Evaluating on-premise vs. cloud-based intranets

By Darian Mavandad
March 16, 2022
5 min read
Choosing cloud-based vs. on premise intranets are an important decision to make

Our software and services at IC are unique, and not in small part because we offer both private cloud-based and on-premise intranet solutions. When shopping around for affordable and modern intranets, it’s important to consider a few key things: cost, management, security and future-proofing. 

At IC, we like to streamline your internal communications, and part of that means helping you chose the best tools for your needs. Read on for a few key comparisons between on-premise and cloud-based intranets!

Cloud-based intranet: less capital upfront

When you opt for a cloud-based intranet, you are essentially subscribing to your intranet. The same way that Spotify, Netflix, and Slack are SaaS; so is a cloud-based intranet. Just like with these other companies, you are paying per-user/per-month; but at IC, we charge annually. This means that as your company grows throughout your contract period, your costs won’t increase until the next contract renewal.

When presenting the costs for your intranet to upper management, it may be easier to get budget approval for the cloud-based solution, depending on how your accounts payable is set-up. With an on-prem solution, you are paying a larger sum upfront, in the form of a one-time payment. It may be more difficult to get budget approval in some cases.

On-premise intranet: cheaper in the long run

While initial budget approval may be easier for a cloud-based solution—in the long run, an on-premise intranet will be less costly; it breaks even pretty quickly. When analyzing costs, it’s best to keep in mind that an intranet is a core enterprise tool and will likely be with your company for a while, possibly 10 to 15+ years—so that is important to keep in mind when selecting what type of intranet would fit best. At IC, we find the breakeven pricing to be under three years, and many of our customers have been with us for longer than this.

With a cloud-based intranet, your costs may grow upon renewal (especially if your company is growing), and that may be more difficult to budget for over an extended period.

Cloud-based intranet: no IT team needed

A cloud-based intranet removes the burden from IT.

We love our IT guys, and we’re sure you love your IT guys too. But sometimes your IT team may not have the bandwidth to perform regular maintenance and upkeep of your intranet.

With a cloud-based solution, we’ve got you covered. Not only do we have a world class CX team, who will help you every step of the way and constantly work to improve the way you use your intranet, but we also manage your servers, patches, and upgrades for you. Think of it like renting an apartment vs. owning one—you can rest assured that whatever problem arises, your landlord will fix it for you and can enjoy a bit more peace of mind. With an on-premise intranet, you will need to factor in the labor costs of upkeep when doing a cost-benefit analysis.

On-premise intranet: be in control of updates

With an on-premise solution, you’ll have to do all the upkeep and patching and fixes yourself—but, you will also have the ability to oversee the testing and rollout of updates when your team is ready. You can time the updates in way to ensure that your employees are aware, ready, and trained on what changes they can expect. With a cloud-based solution, updates will happen automatically, so you could wake up to new features that may need some getting used to on your intranet (if you go with IC, our excellent support team will lessen the worry of that!).

Cloud-based intranet: the future is here

On the flipside, with a cloud-based solution, you can rest assured that you are on the cutting edge of intranet technology. Updates will automatically be rolled out, and you will always have immediate access to the latest and greatest features your intranet provider has to offer! Going with a cloud-based intranet is a great way to ensure that you are ready for the future and will not have a clunky, outdated intranet with neglected updates.

On-premise intranet: choose how to secure your info

Be in control of security with an on-premise intranet

When storing information on a cloud-based intranet, you are storing information on an external server. How secure the servers are—and thus, how secure your information is—is completely in the control of your intranet providers servers (at IC, we take security very seriously, read more here).

With an on-premise solution, you store everything on your own servers, allowing you to control what security measures you implement. However, for a remote or hybrid workplace, this means that workers at home will need to use a VPN—which can have its own slew of challenges (and an added cost).  

So, which should I chose?

All the above factors are paramount when deciding between an on-premise or cloud-based solution, and while reading this post will hopefully help you better understand how to compare and contrast the two, we can’t tell you here exactly which of our solutions are best; it depends entirely on your business, your team, and your needs.

But what we can do is help you with making the choice during our free demo! Our expert team can better understand your needs and offer a bespoke solution to the age old (well, decades old) question of “should I go with an on-premise or a cloud-based intranet?”.

For a more general run down of how your internal comms are performing, learn internal comms best practices by exploring the rest of our site!

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.