For many companies, the decision on where to host their Claromentis intranet software can be confusing – there are many more options than there used to be.
In short, hosting your intranet website is a choice between hosting your intranet software on your own network (often referred to as on-premises) or in the cloud, is normally a decision based on three main factors:
Companies vary immensely in their assessment of security risks.
When cloud computing first arrived, I think it was fair to say that security held certain companies back from installing critical applications and associated data with third party providers. As the concept has gained traction, with more and more software being web-based, it is probably true to say that most companies see a professional cloud environment (we use Google Compute Engine for example) as more secure and scalable than their own internal systems.
One further issue is that people often mean different things when they talk about security. The heart of it is the risk of compromise and downtime or data loss as a result of hacking, or the provider of the cloud infrastructure just getting things wrong, resulting in an outage while they recover it. Security is also a general concept that we might extend to consider back-ups, scalability, and other general maintenance issues such as security patches.
Certain sectors can also have a corporate culture that 100% embraces or 100% refuses cloud computing as a top level decision. In these cases, the matter is clear and no further aspects need to be considered.
2) Server availability and ease of maintenance
Some companies, in particular SMEs, may simply lack the infrastructure or the expertise in terms of IT departments or contracted specialists. Again this makes your intranet hosting decision simple; some kind of off-premise solution is required.
Certainly in the case of Claromentis, we fully support both hosting options and charge differently for the two deployment models. In the case of on-premise systems, the customer purchases a perpetual license and has the option of taking out an annual support and maintenance contract. For cloud-based systems we charge through the standard Software as a Service model, where a single monthly fee covers the software, support, and the servers, and the customer can cancel at any time.
To me the additional confusion comes from the fast pace with which cloud computing is moving, both in terms of mainstream adoption and the underlying technology. For example, it used to be a meaningful question to ask if the server was shared or dedicated, or whether the infrastructure was public, private, or hybrid. These days there are a variety of complex technologies behind cloud computing, and understanding such concepts is beyond most of us!
In addition, at least in the case of Claromentis, the cost model can cross boundaries. This is because many companies will evaluate digital workplaces in the 3-5 year timeframe, and over this period paying for a Software as a Service package can be expensive. For this reason, we allow the customer to purchase a perpetual license, but have us host that in the cloud for them – so the best of both worlds.
We are always happy to talk through the options with interested companies, and to try to offer our assistance when making the choice of where your intranet should be located. It’s an important decision, after all!