Gather ‘round the digital campfire, association professionals, for a harrowing tale of data loss and devastation. This is the tale…of the on-premise Association Management Software solution!!!
In all seriousness - if you’ve researched software solutions sometime in the past couple of years, no doubt you’ve seen arguments detailing the differences between cloud-based and on-premise systems. If not, to catch you up quickly: with cloud-based software, data is hosted by the vendor and accessed remotely, whereas on-premise data hosting is your responsibility and accessed locally. Most organizations keep their data on servers at their office location in this case.
While there are certainly benefits to both, the risks associated with an on-premise solution make that option seem pretty haunted. Like, curtains fluttering on a windless day haunted. Or your three-year-old son talking to the empty corner of his bedroom haunted.
Your data is imperative to understanding your members and informing business decisions. Without it, you might as well be guessing. This Halloween, these five curses of on-premise software solutions are sure to send shivers down your spine and have you running toward the safety of a cloud-based solution!
Horror movie quote equivalent: “We’ve traced the call, it’s coming from inside the house!” (When a Stranger Calls, 1979)
It could be due to a widespread problem with your Internet Service Provider, or it could be a glitch in your own connection – whatever the issue, most organizations aren’t set up to maintain a seamless connection in the event of an outage. Many cloud-based vendors host their data with multiple carriers to ensure that an outage that occurs with one ISP won’t impact the ability for its customers to access their data.
Horror movie quote equivalent: “If you can hear it, it’s already too late.” (Twister, 1996)
While there is nothing we can do to prevent a natural disaster from striking once it’s set its hypothetical-mind to it, your data will be one less thing to worry about with a cloud-based provider. These providers ensure that data is stored safely in data centers designed specifically to handle all conceivable disasters. For example, WebLink has one in Tulsa where our servers are literally underground to keep them safe from tornadoes. On-premise solutions are cursed to rely on local servers, vulnerable to twisters, earthquakes, flash floods and the like if your organization doesn’t have the infrastructure to withstand these scenarios.
Horror movie quote equivalent: “Your user can't help you now, my little program!” (TRON, 1982)
Now, hopefully you won’t have to deal with pieces of hardware coming to life, abducting you into the digital world and forcing you to participate in a bunch of video games a la TRON. What’s much, much more likely is that wear and tear over time will cause parts to naturally fail – and if your server isn’t prepared with redundancy and rapid part replacements, you will have a difficult time getting back up and running quickly. Just think about how much downtime you would have if a hard drive failed…yikes.
Horror movie quote equivalent: “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” (Jaws, 1975)
Hosting your data on your own server means covering extra electricity and cooling costs, plus purchasing all related supporting equipment. Oh, and - how much are you currently spending on full-time IT staff? That may have to increase as well, depending on how an on-premise solution impacts your server complexity and upkeep.
Horror movie quote equivalent: I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just gonna bash your brains in! (The Shining, 1980)
Let’s talk physical security. What does the perimeter look like around your server? Is it REALLY secure? Enough to effectively guard your members’ information? Unless you have some of the crazy Tulsa infrastructure like we mentioned above, chances are your server isn’t all that protected from external individuals. Go look, and take note of how easy it would be for someone to walk up, stick a flash drive in and steal your data. Pardon me – your members’ data. After all, it's their information that you promised to protect!
There is much, much more to consider when selecting a software solution beyond whether it’s cloud-based; although the rigorous evaluation and selection process may seem a bit overwhelming, it ensures that you will choose the solution that best meets your organization's unique needs. Luckily, the 2018 AMS Selection Guide takes the “overwhelming" factor right out of the process and helps you land on the perfect software solution that is guaranteed to maximize your ROI. Get your free download: