The Cloud versus On-Prem. What’s the best hosting solution?
When securing a new software solution it is important to understand the distinction between the two hosting solutions that are available on the market. Making the decision to opt for either a cloud based product or looking after your own on-premise servers is an important one due to the type resources required. This article will quickly run through what both these solutions mean for you and your business and the advantages of both.
Hosted on The Cloud
A cloud hosted software solution means that the software vendor provides the server infrastructure. They can either do this themselves or outsource it to leading technology providers such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. These solutions are usually sold on a subscription basis, whereby the customer pays an annual amount for access to the software without any of the server responsibilities. Here are few benefits of going hosted.
Benefit 1 – Cheaper upfront investment
The absence of a large capital investment in hardware and server infrastructure is arguably the largest benefit is opting for cloud hosting. To implement cloud hosted software, all infrastructure is handled by the vendor and therefore depending on the complexity of software you can get up and running within days. The scalable nature of cloud solutions too means that their is not cost to rapidly expand should the need arise.
Benefit 2- Data Security in hands of the software vendor
Outsourcing data security to the vendor is usually a key reason why companies purchase cloud based software. Cloud hosting providers will provide strict data security guarantees, which are usually supported by the third party global technology providers such as AWS/MS Azure mentioned earlier. This can allow companies to focus on other parts of their business rather than spend money on expensive security procedures.
Benefit 3 – Better software support
When the software vendor has direct access to the server infrastructure, it generally can make it easier to support than on-premise hosted products. This is because with direct access, there are no firewall and security barriers to overcome to identify and fix issues. It also means it is less likely for support agents to ask for a remote session to view the end-users computer screen as they can test potential issues directly on the system remotely via a web browser.
On-premise simply means the software is installed locally on a company’s own computers and servers. Before technological advancements in cloud computing, this was by far the most common way of hosting software your software. This was when software was sold outright ,with a large capital investment, for the perpetual licenses and was then accompanied with a smaller maintenance contract. Below are the three main benefits of on-premise solutions.
Benefit 1- Physical control over server hardware
Having control over your infrastructure is a common theme in the benefits of on-premise solutions The first one on this list is that you can decide what hardware your servers are built on, and these can be optimised for your specific needs and requirements. Customisable hardware and purpose-built systems can sometimes offer an edge over publicly available, out of the box cloud solutions.
Benefit 2- Data security remains in clients hands
Depending on your industry, having control of your data security can be a key selling point when deciding to go on-premise. Government agencies in particular with specific data security requirements tend to opt for on premise solutions due to the nature of their data. While outsourcing your data security to cloud providers can sometimes be beneficial, some industries are better off maintaining their own on-premise server infrastructure.
Benefit 3- More control over up-time
Having direct control over your infrastructure hardware and the infrastructure team means that you can ensure the correct amount of resources are allocated to maintain up-time. Sometimes cloud based products will have scheduled downtime for server maintenance and improvements, which depending on your time zone, could clash with your business activities. Having your own servers can allow you to organise downtime around your core business operations.
Choosing your hosting solution for your new software purchase usually depends on your own in house expertise and resources. Both options have their own benefits and can both be a success when executed correctly. While many SAAS ( Software as a service) companies only offer cloud based products, many vendors still offer hybrid options that allow you to choose between on-premise or cloud. The choice is yours.
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