Choosing On-Premise vs Cloud E-Commerce platforms

Natalie Miller
Natalie Miller
October 1 · 7 min read
Choosing On-Premise vs Cloud E-Commerce platforms

Choosing On-Premise vs Cloud E-Commerce platforms

We recently shared a few tips & tricks on how to set up an online store. We thought it smart to share some fundamental information when it comes to wanting to step into the E-Commerce sphere. We greatly appreciate and admire all those wanting to venture into having their very own online shopping site, and therefore want to share our knowledge when it comes to the different platforms that stand at your disposal.

Whether you’re just starting out, or at a stage of needing to take your ‘On-Premise’ site up high into the ‘Cloud’ (or vice versa), the below information will be massively useful to you.

Whilst we may specialize in more advanced tech and helping our clients decide which software tools will best suit them. We thought breaking down some ‘primary-decision making-steps’ seemed like a helpful service to offer too, which is exactly where we find ourselves.

The big decision before setting up an E-Commerce platform is:

Should I go ‘On-Premise’ or should I steer toward the ‘Cloud’?

That depends. It depends on your needs, your vision and quite honestly, your budget.

On Premise

Going ‘On-Premise’ means that you’re a company wanting to create an online store through a central server that will be located in your HQ or rented at a hosting service, and will be the main storage facility for all the associated data. There are some important realities you need to know when you decide to go ‘On-Premise’.

Needs:

- A highly skilled tech team who knows all there is to know about IT and E-Commerce.
- Have a good idea of how you would like your platform to look as you’ll be building it from scratch.
- Decide on which options you want to offer your customers (be those B2B or B2C).
- What other additional requirements your specific platform may need, for your unique company.

The benefits that come with going ‘On-Premise’ are vast, but they’re often linked with rather high costs. We don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of budget, but it’s only fair for us to mention this and it does seem logical. You get full control over the design, full control over your team, full control and responsibility of the data saved and you are completely in charge of your platform and its changes. This kind of control always comes at a cost, that’s all we’re really trying to say.

Popular ‘On-Premise’ shop systems include Magento, WooCommerce, Prestashop, Shopware and many more!

Benefits:

Easily customizable
As the platform is developed and maintained in-house, the owner can modify, remove, add or change any bits they want, whenever they want.

Performance & Control
Having a strong IT team solely dedicated to your platform will come with great advantages. They will be able to implement all your ideas, create a custom platform (not one bought off the shelf which is how some see a ‘Cloud’ platform) and you will have full control over everything.

Security
You have full responsibility for associated data and the sensitive data of your cherished customers, and not be dependent on the ethics/potential breaches of a third-party server (i.e. a ‘Cloud’ platform). This means that you have sole responsibility for data, which may sound daunting but at least gives you peace of mind as it’s all up to you.

While the above may sound grand, we must also take the time to understand the cons that come with going ‘On-Premise’.

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again and then leave it at that - A) Cost! The owner is financially responsible for building an entirely new platform, covering the cost of maintenance, updates and the IT team. B) Storage! Everything is built and hosted on a server, so scalability is quite tricky as in-house servers have capped data storage that could hinder you as your company grows. C) Security/Accessibility! As you’re responsible for all data and that falls on your shoulders, whom you give accessibility to is very important and the server cannot easily be accessed 24/7 remotely, so it comes with a bit more rigidity. D) Scalability & Performance Speed! As everything is in-house, expansion can become quite difficult and the more data you load onto your server, the slower the performance speed will be for those on your online site.

Now that you’ve understood the fundamentals of going ‘On-Premise’, let’s move on to the ‘Cloud’ and share our thoughts on that.

Cloud

Cloud storage is a remote storage ‘facility’, run by a third-party provider, where online business owners can buy storage space and bandwidth, and sometimes data access. Cloud platforms have vast applications in companies handling large volumes of data or wanting the flexibility of being able to scale easily. If you’re looking to take this route, you need to understand what it means. You will essentially be subscribing (and purchasing) a package offered by a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider and you won’t need to worry about server maintenance, storage issues, software glitches, tech problems or backups as the third-party will be responsible for the maintenance of the cloud and its software. These include Shopify, BigCommerce, CommerceTools, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and the list goes on! Of course, there are many amazing platforms at your disposal, it’s just about finding the correct one for you! (stay tuned for an upcoming blog about comparing the benefits of the variety of available shop platforms!). We’d love to be able to tell you the exact one, as we take great pride in choosing the correct platform. We are known to be partners with Shopify, who have amazing features but may not be the exact correct one for your needs – so it’s really up to you.

This option has been around for quite some time, but is only recently gaining traction as companies' storage needs are increasing as the world shifts to being more ‘online’ than ever and as consumers' demands for faster performance speeds are becoming more demanding.

Benefits:

Hassle free
It’s a one-stop shop for all your needs. The third-party provider will offer you options in terms of platform design and features.

Maintenance
This falls on the head of the third-party provider, giving you more time to focus on your business, as opposed to needing to concentrate on tech.

Cost
You won’t need to worry about having a dedicated IT team in-house, build a site from scratch or pay for every little update and change. It’s maybe a once off fee from the provider you choose and then usually a monthly charge for their continued services.

Security
The provider is responsible for all data or for any glitch that could compromise security. This is very important to know as companies have failed/succeeded depending on how they dealt or their involvement with data breaches, so not having this on your shoulders is very beneficial.

Scalability
It’s easy to scale using a ‘Cloud’ platform. The storage space and bandwidth are essentially limitless so no matter how your company and its data/storage needs develop, your third-party provider will be able to adapt and shift as you need them to.

As dreamy as that sounds, of course, there are a few cons that come with every benefit. You may feel like you have less control, as everything is done by the provider you choose. Having complete freedom to design your dream site will be limited by the features & designs that the provider has on offer. Whilst most providers truly do offer very customizable sites, nonetheless, it is still a template that you will be working from.

Conclusion

We can’t say which option is better for you, as it is completely up to you and the needs of your company. We hope that the above has given you more insight into this topic and into your options. It’s a new world we live in but such an exciting one filled with more online opportunities than ever. Now it’s time to seize those, whilst staying on top of things with your tech knowledge and making informed decisions. We hope you now have an answer to ‘On-Premise?’ or ‘Cloud?’! Feel free to get in touch on our website or on hello@especial.digital so that we can help you with all your tech consulting needs.

Natalie Miller
Written by

Natalie Miller

Marketing Manager

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