On-Premises vs. Cloud Document Management: Assessing which May Be Right for Your Organization

On-premises vs. cloud document management… plus a third hybrid deployment option. Which will serve your organization best? Nobody doubts that companies have increasingly pushed their information and sometimes even their architecture to the cloud. By the end of 2020, expect to see 83 percent of enterprise workloads processed with cloud computing and storage. Still, some organizations have stayed with their on-premises solutions. Others have stepped back to reconsider their rapid rush to the cloud over concerns about security and control. Take a moment to contrast cloud vs on-premises document management solutions to understand which one will best serve your needs.

On-Premises vs. Cloud Document Management Solutions

To get started, consider this high-level comparison of on-premises vs. cloud solutions:

On-Premises Document Management

Generally, these factors motivate companies to keep on-premises software:

  • The organization already has on-premises, legacy software that appears to serve their needs.
  • The organization has concerns about cloud security, control, accessibility, and regulatory compliance.
  • Compliance standards mandate that the organization keep certain data on-premises.

On-premises document management systems require companies to install licensed software on their own computers or network. They’re also entirely responsible for maintaining current versions, and some software providers may charge additional fees for updates. Besides just buying the software system, the organization also needs hardware for storage and processing, and they also must pay to power that hardware.

Just as important, companies need to ensure that both their data and their software are protected against a variety of security and physical threats against computers, networks, and databases. To handle all of these tasks, organizations with on-premises document management need IT employees to maintain hardware, software, data and security.

Typically, all the responsibilities of hosting on-premises systems will add up to larger burdens for manpower and budgets. Still, this choice ensures that the organization retains the most control over their information. They can make certain that management of systems and data will conform to unique governance policies. Companies in industries with strict regulations or particularly sensitive systems might prefer to personally attend to this task.

Even with the additional burden, some companies may have no choice. Compliance regulations may mandate that certain information be stored and encrypted on-premises. For these organizations, a hybrid deployment may be a good option. Hybrid solutions offer the best of both worlds. Hybrid solutions can offer control, compliance and management of established records on-premises, as well as the flexible user experience employees are looking for in their everyday work through cloud-based applications. A hybrid infrastructure also eliminates the need for data migration, allowing organizations to keep legacy content where it is.

Cloud Document Management

In contrast to onsite document management, cloud-based document management systems will assume responsibility for installing and maintaining the system. In addition, this third-party company will provide hardware for processing and storage, including maintenance, necessary upgrades, physical locations, and utilities. Even though the cloud requires trusting data to a third-party provider, many cloud companies can take responsibility for security, and backups.

Typically, the company simply pays a periodic fee that may vary by their usage or the number of accounts they require. Organizations can generally also scale up or down as needed, so they can pay only for what they need. That’s harder to do with on-premises solution. Mostly, cloud document management won’t require a capital outlay for software, hardware, or IT talent. Cloud systems often also offer remote access from a variety of devices, so they may provide more flexibility than on-premises systems.

Is On-Premises, Cloud or Hybrid Document Management Better for Your Business?

Cloud computing has grown increasingly popular because of its strong benefits. It can ease workloads and budgets for companies. Those benefits have fueled predictions that the cloud industry will boom into a $300 billion market by next year.

However, risk managers still view concerns over unauthorized access to sensitive or regulated information a major issue. The very accessibility that allows users to login from remote locations may seem to be risky. But for those not required by compliance to maintain on-premises storage, a high-quality cloud provider that can provide secure authentication should be sufficient.

Typically, even the most risk-averse companies can find cloud providers who will provide the level of security they require. In fact, since bigger cloud providers make running these systems their business, they have more resources and better controls than some with other priorities. It’s true that a number of companies may still choose to prioritize their information by sensitivity and look for a hybrid solution that allows them to maintain the level of control they require by running some systems on-premises and others in the cloud.

While there’s not one right choice for all businesses, it’s likely that cloud computing can benefit at least some aspects of your document management. Cloud services are always up-to-date and updated automatically providing always the most modern and the most secure experience with the least amount of maintenance effort for the customer. Organizations can always complement the cloud deployment with local on-premises servers and also migrate local repositories to the cloud and vice-versa.