SaaS vs Self-hosted or Software as Service is a recent trend among business owners that allows them to access the tools, features, and services via the internet. Unlike self-hosted (also known as on-premise) applications, it doesn’t have to be downloaded and installed in your PC or device. Furthermore, it doesn’t run on the same server as the one you use for your business.
More businesses are beginning to see the benefits of SaaS as they incorporate them into their day-to-day operations. According to Statista, the SaaS market is predicted to reach $157 million in size for 2020.
However, its growing popularity does not necessarily mean that it’s the best option out there for your business. What might have worked in one company might not work on yours. Therefore, you must evaluate your company’s needs and consider the context first before making a hard pass on self-hosted solutions.
So now you may wonder, what is the difference between hosted and SaaS and how will you know which one is better for your business? Read on to find out.
The first thing you will notice is the cost differences between SaaS and on-premise tools. Both have varying prices depending on the size of your business, the tools and services they have on offer, and other aspects.
Most SaaS offer monthly subscriptions for license payment instead of an all-out one like self-hosted.
They usually have different pricing plans depending on the features included in the package and the limitations it enforces each plan. This makes it easier for you to manage your budget because you have the freedom to choose what tools and features you can afford. Likewise, you can cancel your subscription anytime, and thus save you from spending resources on a solution you won’t be using in the long run.
On-premise, on the other hand, tends to be pricier not because the product itself is expensive but because of its long-term maintenance. Since self-hosted runs on your own server, the responsibility of maintaining and monitoring it falls entirely on your capabilities. This will often require you to hire IT services, which may get costly especially if you only outsource their assistance. Likewise, self-hosted solutions may also require certain specs or types of hardware for it to run smoothly. This means yet another investment for your company.
With this said, on-premise solutions may not be ideal for small to medium sized businesses or those without their own IT department within their company. Nonetheless, if you feel that your company can manage the technicalities of on-premise, then you don’t cross out on-premise just yet.
Accessibility is another point of contention between the two. Therefore, you have to ask yourself if you need something that is capable of accommodating the flexibility your business needs.
Since SaaS solutions are connected directly into the internet, you can access their tools and service anywhere. Likewise, they’re usually designed so that they can still run optimally across any devices without undergoing a separate installation process. This is why remote workforce management software solutions are usually SaaS since these applications allow you to work outside the office and beyond the reach of your server.
Accessibility for self-employed can be a bit limiting considering that this only runs within your company’s server. Likewise, transferring files may not be as easy compared to SaaS. They will usually need to be set up again into a different device if you want to expand accessibility, which usually requires extra assistance from IT.
Nonetheless, their modes of accessibility have both pros and cons. While SaaS may sound more convenient, it can be rendered inaccessible if internet connection fails. This makes it less reliable and stable compared to self-hosted solutions.
When it comes to security, self-hosted applications are less likely to be vulnerable compared to SaaS. This all boils down to the server in which you access their tools, features, and your data.
The internet is a free space that lets you acquire any information with a few clicks. This makes SaaS more vulnerable to leaks. In a survey conducted by Ping Identity, more than 27% of the respondents’ organization experienced a breach in their SaaS application’s provider’s cloud.
Unlike on-premise solutions, SaaS spares you from the responsibility of overseeing and managing the software itself. You are simply a user. Any issues encountered with it can be passed on to the creator themselves. This means you have no control over the SaaS’ security. Likewise, this means your data does not only go between you and the system, but it also goes into a third-party server as well, making it more vulnerable.
By keeping your data within your local servers and away from the internet makes it a lot harder for unwanted entities to get them. This is where on-premise solutions have their edge. Your data remains safely between you and the system itself without the mediation of a third-party server. Nonetheless, it doesn’t make it immune to attacks either. Data can still be leaked from the inside therefore the burden of security rests entirely on your shoulders.
4. Installation & Support:
SaaS deployment is often easy, quick, and painless. This is mainly because you don’t have to download or install them into your system. You simply need your web browser, an account, and then you will log into their web portal to start working.
Often, its hosting service provider offers support in cases of issues encountered during your experience. Likewise, patches and upgrades are part of the package upon availing their services.
Usually, the installation and integration of self-hosted solutions into your system fall entirely in your hands. Once paying for their license fee, you have to set it up to access its tools and services.
Don’t worry, though, because they also provide customer service but not to the same extent as SaaS. Usually, you no longer receive upgrades for your solution once you pay for its licensing fee. You may even find yourself buying a newer version of their product in the long run. Nonetheless, this can also mean you’re spared from unaccounted disruptions due to system maintenance.
Control is yet another aspect that you need to consider when choosing between the two for your business. For all the accessibility and convenience of SaaS, they often lack customization.
While you have the capacity for front-end customization, its cloud provider has the control for its back end.
Some SaaS platforms, like SalesForce, offer a semblance of customization but this is restricted and limited. Nonetheless, you can use a third-party solution to help you sync your ecommerce with other SaaS applications like SalesForce.
Self-hosted platforms, on the other hand, are usually open source. Since you have technically bought its license, you have complete control on both the back- and front-end of the site upon its integration within your server. This lets you manage how the software adapts to your business’ needs and growth.
The right one for you:
The dilemma of choosing between on-premise vs cloud is highly dependent on your business’ needs and capabilities. The factors above are just some of the few that you need to consider. Nonetheless, these are essential in helping you make better decisions.
For small and medium businesses with limited capacity and resources, the most practical and economical choice would be to use SaaS platforms over self-hosted. It saves you from spending too much on IT services, meeting hardware requirements, system maintenance, and many others.
All other technical aspects fall entirely on the shoulder of the service provider. Likewise, its ease of accessibility is especially convenient and gives you that flexibility in terms of when and where you can work.
But if you find that SaaS platforms can be too limiting when it comes to control, customization and integrations, especially for your eCommerce, you can consider using a solution like eShopSync to keep them in sync.