What is the difference between a cloud and on-premise (download) solution?
A cloud (sometimes called hosted) means that all the data (inventory, customers, sales history..etc) are stored outside of your computers/systems. This means that you are entrusting the service provider with storing, backing up, and maintaining their data. They are also responsible for hosting the application on their servers and keeping it up and fast.
A download solution means that all the data is stored on your computer/server. You are then responsible for backing up and maintaining the service. This means you are responsible for keeping the software running, up to date, and available.
Advantages of cloud solution
- No software to install; turn key
- Backups and upgrades are taking care of by service provider
- Can easily be made accessible from any device
- Generally can be paid month to month with little startup costs
Advantages of on-premise solution
- You control your data; not stored in the cloud/with service provider
- Can be installed behind company firewalls for security
- Depending on the solution; you could customize to fit your needs
Disadvantages of cloud solution
- An outage at your service provider could happen; making it inaccessible
- Always requires an internet connection
- Data might not be as portable/locked in to provider
Disadvantages of on-premise solution
- Data loss is more likely as backups systems most likely not as robust as a cloud solution
- Application upgrades are not automatic
- Generally larger up front cost; but could be cheeper in long run
How to decide between cloud and on premise
What it comes down to is weighing the pros and cons. Some service providers only offer one solution so it would be your only choice. Based on PHP Point Of Sale's experience we have found as long as your internet connection is reliable that the cloud is generally the best solution for most businesses. But if your company has strong technology the on-premise/download could also be a perfect fit.