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On-premises software

On-premises software

(also on-prem software, on-premises applications, on-site software)

On-premises software definition

On-premises software is any software installed and operated within an organization’s own physical infrastructure or data centers. This stands in contrast to cloud-based or SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, which are hosted by third-party cloud providers and accessed over the internet.

See also: data center design, cloud as a service, information security policy, infrastructure security, security policy

Advantages of on-premises software

The main benefits of using on-premises software are related to data security. An organization has full ownership and control over on-premises software because the data is processed and stored within its own infrastructure. This makes it easier to protect information and comply with legal requirements.

It is also much more difficult to physically tamper with or snoop on on-premises software, as access to the host hardware is limited to individuals that have the proper clearance within the organization. By contrast, third party data centers may store software belonging to different companies on the same or nearby servers.

Finally, on-premises software can be customized extensively to meet your specific needs — for example, it is very easy to switch configurations if the organization decides to upgrade its hardware.

Disadvantages of on-premises software

Because on-premises software must be hosted within the organization’s own infrastructure, it has a large upfront cost compared to off-the-shelf solutions. The business needs to have adequate facilities for the servers, purchase the necessary equipment, and procure the licenses for the software.

These costs extend to maintenance. The organization must have adequate staff or set up adequate service level agreements to maintain the physical hardware and deal with software problems — a problem not addressed in time can lead to significant downtime. By contrast, cloud services or SaaS solutions have their own IT experts to deal with issues.

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