducted to identify and apprehend the intruder. Minerva can also restrict user logins to specific IP addresses.
How does Minerva monitor the environment and ensure protection against viruses?
Minerva uses enterprise-class anti-virus software to continuously monitor your SaaS environment and prevent, detect and remove malicious viruses and other types of malware, such as Trojan horses, worms, fraud tools, spyware, browser hijackers, keyloggers, and more.
Can I control the level of access my users have to Minerva?
Yes. With Minerva, each user can be assigned unique security credentials. These credentials can be role-based or highly specific to individual users. Since Minerva allows unlimited users at no additional cost, each individual’s login is unique and activities can be tracked.
How do I know my data is protected against physical and environmental threats?
Minerva SaaS is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure we provide the world’s best cloud infrastructure with Minerva SaaS. AWS follows strict guidelines and uses state of the art architectural and engineering approaches to guard against physical and environmental threats. It has extensive experience in designing, constructing and operating large-scale datacentres. Physical access is strictly controlled, both at the perimeter and at ingress points by security staff and video surveillance. All staff members pass two-factor authentication to access the datacenter. All visitors and contractors are required to present identification and escorted by authorised staff. There are also fire detection and suppression, power, climate and temperature, and electromechanical support systems.
What should I do in case any security violation/incident occurs?
Please inform us immediately providing any details regarding the incident. Minerva Incident Response Team will be involved and you will have feedback during the next 24 hours.
In addition to the hosting, is Minerva Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant?
Minerva SaaS adds an additional layer of safety to PCI compliance by ensuring credit card information is neither stored nor transmitted between you and the Minerva servers. Credit card information is only entered on the client browser and exchanged directly with the credit card processing provider. This allows you to be fully compliant.
Is Minerva compliant with my industry or government requirements?
Minerva SaaS is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure we provide the world’s best cloud infrastructure with Minerva SaaS. AWS infrastructure and solutions are in compliance with regulations, standards and best practices, including the following listed below. Please contact Minerva if you have certain compliance requirements and Minerva will review and provide possible options. Depending on your needs, additional fees may apply.
PCI DSS Level 1
SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402
For Canadian customers, Minerva SaaS can be hosted at an Amazon Web Services (AWS) facility located within Canada which is in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), as required by Canadian Law.