Forced into Document Cloud – Now What?

by Stanley Chow, Sr Product Marketing Manager

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It’s quite popular today for business leaders to move their data and computing operations from their own servers or data centers to the cloud. In fact, Gartner projects the cloud services industry will grow exponentially through 2022. The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.5 percent by the end of this year (2019) to a total of $214.3 billion. So it’s not surprising that cloud strategy has become a top investment priority for many organizations.

While cloud computing is becoming the preferred IT model, however, it may not be the right choice for your business. On-premise models are still a viable option for some organizations, depending on certain performance and security criteria, so don’t rule out on-prem solutions completely.

When deciding what the right model is for your organization, it’s important to do an in-depth assessment of your company’s unique situation and requirements. To assist your analysis, below is a brief overview of how on-premise and cloud services compare head-to-head across several critical categories.

Cost

Subscription-based cloud services: An extremely attractive aspect of cloud services is how you pay for it. In most cases, implementation prices will vary based on the number of licenses needed within your organization. After that, you’ll be paying a monthly or annual subscription fee, which can be adjusted as your company scales up. The cost of entry is very low.

On-premise/desktop software: The cost of entry is much higher for on-premise/desktop solutions. You’ll be paying an upfront fee for a bucket of software licenses and infrastructure hardware from your capital budget – and that’s only half the battle. Factor in the hidden cost of IT staff for ongoing support and maintenance, and the on-premises approach can be a bit overwhelming for leaner companies. The good news is that as a capital investment, an on-premise system can end up costing far less over the course of its life cycle than paying for a recurring cloud-based service subscription.

Level of Access

Subscription-based cloud services: Cloud-based services run on the internet rather than in any fixed location, so users can enjoy access from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re in your office, at a park, or on the subway, you can gain access to your cloud service. It’s quite common now for cloud systems to offer a mobile client that provides access on the go via your phone or tablet. The only caveat is that this level of access depends on a stable network connection, which can be troublesome in areas with poor connectivity.

On-premise/desktop software: In contrast, packaged software does not require a network connection to login or to use. Your files can be stored locally on your desktop or laptop, enabling you to work freely on documents and access data even if you are on an airplane with no internet connection.

Security

Subscription-based cloud services: Concerns about data security may be the Achilles heel of public cloud services. IT departments must manage various risk vectors proactively. Cloud service providers have taken major steps to safeguard the integrity of client data, yet incidents of security breaches continue to result in unauthorized access to user data or intellectual property. When opting for the cloud, you lose a sense of control over your own data. One of the most valuable assets your company has is its data. Turning it over to a third-party invariably puts your company in a vulnerable position, especially if the document cloud is not FedRAMP-compliant. Enabling user access to unsecured document storage adds a layer of security risk when sensitive data is saved there.

On-premise/desktop software: Keeping all company data in-house is one of the strengths of on-premises software. This approach offers some companies greater peace of mind. Companies working in highly regulated industries like government contracting and healthcare often find the on-premise option to be worth the investment. Storing your company’s data on the premises of private property doesn’t necessarily eliminate all the security risks associated with cloud computing, however. Rather, it just means that your organization has greater control of its data and is better able to monitor it. Your IT and security staff must be up to the task of protecting proprietary data.

Customization

Subscription-based cloud services: All companies are created differently and need systems that fit their own specific situation and business needs. With cloud-based software, customization is challenging. To allow for quicker implementation, cloud service providers usually offer an “out-of-box” version of their software, allowing some slight tweaking of configurations here and there. Generally speaking though, companies looking for a fully-tailored solution may be out of luck with the cloud. For example, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) does not support the subscription model licenses and does not run in a Citrix environment. The granted usage right is temporary, not permanent, and license management in the subscription model requires additional work.

On-premise/desktop software: The benefit of owning all your software and infrastructure is that you have complete control of what you do with it – including customization. Since your IT department understands your organization the best, they can customize on-premise software to match its precise business needs, which may be evolving.

Conclusion

Public cloud and on-premise systems each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the key trade-offs detailed above is important for meeting your company’s unique needs and knowing the impact it will have on your budget.

Are you managing ultra-sensitive data that you cannot afford to have compromised? Even if you choose security-compliant cloud storage for some of your data, local storage of the most sensitive databases in on-premises servers may still be the way to go. Decisions about whether to go with the cloud or an on-premise model or a hybrid solution require direct involvement from skilled IT staff and a deep understanding of how your end-users will be using the system on a daily basis.

Fortunately, many different types of information systems available today allow you to mix and match models. Services include, but are not limited to, data storage, document editing, CRM and email.

For document editing software, Foxit PhantomPDF offers desktop, mobile and Web browser versions with or without cloud services to cater to your company’s needs. We make the desktop software available for a one-time, perpetual license fee and it belongs to you in perpetuity. Foxit also offers a monthly or annual subscription to PhantomPDF. Whichever pricing model you decide on, the product provides identical features, allowing you to edit, convert, redact, protect and sign documents without a hitch or delay. For more information, please be sure to try out our data management solutions here.


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