In years gone by, an on premise intranet solution was the prevailing option for almost all business organisations. More recently, however, and with the rise of the digital workplace, adapting to flexible working patterns whilst maintaining long-term employee productivity and engagement levels will be a significant consideration for many organisations.
With changing market dynamics, evolving business needs, and the challenge of coping with new economic conditions such as the proliferation of remote workers, more and more business organisations have begun to consider a cloud based intranet solution. This reflects a general trend in the business environment in which several studies expect over 80% of organisations to migrate to the cloud by 2025.
Defining intranet terms
An intranet is a private computer network providing access to authorised users within an organisation. Once limited to document management, news channels, staff profiles, and a policy manager, modern intranets now provide a wide range of applications to ensure a dynamic employee experience. These include corporate social media feeds, employee engagement tools, and productivity apps. An intranet may also provide features such as e-forms and workflows, eLearning, project management, and integrations with third-party systems.
A business organisation can set up an on-premise intranet by purchasing and installing its own intranet hardware, network infrastructure, and on-premise intranet software.
In a cloud-based intranet or hosted intranet, a business organisation enters into an agreement with a cloud technology provider, which supplies cloud software, cloud intranet networking infrastructure, and cloud computing resources on demand – usually for a monthly subscription fee.
Which is better – cloud intranet or on-premise intranet software?
Rather than a straight A or B answer, the solution to this one can be more nuanced, depending on the business needs, technical resources, data management requirements, funds, and IT teams available to a particular organisation. In broad terms, cloud-based intranet and on premise intranet stack up against each other in the following manner:
As a private installation belonging to a particular organisation, an on-premise intranet solution requires what may be significant upfront costs for the purchase of intranet hardware, infrastructure, and on-premise intranet software. Organisations must also budget for the IT teams and system administrators charged with technical support, server maintenance, and other management tasks such as software licensing and upgrades.
By contrast, an organisation investing in a cloud-based intranet or hosted intranet need only concern itself with a one-off installation charge and subsequent subscription fee, paid to the cloud technology provider. With the cloud hosting platform taking responsibility for system maintenance, organisations using cloud intranet don’t have to budget for specialist IT teams. Over time, this works out as more cost-effective for many organisations.
Traditionally, on premise solutions were restricted to users within a corporate headquarters, with the network guarded by strict security protocols and Virtual Private Network (VPN) access. For remote workers, navigating these barriers to gain access to an on-premise intranet solution was therefore problematic — an issue that still persists, to some extent.
Cloud computing networks use internet technology, making them instantaneously accessible to anyone with a valid connection. Cloud based intranet is therefore ideal for remote working, and can provide 24/7 access to company servers, data, software, and other cloud intranet resources.
Today’s cloud based intranet providers can offer enhanced security options including powerful servers for data backup and business continuity, and an all in one platform that works in compliance with industry standards and regulatory regimes like HIPAA, ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 27001.
However, a business organisation that works in a highly regulated environment may appreciate having full control over the management of its data and intellectual property. In such cases, on premise solutions may be more appropriate.
With in-house IT teams developing on premise intranet software, organisations have greater scope for customising applications to suit the particular needs of specific business units or user groups.
High-end cloud-based intranet providers are however offering extensive configuration options for their platforms, and user-friendly cloud software that organisations with limited technical expertise can tweak with a few mouse clicks, or a drag & drop operation.
Over time, a business organisation may develop and grow, or diversify its operations. For an on-premise intranet solution, reacting to these changes can impose a significant burden on IT teams and the corporate budget, if new servers and software installations are required.
By its very nature, cloud computing technology is built for flexibility and growth capacity. So a cloud-based intranet enables organisations to respond to changing business conditions and scale their operations more quickly and easily than on premise solutions.
Cloud intranet vs on premise intranet: making the right choice
Clearly, there are several advantages that cloud based intranet has over an on premise intranet solution. However, with distinct advantages in its own favour, this is not to say that on premise intranet is a complete non-starter. As we have already observed for example, there are technical benefits of on-premise intranet software for any company seeking a high degree of customisation. Organisations that must routinely deal with highly sensitive information and/or operations can benefit from the greater control and data governance offered by on premise solutions.
Ultimately, the choice of deployment option in the cloud intranet vs on premise intranet debate will depend on the individual circumstances of your organisation, your business needs, technical resources, budget, and available staff.
Here at Claromentis, we’ve been in the intranet business for over 20 years, and provide two intranet hosting options to suit your company’s infrastructure. You can pay a one-off fee for our on-premise intranet solution and deploy it on your own internal servers. Alternatively, choose from our cloud-based intranet solution range, which includes our software, installation, Google hosting, backups, and more, in one monthly subscription fee.
If you’d like to discover which Claromentis solution is right for you – cloud based intranet or on premise intranet – book a demo with our experts.