On-Premise Installation and Cloud-based Subscription Solutions. Which is still preferred?

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

It's almost impossible to find a business that's running nowadays without a technological solution to handle its everyday operations, processes, and workflows; which leads me to wonder how did businesses cope in the first place when there weren't yet any automatic systems put in place to run operations that were being done manually by individuals?. It must have been time taking. well, there's a popular saying that goes thus what the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't desire but does this really apply to business scenarios? I can't really tell for sure because I think for every solution to have come in place, there was a problem and someone had to take the initiative or think out of the box to find a solution that would solve the problem in particular. As a matter, of fact, more solutions brought their own problems and those problems needed their own solutions and so on. And that's how I think we've landed into the world of the sophisticated systems and applications we have today.

Now there exist hundreds of thousands of applications/ software systems designed to help businesses in running their daily operations, and irrespective of whichever you prefer, you can either have them installed on a local server within your company or have a third party vendor perform the service for you by having it already preinstalled on their own server(cloud-based) then you pay a monthly or yearly fee(subscription) to keep reaping of its benefits and so on. Good! that brings us to the topic of this article. However, you may have come across similar articles talking about the two but here I am going to give you insights, including their benefits, difference and similarities, pros and cons about both. On-premise is quite old but there are still some reasons why organizations would prefer it to cloud-based subscriptions that are now trending in the forms of SAAS, PAAS etc.

I am writing this article because for some time, I have repeatedly come across arguments if not questions of people asking which is preferable between having an on-premise solution or a cloud-based subscription? Let me just cite here that subscription solutions may have come as a remedy to some challenges posed by an on-premise solution such as Server hardware specifications, pre and post-installation problems, lack of competent technical staff, Maintainance, Cost etc. whatever the case, we are going to take scrutiny on both with regards to all the listed points.


On-premise is having enterprise software, utility programs or business applications such as accounting software installed on a local server that is being accessed by all client computers or Users needing them. Any local server running resources that are usable to members of that organization is considered on-premise. The advantages of On-premise is that;

- It's Less costly: you only need to buy the said software then have it installed on the local server and moreover, multiple business applications could be installed on the same server in as much as the server is able to handle them(Scalability) unlike Cloud-based where you need to pay for every new SAAS or PAAS subscription you make

- It's best with small to medium size Organizations.

-It has no limit to the number of people who could be authorized to access it. For example, any number of users could be configured to use the application unlike for some cloud-based application; depending on the type of service, the subscription fee could define the number of users who could use it. more users mean more money.

- If well managed, it is very secure since one only gets to access resources when within the company premises and I think this is the biggest reason why most big organizations would prefer it to cloud-based.

On the other side of the coin, Their cons could be equal to or higher than pros depending on how your company's infrastructure is.

- To run On-premise Solutions, you need a high-speed server with high Hardware specifications. This is critical because some programs require a lot in terms of processor, RAM etc. and since the server is supposed to be running 24/7, its but normal that you not only get a high specification system but also that which is durable.

- It requires a high level of technical expertise. Only experts are recommended to install and configure enterprise applications. a single point of failure may crash the entire system or more over leaving it open to vulnerabilities and threats such as malware attacks or hardware failure.

- It also requires a high level of maintenance including constant performing of updates to the software.

- Once running an On-premise solution, it's best to have a backup of almost everything in case of a disaster. System Engineers or those in charge of the server need to have a disaster recovery plan at hand be it a fire disaster, malware attack, data loss, System Crash, Faulty hardware, Power etc. when buying a server, its best to go for those having multiple power supplies, and it's very important to have a secondary source of power in case there is a power outage.

- Putting all these together, it could be time-consuming to run on-premise solutions. Since you will personally need to go out in search of all that you need. Orders may not reach in time and may even pose installation problems such as hardware compatibility or compatibility problems with other software already running in the server.


Like I mentioned earlier, cloud-based applications or software could have come as a solution to some of the problems brought forth or posed by On-premise such as local server properties, maintenance, technical expertise, compatibility problems with hardware or other software application, mobility and flexibility etc. Unlike its counterpart it's very easy to get it set up, you only need to signup with the platform or the company offering the service and that's it. No need for high-level technical expertise since it's just a few clicks and that's done.

Giving the nature of the work of businesses nowadays, a lot of them have moved to cloud-based solutions for the following reasons.

- Flexibility, You can access work environment or company resources from any corner of the globe in as much as they have internet access, companies love this because it provides the ability for their users to serve clients even in the comforts of their home.

- Maintainance and updates is not necessary since everything is being managed by its service provider

- It is less costly especially if there are fewer users and moreover there is no need for a server for the application or software to be installed or accessed by those needing them.

- There is reliability and availability as most of this software and applications run on tier 3 and 4 servers managed by very highly skilled experts thus there is a very slim chance of failure or malware attack unlike the case of on-premise.

- It is best with any kind of business whether small, medium or large. every business can subscribe to it

However, on the other hand, Cloud-based as flexible as they are, still have their own cons

- They are expensive at a large scale, more users mean more subscription fees.

- Technically they could be somewhat insecure giving that if access or subscription is not cancelled for an employee who is leaving the company. he or she is capable of accessing resources on the cloud with their credentials.

- Moreover in the case of theft; for example, a user's computer or smartphone could be stolen, a malicious person can then log in to their computer and access his or her company resources via open browser links or accounts which have remember already toggled.

You can read my other article which throws more light on Understanding the possibilities through which accounts could be hacked. It will give you some insights into how to best protect your accounts.

So these rounds up what I intended to share with you in this article. Now let's face it whether you are using an On-premise solution, there is still a need to get cloud-based for some applications and of course vice-versa especially during uncertain times as now. applications associated with remote conferences, video calls and other business productivity suite can only need a cloud-based subscription, However, as expensive as they could be to set up. On-premise still presents the best secure way of files and other resource sharing no wonder large organizations would rather still prefer to have a datacenter of at least Tier 2 standard to enable them to host and share their own resources. What are your thoughts about this article, let me hear in the comments. Please share and subscribe.

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