Decisions, Decisions–Cloud or On-Premise?
We are about 15 years into the Age of Cloud Computing, and there are initiatives, mandates, and plain old opinions that exist to tell you why you should move to a “cloud-first” approach– if you already haven’t. I often see why organizations would decide not to move to the cloud. Most of my clients are municipal government, government adjacent, and mid-sized organizations, and there are several use cases where SaaS is not the best choice.
Historical Reasons for Staying On-Premise
The most obvious of these concerns are compliance and cyber security. The reason is that having your data in the cloud relinquishes your tech infrastructure control, which is risky for highly regulated environments. Today, with modern encryption, compliance frameworks, Trusted Systems, and data security tools, organizations can be comfortable choosing to go cloud.
Another pro for On-Premise was migrations. Moving data can require much effort and expertise. Plus, it used to be quite expensive to move data in and out of the cloud. At CPS, we often perform migrations that addressing them is a part of the sales process. Currently, there are plenty of migration tools available to ease the process. There are extra costs to migrating transactional data; even though you may pay only pennies per gigabyte each month for the data in the cloud, the price will rise significantly if you constantly move data in and out of the cloud.
Current Reasons for Selecting On-Premise
Cloud can be expensive. Very expensive. It’s primarily why our clients refrain from storing permanent records in the cloud. Also, it’s one of the main justifications why clients choose On-Premise Laserfiche over SaaS. Interestingly, a one-year ROI isn’t sufficient to determine the cost of each system. Long-term, your TCO (total cost of ownership) is lower for Laserfiche On-Premise because license fees are one-time and annual maintenance tends to be lower than the recurring costs of SaaS. Our sales wizards have told me that it takes about three years to invest in On-Premise to result in lesser TCO. (excluding hardware and professional services.
Security and control- Ok, these concerns aren’t just historical. On-premise deployments allow for certainty for budgeting, fostering both infrastructure control and flexibility, paradoxically a chief benefit of Laserfiche. On-Prem also decreases the likelihood of shadow IT. With SaaS, anyone with a credit card and security rights can spin up an RD2 server–possibly increasing costs. So, if your organization lacks strong oversight, records management controls, or IT governance, it will be safer to stick with an On-Premises infrastructure than to move to the cloud and run the risk of cloud bloat and out-of-control cloud costs.
If you operate in a highly regulated environment, you must have in-house control and know your data; On-Premise is the best choice. Similarly, (for compliance) if you are required to offer offline access to your data. On-premise licensing offers multiple options, such as the aforementioned for system access.
Bottom line, if cost control, compliance, security, and access controls are your major IT drivers, On-Premise is the best option.