Video conferencing plays a hugely important part in businesses and industries of all kinds.
Aside from the increase in remote working as a whole, it’s being employed by educational institutions for distance learning purposes, while the healthcare industry uses it to offer advice and show techniques during medical emergencies. Elsewhere, it’s been used for video conference interviews, allowing potential candidates a chance to get to grips with the technology they’ll later use in their job.
But choosing between cloud-based and on-premise video conferencing presents businesses with something of a Sophie’s choice. Both of them can be highly advantageous, but how do you know which model is right for you? The technologies aren’t always a fit for every business, so understanding the pros and cons of each before making that all-important purchase is crucial.
Here, we’ll present the advantages and disadvantages of both on-the-cloud and on-premise video conferencing to help you reach a decision when it’s time to update your video conferencing infrastructure.
On-the-cloud video conferencing
What are the pros of on-the-cloud video conferencing?
Video conferencing on the cloud is an example of software-as-a-service (SaaS), a fast-growing sector of the market that uses a third-party service provider for its infrastructure. As a result, on-the-cloud video conferencing reduces the complexity that surrounds the life cycle of planning, sizing, deployment and ongoing management that would otherwise be the responsibility of an IT team. Any solutions are left to dedicated third-party video conferencing experts.
The potential for scalability with cloud-based video conferencing is limitless. Unlike an on-premise infrastructure which would require monitoring through expansion and then further servers and equipment that can take months to set up, cloud-based infrastructures allow organisations to scale up or down when needed. There’s no need to buy additional hardware; simply phoning the service provider to upgrade your subscription will suffice.
Affordable subscription models
The accessibility and affordability of cloud-based video conferencing make it highly attractive to small businesses. Without a large upfront cost or the need to increase headcount, there’s a whole host of things that can be done to connect teams from the get-go.
Additionally, such infrastructures can help to reduce expenditure elsewhere. Take, for instance, the older audio conferencing and web/data conferencing services that will be replaced. Cloud infrastructures eliminate the need for these older services, which your company may subscribe to separately, since on-the-cloud services provide video, audio, data, images and content capabilities. This results in only a single platform to learn, manage and use.
What are the cons of on-the-cloud video conferencing?
Lack of reliability
Consider the browser plug-ins used by laptops that employ cloud-based conferencing. They’re used for many other things such as web searches, TV and film streaming, listening to music and all sorts of other apps. If a virus from a random email or application affects the laptop used, the cloud technology is affected too – temporarily putting an end to conferencing while you deal with the virus.
The audio and video quality of your video conferencing on the cloud depends on your internet service provider’s efficacy. If your ISP isn’t up to a particular standard, then expect the performance of video calls to suffer as a result.
When does on-the-cloud make the most sense?
On-the-cloud video conferencing would suit any business that needs to communicate across remote teams quickly, easily and at a low cost. Most cloud providers offer a monthly or yearly contract, as well as freemium options that give businesses a chance to test the technology without having to pay for it.
The scalability of on-cloud conferencing also makes it suited to small businesses where things are less predictable. If such businesses are going through periods of growth, the model allows for fast scaling up with little expertise. Conversely, if the business doesn’t like a certain service, it can be easily switched off with little effect on the organisation as a whole.
On-the-premise video conferencing
What are the pros of on-the-premise video conferencing?
With on-premise video conferencing, everything is in your control. With no need to pass anything onto third parties, it provides you with unencumbered data security. With cloud infrastructures, third party management could lead to unauthorised people having access to your most private data. For risk-averse organisations like governments and financial institutions, the promise of stronger security the on-premise model affords is an undoubted advantage.
Increased power and capacity
Cloud-based models have a limited number of people who can participate in a call. Not so with on-premise servers, which are much more powerful and allow for more simultaneous users at any one time. For businesses who are used to giving webinars or events with a potentially limitless number of participants, cloud-based models restrict your audience far more than on-premise conferencing.
What are the cons of on-the-premise video conferencing?
The on-premise model requires a larger upfront purchase, which necessitates more capital expenditure. In addition to these costs, on-premise implementations can take longer to install on servers and on each employee’s laptop or computer.
Greater maintenance requirements
The responsibility of maintaining an on-premise system falls on the business. That means you’ll have to keep a watch over server hardware and software, data backups, storage and disaster recovery, which can pose problems for small companies that have restricted budgets and technical resources.
When does on-the-premise make the most sense?
Any large business that is conscious of security issues and the data they both hold and transmit would be well-suited to an on-premise infrastructure. Indeed, risk-averse organisations like governments, the military and large financial institutions are large proponents of the model, with the necessary budgets and manpower to maintain and manage such systems.
Because they can be sophisticated in size and scope, on-premise video conferencing takes a level of knowledge and expertise that is not always in the skill sets of other businesses. Any organisation that installs such conferencing tools expecting its current IT to have the time and know-how to keep it running smoothly should look elsewhere for conferencing solutions.
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