This blog was originally published on February 26, 2018 and updated April 24, 2019.
Researching remote support products can lead you down many paths, but it’s important to keep your footing and consider how the needs of your business–and your clients’ needs–factor into the functionality of the tool(s) you’re considering.
One fork in the road you might encounter is the choice between a self-hosted or cloud-based remote support solution. You should carefully consider your options here as there are pros and cons to both self-hosted and cloud based remote support software.
Your crossroad will only look slightly different if you already have a self-hosted remote support system in place. In that case, you should consider whether your current solution is still worth the time and money to maintain.
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So, where does this lead? Let’s examine the pros and cons of both self hosted and cloud based.
1. Setup & Implementation
On-prem support tools frequently require more time and money up front to implement. You might have to purchase hardware to build your own server structure or buy a domain name. In that case, you’ll need to ensure that the ISP allows for configuration of your own self hosted remote support software as some don’t.
The cloud-based remote support counterparts typically come preconfigured for easier setup, ready for action right out of the box. Typically, they also include an easy to remember URL or subdomain, so you won’t have to worry about ISP server allowances, purchasing a static IP address, or experiencing NAT loopback issues.
Self-hosted remote support software will require you to manually secure ports, set up firewalls, establish SSL certificates, and maintain security yourself.
Conversely, with a cloud-based tool, securing your data (and maintaining its security) is done in partnership with the vendor who's there to help with these efforts. The vendor will usually have wildcard SSL certificates in place that will secure your instance for you, so there’s no need to maintain firewalls and traffic for a server in the cloud.
Pro-Tip: look for remote support software that offers AES encryption as well as SSL certificates.
*If the industry you support requires stringent security compliance, then on-prem is the option for you. But for most businesses, cloud-based tools are a viable option. And while there’s still plenty of debate about the security of cloud environments, the question you should ask yourself is whether or not you want to shoulder the responsibility of a security breach if something goes wrong with your self-hosted system.
3. Upkeep & Upgrades
When considering self-hosted options, hardware gets old and sometimes breaks; manual upkeep ties up your resources; access to support and upgrading fees add up; downtime can poke holes in your revenue stream.
But with cloud-based options, updates and bug fixes are done automatically, and typically don’t have hidden fees. You’ll always be using the most up-to-date version of the product.
Other factors are at play here, too. Customization, resource training, overall reliability–these are all things you should weigh before you make a purchase. Once you see what tilts the scales, the decision will be much easier.
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