When it comes to buying software, you need to guarantee that you are investing in the best option for your business. You need software that can perform all of the functions you require and remain within your budget. One of the first decisions you have to make when choosing software is whether you want to use one that’s cloud or on premise. To help you determine which type of software is best for you, we decided to examine both options.
So first things first, what the heck is cloud and on premise software?
Cloud software is a software program that is fully available and accessible online, no installation required. When you purchase a cloud software, you’re able to access the software and store your data online – no boxes, disks, servers involved. Examples of cloud software include: Salesforce, Google Drive, Net Suite.
On the other hand, on premise software is a software program that must be installed on your computer. It requires in house IT infrastructure to use the software and store the data. Examples of on premise software include: Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, Adobe Creative Suite.
Now that we understand what cloud and on premise software is, the next question is which one is better for you?
Cloud Verses On Premise Software
One of the biggest differentiating factors between cloud and on premise software is the cost. With on premise software, you have to pay for the full use of the software upfront and pay more for any additional licenses if you require more users than it includes. Alternatively, cloud software is typically purchased per user and access level, so you only pay for what your company needs – the exact number of users with the exact access level you want them to have. This gives you the option to test the software to see if it truly meets your company’s needs without making a major financial commitment. With on premise software, you are buying full access to the software all at once for as many users as are included, so you need to be sure that the software will perform all of the tasks your business requires before you purchase it.
Not only is cloud software typically cheaper to purchase, it also does not require the same IT infrastructure and staffing costs associated with on premise software. Unless you already have the existing IT infrastructure in place, the cost of on premise software isn’t feasible for most companies.
In addition to the higher costs for on premise software, it also has a longer implementation time because it requires an IT professional to set up the required IT infrastructure. Cloud, on the other hand, can be effectively used ‘out of the box’. Once you have purchased cloud software, you can log on to the software and start using it immediately.
One of the best things about cloud software is its accessibility. No matter where your employees are in the world, if they have internet access, then they can access the software. Cloud software is great for sharing data across multiple offices and job sites as the real time information can be instantly shared with any user who has access to the internet.
Unlike cloud software, on premise software is limited to use within the office environment. It can only be accessed on the computer it has been installed on and could even be limited to use within access of the server.
Maintenance and Upkeep:
With cloud software, the vendor takes on the responsibility of up keeping and maintaining the software. Cloud software is typically done on a subscription basis. Therefore, in order to keep their customers, vendors must continually improve the quality of their product. Hence, cloud software vendors absorb the costs of maintenance and upkeep the software, and updates are generally free for all users.
On the other hand, on premise software is paid for upfront, not on a subscription basis. Your IT staff will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the software. Plus, your company would most likely have to pay to update your software to the latest version.
When it comes to customer support, on premise software has the advantage because users of the software can turn to their in house IT professionals for support. Whether it’s training or an unexpected issue, support is available in the office.
On the flipside, cloud software often includes free training sessions. After the training sessions, if additional training is required, there can often be fees for further consultation (which is an important thing to inquire about when considering cloud software). Customer support does generally exist for cloud software; however, it requires that you either call, email or live chat to receive support and there can often be a delay between the support request and receiving assistance. This is why when choosing cloud software, be sure to ask about customer support and what the turnaround time is for support requests.
Another aspect where on premise data has the upper hand is with data security. Using on premise software all of your data is stored within your servers. If you have properly backed up your servers, you can rest assure that your data is secure within the confines of your office as you have full control over security.
On the opposing side, cloud software data is secured online. Data security is out of the customer’s hand and is the responsibility of the software vendor. As such, it’s very important to inquire into what security measures, hosts and servers your cloud software vendor is using before purchasing the software. Your data will still be secure but you are not in full control over data security so you need to be sure that you are purchasing cloud software from a vendor who has the proper security measures in place to protect your information.
In short, there is a great deal to consider when purchasing software for your business. If you want to keep it economical, without major IT costs and extremely accessible, then cloud software is the better avenue for your business to venture down. Alternatively, if data security is of the upmost importance to you and you have the proper IT infrastructure already set up, then on premise software is the better choice. Either way, you need to do your homework to make sure you invest in an option that will improve your business and ultimately, protect your company’s bottom line.