MDM: Cloud vs On-Premise, what should I choose ?
25th of November 2020
Nowadays, if you need to store professional data or use softwares within your company, you have two choices: you can decide to use the Cloud (store data in an external server, accessible via the Internet), or you can decide to opt for the on-premise (data and softwares stored on your own servers, internally). Most of the companies are using the Cloud to store their data (the expense of traditional, on-premise servers, which are deprecated). According to the 2019 Insee’s report on cloud computing and big data, in the European Union, in 2018, 23% of small businesses (less than 50 employees) and 53% of medium businesses (more than 250 employees) used cloud computing services. Some MDM solutions provide two types of digital hosting (cloud or on-premise) while others specialize in cloud computing.
What are the main differences, the pros and cons of each? Why opt for storage entirely in the cloud rather than on-premise?
The biggest difference between the Cloud and the On-premise solution is the price. Indeed, at first sight, an on-premise solution could seem affordable but it is because you don’t see all the hidden costs that increase the price. Investing in internal servers does not only means to invest in the material but also on the implementation, the employees, the training, the maintenance costs…
Moreover, on-premise infrastructure requires trained employees, who are able to internally manage the on-premise solution without reaching out to the supplier. A big company which has a trained IT service and enough space, could think of having an on-premise solution, but most of the businesses do not have all those resources. A small business for example, will not necessarily have qualified employees and time to train them. Also, they do not have enough time and money to spend on configuring and setting up the on-premise solution. In this case, the Cloud is more adapted as it avoids a huge loss of human, financial and time-consuming investments.
Even though some are reproaching the Cloud computing to be unsecured, data risk and ransomware attacks are not less likely to happen on an on-premise solution. Indeed, businesses which choose to internally manage their professional data should protect the servers from internal attacks, building intrusions, natural disasters, employees departures… With an internal infrastructure, once data are lost, there is no possible way to restore them, which is not the case for Cloud storage. Choosing cloud computing enables experts to secure as they know, the data. Indeed, data stored on Cloud are completely secured on encrypted servers which only the company-owned has access to. Even if an IT issue happens within the company building, as a material theft or damage, all the company data is safely secured in another building.
Another example, if a security breach is found, as it was for a Mobile Device Management solution recently, to resolve the issue is way more complicated for an on-premise than for a cloud solution. MDM solutions that are 100% cloud computing manage the issue, fix it and then update their servers to protect as soon as possible their clients. While for an on-premise solution, it is way more complicated: the virus that attacked the mobile fleet management solution will easily be able to attack the solution’s clients servers. It is the client’s responsibility to update its infrastructure on time. Without a trained IT team, hackers will have time to penetrate the company servers and to hack all the profesional data.
Third important point: to work with cloud software allows easier and quicker deployment. Most of the software on the market are Saas (Software as a service) and provide purchase per licence.
If we take the example of a MDM solution: within a company, the number of users which have a mobile device is increasing in time, so as the licences. If a company chooses a saas solution, accessible from the internet, it will be able to quickly change its number of devices and to be quickly up and running. However, by using an on-premise solution, each modification on the subscription will be a loss of time. On cloud infrastructure, administrators only need an internet connexion to access the console, no matter the device, the place and the infrastructure. All the maintenance, store, software operation is the software provider’s responsibility.
On-premise infrastructures are still available today but less and less used by companies. Indeed, they are too expensive, obsolete for the current market and the cloud computing is an excellent substitute: easy-to-access and less complicated and restrictive. As you can see on the graph, published in the 2019 Insee’s report “Cloud computing and big data”, no matter the business sector, the cloud computing is increasing within the European Union companies.
Will the cloud be able to definitely delete the on-premise solutions?
Saas software and MDM solutions based on on-premise are becoming increasingly rare, as this method is considered obsolete and far from optimal. It is also impossible to avoid the cloud, since even if you choose an on-premise solution, some of it will be stored in the cloud. This makes an infrastructure more complex…
In the case of a mobile device management solution (for professional Android devices for example), even based on on-premise, uses Google cloud anyway as soon as a notification is sent from the administration console on a device (for the installation of an application, an update …). Some MDM software, such as the French solution TinyMDM, have decided to be entirely based on the cloud to avoid complicating the solution and to allow an ever simpler and more secure use.