If your organization is looking into purchasing a new software solution, you (or surely your IT team) are likely weighing the options of where that software will be installed– on your company’s own computers and servers, or hosted in the cloud on a vendor’s servers and accessed through a web browser. Here we breakdown the pros and cons of both options so you can better determine which deployment is best for your project team. More and more software and application vendors are offering cloud-hosting as an option, and some have even moved to cloud-based offerings entirely. At ARES PRISM, we know that one solution does not fit all organizations’ needs. We offer both environments for our project controls software deployment options (on-premise and cloud-based) by partnering with hosting solution providers.
The Pros & Cons of Cloud Hosting & On-Premise Software
Installation & Deployment
Ultimately, the main difference between these two offerings is where they are installed or deployed; it’s the difference of having the software on your server or computer, or logging in through the web: On-Premise Software is installed on your company’s computers and servers. Cloud-Based Software is hosted on a cloud solution vendor’s servers, and then accessed via web browser. Hosted solutions solve for organizations that want to outsource much of their centralized IT support for deployment and upgrades, whereas on-premise deployments and upgrades are most often managed by an in-house IT team. Additionally, using a hosting provider could conveniently bring all your project and non-project apps and technology together in one place with one access point.
Ease of Deployment
Typically, software and applications can be deployed in a cloud-hosted environment faster than an on-premise environment simply because servers and infrastructure are readily available via a hosting provider. Whereas, on-premise solutions may have to procure the servers and infrastructure necessary before deploying the application.
Cloud vs. On-Premise Pricing
The next big difference between cloud-based and on-premise software solutions is the pricing. Cloud Costs: For the most part (though not always), cloud hosting is generally considered an operating expenditure. It is typically priced as a monthly or yearly subscription, and often includes additional fees for training that involves using the hosting platform, updates, and additional support. On-Premise Costs: Typically, on-premise software is considered a capital expenditure, as it is priced via a one-time perpetual license fee, though many are now offering software subscription licenses as well. Like cloud-hosting, there are often additional fees associated with training, though instead of training for the hosting platform, it is for training to use the software itself.
Security & Mobile Accessibility
Critical information, including financial data, is used in projects to control and report costs. As such, a major concern for many is security. Fortunately, reputable cloud vendors have strong and strict security measures and standards in place. With on-premise deployments, organizations must be prepared and equipped themselves to host, maintain, and protect their project data on their own. If an organization does not have the infrastructure or support team in place to manage the installation and keep it secure afterwards, then on-premise may not be the most ideal option for them. Alternatively, on-premise solutions offer more control to the organization and remove any pain points that may stem from third parties (like them having access to data). Mobile access is another thing to take into consideration when exploring software deployment options. Cloud-based software enables easy mobile accessibility since the software can be accessed from a web browser. No concern over having to have someone to go into the office or project site to access data. As long as there is an internet connection, cloud hosted solutions are a large benefit for project team members who are in the field.
Speed & Internet Connection
Speed is another thing to consider. Many megaprojects have a large amount of project data to be processed. Having your software available on-premise often means organizations are better able to process data quicker. When deployed on-premise, your data can still be accessed if you lose internet, meaning the loss of productivity is significantly reduced when compared to the same event occurring to those who use a cloud-based environment. Though if an internet connection is required to access any internet connection based integrations you may have, some of your data may not be up-to-date in real-time. Hosted solutions, especially those dealing with mass amounts of project and program data, rely on high-speed internet connections. Pairing cloud hosting with a slow connection leads to lag time when trying to access your files or download documents and reports. A similar downside is that cloud-based solutions rely on an internet connection. If the internet is down, your data is entirely inaccessible.
Cloud or On-Premise: Which Is Right for Your Organization?
All in all, this decision will depend on if your organization is well-suited to have the software live on their own servers, have the IT team in place to manage the installation and upgrades, have the storage space for project and program data, and other related infrastructure in place. Whether choosing an on-premise or cloud-based solution, an organization must explore the overall costs of each and determine their mobile accessibility needs. At ARES PRISM we know that one solution does not fit all organizations’ needs and that is why we offer both environments depending on our customers needs.