As we delve deeper into the 21st century, technology and the way we do business is evolving and improving daily. So, what does this mean for financial technology or Fintech service providers?
Businesses from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)s to large financial institutions are racing to provide easy, secure and accessible payment solutions for their customers and advances in cloud technology are paving the way forward. Speed to market and scalability are crucial to the success rate of Fintech start-ups, so difficult decisions must be faced when choosing between On-Premises Vs Cloud Solutions. Figuring out which is the most suitable option for your business should be simple once you’re aware of the pros and cons of each option.
Whether you’re a Fintech start-up trying to disrupt the industry or a large financial institution striving to improve your customer service, a few questions need to be addressed in order to choose the best solution for your business. All your critical questions are answered below in this in-depth analysis detailing the differences between Cloud Computing Vs On-Premises solutions.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing, in its simplest form, is the process of using remote servers over the internet to host resources like emails, networking, storage, data and software. Managing, processing and encryption of data is left in the control of a third-party operator and offers the ability to operate real-time data reporting and analytics.
Limitless in terms of computing power and storage capabilities, Cloud Computing allows Fintech start-ups to enter the financial industry and compete on the same playing field as large financial institutions. Generally used on an as-needed basis, companies only pay for what they use and can scale up or down to suit customer and market demands.
Cloud services such as payment gateways, secure online transactions and digital wallets are some of the most common examples of what’s on offer and can be utilized to secure payments for a variety of businesses.
Pros of Cloud Computing
Cloud platform providers charge on a pay as you go, per-user basis, so the cost involved is dramatically reduced compared to establishing an on-premises server. The Capital expenditure (CAPEX) is practically non-existent, as no hardware is needed, nor any physical infrastructure to hold servers. Landline connectivity is included in many plans, bundling your connectivity into one payment. Without the need to hire IT staff to maintain the network, expenditure can be reallocated to building your business and keep down wage costs. Maintenance or upkeep costs are kept to a minimum as there is no physical hardware or infrastructure to maintain.
User experience or UX for short, plays an integral role to the success of a Fintech company. Cloud computing allows for development and quick launching of new products and services, essential for keeping up with customer demands and changes in the market. The ability to scale up or down rapidly according to demand levels, enables businesses to change their product offerings in real time, creating customized solutions to improve customer relationships. Buyers and sellers are brought together on shared applications, with technology implemented to ease transactions between them.
Highly-secure data encryption is essential for any online business and with Cloud Computing, it’s all included in the package. Increased security is obtained through payment tokenization and helps Fintech organizations achieve global compliance with EMV standards. Advantages in regulation and compliance can be found with cloud computing, as the vendor can choose to completely secure or give partial access to the data in question. Data is secured and backed-up at regular intervals, allowing for access to information as and when needed.
Real-time data and analytics
Real-time reporting and analysis of data that provides key metrics at the click of a button is essential for adjusting offers to suit customer demands. Take advantage of predictive analytics to be prepared for any outcome as part of your monthly payment.
Increased efficiency is a major benefit of cloud computing services. Integrated automatic data back-ups and recovery come as standard. Cloud providers maintain software updates, meaning subscribers will always have the latest technology at their fingertips. Flexibility and scalability enable companies to instantly react to changing customers, markets and technology requirements.
Cons of Cloud Computing
Although there are low CAPEX costs involved, companies may end up spending more money over the lifecycle of subscription to the cloud. Costs included in data recovery need to be considered. Also, depending on your allocated budget per month, limits can be placed on the amount of storage availability.
Relinquishing control over the security of your organization’s data can be a big step to take. Though most vendors are rigorous with their security practices and conform to global regulatory standards, it takes a leap of faith to place that information in someone else’s hands. As a widely publicized threat to Fintech Cloud Computing, hacking is at the forefront of security issues. If proper precautions are not taken by vendors, confidential financial data can be at risk, which is why it is imperative to choose a reputable cloud platform provider.
As with any online service, if the internet connection fails on your or the cloud providers side, access to critical data is impossible. Full data recovery can result in a time-consuming process to the system, as you don’t have immediate access to your equipment.
Unlike an on-premises purpose-built system, customization is in the hands of the cloud provider. Depending on the service your organization provides, flexibility in the offers can be limited.
What is On-Premises?
On-premises, by definition, is using your own physical infrastructure to run servers, emails, network and storage facilities on your own premises. This has its advantages and disadvantages, like any other system, but in the Fintech industry it’s slowly fading in significance as more security issues and data-encryption problems are being solved by ever-evolving Fintech cloud services.
Pros of On-Premises
For SMEs, an On-Premises system can be more cost effective. Depending on the service you provide, the need to hold massive amounts of secure data or storage isn’t always a requirement. On-Premises can be an ideal solution for those who only want an initial investment for the system set-up where maintenance costs can be kept to a minimum if scaling your business isn’t your goal.
With an On-Premises system, critical data is kept in-house and no third-party has access to your information. You literally have physical control over your back-up system and there’s no need for an internet connection to access your data. If experienced in maintaining proper security protocols, it can be an ideal solution for SME needs. Highly regulated industries with extra privacy concerns, such as the storing of medical records, can be more hesitant to use cloud facilities, as it’s an essential requirement to be in full control of all their data.
On-Premises is where you can build purpose built, customizable hardware systems that cater exactly to your companies needs. If consumer or market demands change, you have the option to customize your offerings on site and control the solutions.
MD of Signal Peak Ventures, Ron Heinz states:
There will always be a market for on-premises applications and infrastructure.
Cons of On-Premises
Initial investment in hardware and infrastructure can be extensive for On-Premises systems. Not to mention the ongoing costs of maintenance, storage space, power consumption and dedicated IT support. Infrastructure also requires regular, large investment to stay up to date.
Due to its in-house location, On-Premises systems are more susceptible to data loss during disaster situations. If not regularly backed-up, there are no recovery guarantees and the time it takes to recover data can put a serious delay in the day-to-day running of your business.
Although you might think On-Premises would be the safer option for protecting sensitive data, almost all of the massive data breaches we’ve had over the last decade have been from traditional On-Premise IT infrastructures. Whether due to inexperience or insufficient practices in proper security protocols, it stands to reason that critical information is at risk no matter where it is stored.
Comparison of Cloud Computing Vs On-Premises
As you can see, both Cloud Computing and On-Premises IT systems each have their own advantages, along with a range of disadvantages. The real task begins in choosing the option that best suits your organization, while taking into account the products and services that your company offers.
Whether an initial large investment, or smaller regular payments suits your budget, the main fear factor on everyone’s minds is the security of data and how safe is it when held in the Cloud Vs On-Premises. Both options offer highly-secure data encryption and tokenization to protect user and financial data. Both need regular investment, but one option is light years ahead when it comes to the ability for Fintech companies to scale and compete with larger financial institutions, which is the Cloud platform.
But, if you find you can’t choose between a Cloud Computing and On-Premises system, why not have both?
Ultimate solution for Fintech companies is a Hybrid System
Get the best of both worlds by combining options from Cloud and On-Premises systems for the ultimate in security, flexibility and scalability. No matter what size your organization is, the ability to use the internet along with in-house servers can result in an easy to use, secure and scalable system.
Control is in the hands of your organization, allowing you to pick and choose which data to outsource to a third-party vendor and what data to keep On-Premises, offering greater data security.
Employees can use the cloud to access their desktops, files, applications and emails, ensuring the highest level of uptime, using software like Microsoft Exchange. At the same time, data is backed up on your servers so even if the internet fails, information is still accessible.
Renowned for their security and accessibility, hybrid-cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services provide end-to-end protection for critical, financial data and can be the ideal solution for many Fintech companies.
The choice is yours
No matter which route you choose, whether it’s On-Premises, Cloud or a Hybrid Platform, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons for all options. Limiting your business to just one platform can have costly repercussions in the future, so an in-depth investigation is required to ensure the best results for your organization. Continuous introduction of new technology in Cloud Computing facilitates growth in the Fintech industry every day, so remember, when it comes to your business, the sky is the limit.
To learn more about how hybrid or cloud platforms can expediate growth in your business, contact Intellias to speak with our team of experts.