These are the advantages of local on-premise shipping software over a cloud solution
The days when software was still sold on CD-Rom and had to be installed on the laptop or desktop PC have long been numbered. In the age of digitalisation and high-speed internet, practically any software solution can be downloaded directly from the internet. Cloud technology even makes it possible for many programmes to be run entirely on the provider’s cloud servers without having to be installed on the user’s end device.
Working with simple and straightforward cloud programmes or standard apps such as Google Docs may be one thing. But another is to run a complex shipping system for mapping individual logistics processes via the cloud. This is certainly possible nowadays. But in today’s blog article, we would like to explore the question of whether it makes sense.
In doing so, we look at the respective advantages and disadvantages of local on-premise shipping software and a corresponding cloud solution. In this way, we would like to help you decide on the best possible solution for your company.
Local on-premise shipping software – Explanation of terms and general information
“On premise” comes from the English language and means something like “on site”. This means that the shipping software is installed locally or in the local network on the customer’s servers. This means that the shipping software is installed locally or in the local network on the customer’s servers, either on the customer’s own premises or in a (rented) data centre.
Usually, with on-premise shipping software, the customer purchases the licences for the software once and can work with it indefinitely after installation. This allows for a high degree of control and accountability, especially since operation and access to all data can take place without a permanent internet connection. In addition, the server and infrastructure also need to be maintained.
However, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages below.
The advantages of local on-premise shipping software
Those who rely on an on-premise solution for their shipping software are, above all, independent of an internet provider. This means that there is no loss of time due to latency in the event of unstable or slow internet connections. This means that many package labels can be processed in a shorter time.
Another important advantage is the degree of control just mentioned. If you run the shipping software locally on your own servers, you retain maximum control over your own data as well as over customer data (keyword: data protection).
In addition, on-premise shipping software is much more flexible and adaptable. Individual interface and programme adaptations are usually not possible at all or only to a very limited extent with cloud solutions.
This means that on-premise dispatch software can simplify several work processes. For example, the local printers can also be controlled directly in printer language (e.g. DPL). This speeds up the exchange of data to the printer. By the way, only on-premise mailing systems can be connected to automatic printers or print applicators. These can automatically print the label and apply it directly to the parcel (for example, with the manufacturer Logopak), which represents a significant increase in efficiency and a reduction in workload.
Speaking of workload reduction: the integration of on-premise shipping software into other locally installed / operated systems (in the system operator’s local network) is also much easier. While with cloud solutions only the server can be queried, on-premise shipping software also allows callbacks or feedback directly into the customer’s locally operated subsystems (ERP / LVS / Fibu).
Last but not least, companies can achieve a good deal more independence from the service provider through on-premise shipping software. For example, by carrying out appropriate training and setting up in-house first-level support. In this way, problem solving can also take place “on premise”, i.e. on-site at the company’s own premises.
The disadvantages of on-premise shipping software
If you have on-premise shipping software in-house, you have to keep several things in mind. First and foremost, availability and security must be constantly monitored (up-to-date operating system, firewall, proxy, antivirus, etc.), which also includes regular backups.
In addition, depending on the state of the company, the (initial) acquisition costs may be higher. If, for example, the necessary hardware or VM resources are not yet available to install the corresponding on-premise shipping software on it, this must logically first be purchased and set up, for which, in addition to the costs, corresponding in-house manpower is also required.
Ultimately, however, this self-responsible administration is always a factor when something is operated by the company itself.
Cloud solution – definition and general information
The term “cloud” also comes from the English language and stands for “cloud”. Originally, it was meant to describe the fact that the user can see, as it were through a cloud, on which specific computer his or her data is stored. Today, however, the analogy of the cloud is often used in the context of uploading to a server that is not physically tangible.
Regardless of the meaning of the term, in a cloud solution the software is operated on a server that can be accessed via the internet. A classic offer or sales model is SaaS (= Software as a Service), since software operated on cloud servers is usually marketed in this way, provided the provider takes care of everything from the servers to the administration and backups.
Typical for such a SaaS cloud solution is that it is usually paid strictly according to use (= pay per use). In the case of shipping software, for example, billing could be based on the number of labels, which is why it can quickly become expensive. But one thing after the other!
With a cloud solution, it is important to read the data protection agreement carefully and also pay attention to the server locations. After all, companies that have something to send always work with sensitive data (complete address of the customer, sometimes with telephone number, email address, gender, age and possibly even package contents if these can be traced via item data). It is even more of a challenge to guarantee customers compliance with all current laws and regulations when an external service provider (in this case the provider of the cloud solution) is actually responsible for this.
The advantages of a cloud solution
If the SaaS model is used (= Software as a Service), then the service provider takes care of everything from A to Z. This means: server maintenance, security, availability and support in case of problems. This can take a lot of pressure off your own IT (if you have it at all).
What’s more, you don’t need your own hardware (i.e. servers).
The disadvantages of a cloud solution
First and foremost, it must be emphasised that customers who rely on a cloud solution find themselves in the middle of a large vortex of dependencies. Those who use the cloud solution are first of all dependent on the internet line functioning smoothly and, in addition, on a fallback or downtime line being available. Even a limited speed can cause problems. Not to mention longer downtimes, of course. By the way, this does not only have to affect the customer’s internet. The availability of the cloud server, or its capacity utilisation, also plays an immensely important role. If the cloud server of the provider is too busy at peak times, this can lead to slower label processing and even connection interruptions, which you as a customer simply cannot influence.
In addition, a customer who relies on the cloud solution has practically no possibility to secure the systems. In most cases, an additional software or hardware solution is needed for secure communication.
With external servers (i.e. the cloud), the connection to the server must be encrypted just like the data on the server. However, the cloud server must also be secured against external attacks, which is ultimately a matter for the service provider.
Whether a service provider can be fully trusted here is ultimately the big question that needs to be clarified individually. Judging by the fact that recently, in the course of an attack on Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud software, even the cloud solutions of a global player obviously offered scope for attack, the risk of becoming a victim of a hacker attack should definitely not be dismissed.
Local on-premise shipping software vs. cloud solution – the bottom line
In this article, we have shown you the respective advantages and disadvantages associated with local on-premise shipping software and the cloud solution.
Finally, we have once again summarised the most important points for you in the following table
|On-premise shipping software|
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