8 questions to ask when choosing between Cloud or On-Premises for your Client Portal
96% of organisations are using cloud-based computing of some form*. How many applications are you using today within your firm that are cloud based? Probably quite a few. Yet why do so many organisations still opt for on premises platforms to store their corporate data? The reluctance to move to the cloud varies from firm to firm, but security is always high on the list. With file sharing platforms and client portals, one of the main reasons to stay on premises is the result of your clients not wanting their data in the cloud. Many firms feel their own, internal infrastructure will be more secure than the cloud. They are in control. However, many articles suggest the cloud is far more secure…
So, when choosing a file sharing platform and/or client portal solution which infrastructure should you opt for; Cloud or On Premises?
1. Where is my data?
With some cloud providers you may never know where your data is stored, which can be important to ensure you abide with data laws and your client’s specifications. When using a cloud provider, make sure you find out where the data resides and in what jurisdiction. In comparison, with on premises platforms, you know exactly where the data exists, which can be seen as an advantage.
2. Is my data secure?
Firms with clients such as banks require a higher level of security, so sometimes being in the cloud is off putting as there are theories that the cloud is less secure than their own network. Security concerns remain the number one barrier to a cloud computing deployment, but the cloud is actually usually more secure than your own. You need to look at your own network and security setup and see if it matches up to the security of the cloud platform you are choosing.
3. How is it maintained?
Unlike on premises, the cloud automatically applies hot fixes and feature updates the server for you, keeping you up to date effortlessly. Whereas, on premises updates need to be scheduled and planned for which can be seen as a positive or a negative. The positive is you can plan when you want the update, meaning you aren’t forced into changes to your platform when you aren’t ready, giving you time to train and test integrations. On the other hand, you can get left behind and end up a few versions out if updates are not installed.
4. How it is deployed?
On-premises platforms require setup of internal hardware or vms, installation and usually configuration of your network. On premises setup can take an extended period of time to complete, sometimes weeks, in comparison to a cloud setup which on average only takes a matter of hours. Cloud deployment tends to be much faster and easier, predominantly because there is no expensive set up or on-site infrastructure. So, if you are looking for a quick solution that is easily manageable and has no requirement for technical abilities, a cloud-based platform would be better suited.
5. What are the integration capabilities?
Sometimes integration with an on-premises solution is easier than with a cloud platform, so make sure your platform you use has an API that allows good integrations especially if it is in the cloud. Check what integrations the chosen platform has, to make sure it matches your internal or other cloud platforms. Most offerings are compatible with other software, making it very easy to integrate systems together.
6. Is it value for money?
Effectively, when in the cloud all you are paying for is to use the software, not the hardware it resides on. When on premise you have larger upfront costs to purchase the software and deploy it, infrastructure costs, power costs, space etc. which are ongoing and there are even some hidden costs too.
The cloud can be better value for money, with no need for expensive servers and infrastructure installations. Additionally, with no servers to manage or maintain, there is no concern for a company’s in-house technical abilities or to employ outside help.
7. Is it compliant?
Make sure the data centre you use has the levels of compliance you and your clients need. Sometimes this can be more advanced in the cloud than on premise too, so another advantage.
8. Is it innovative?
The cloud is a forward-facing technology, it is in cloud vendors advantage to keep their products competitive and this means they are constantly developing and enhancing their applications, whilst adding new innovative features. Additionally, they will be quick to overcome any obsolescence issues as their success is linked with keeping their clients using their product.
As data continues to grow at a rapid rate, businesses are looking for more ways to cut their storage costs and lighten the management burden on IT, but as listed above there are many other considerations. Ultimately the decision is up to you, your firm and your clients, as to whether you choose to host on the cloud or on premises.