Oral Health Group

The Pros and Cons of On-Premise vs Cloud-Based Dental Software Hosting

February 8, 2021
by Sandro Persia, Logic Tech Corp


Each type of dental management software has its pros and cons. There’s no correct answer for what the best solution is, as you should be looking at which one best suits the needs of your office. Below are some comparisons between the two types of dental software to help you identify the main differences:

Set-up cost

On-premises

Pros:  In the long run, on-premises software would cost less, provided that there are no other monthly fees to use the software. In some cases, you can choose whether or not you want to pay a monthly maintenance fee to receive unlimited support or subscribe to additional services.

Cons: There is a large startup cost if the office doesn’t already have an established infrastructure. Purchasing a new server and relevant hardware to run the on-premises software can cost thousands of dollars.

Cloud-based:

Pros:   There is little to no set-up cost, as the software is hosted by the provider, who already has the necessary infrastructure in place. The office will only be paying for the monthly subscription fees to start.

Cons: Subscription fees can build up and be more expensive in the long run. Depending on the packages that are offered, this could add up, especially if the pricing is based on the number of dentists/users at the office.

Implementation

On-premises

Pros:  Since the software is installed on-premises, you have control over the hardware and infrastructure. This also means that you can use any existing hardware that you have, as long as it meets the system requirements.

Cons: Implementation can be complex and could take a lot of time. In most cases, an IT specialist would be required to help set up the infrastructure properly. This is essential for the software to run correctly on the network and integrate different components seamlessly.

Cloud-based

Pros:  Implementation is relatively quick, as the software is already set up and hosted on remote servers. The office just requires computers that meet the required specifications and an internet connection to use the software. In some cases, you won’t even need to install a new program as it can be accessed through your browser.

Cons: Requires careful planning before implementation, especially if the office is migrating from an on-premises system. You should consider who will be doing the implementation, how the data would be transferred from the old system, and when/how your staff will be trained on the new system.

Security

On-premises

Pros: You have complete control over the security of your network and database since the software is installed on-location. Your data will also only be accessible to those who are authorized to do so.

Cons: Your data is only as safe as the safeguards you put up. IT expertise would be required to set up effective safeguards. Additionally, the upkeep of these safeguards is extremely important, such as keeping your systems up-to-date to ensure that there are no weak points in the network for hackers to exploit.

Cloud-based

Pros: Your service provider will keep up with the security of your system, so you won’t have to worry about it. Since the safeguards will always be up-to-date, your database will be safe from hackers.

Cons: Cloud-based software providers have access to multitudes of databases so they are naturally a target for hackers – which means your patient data could be at risk if the provider is hacked. Thoroughly research each provider’s integrity to ensure that they meet the industry standards for patient health information privacy.

Scalability

On-premises

Pros: You control what updates and upgrades are made, such as the version of your software and the hardware you use. This means that you don’t have to update your software if you are unsure of the stability of newer versions and you won’t need to upgrade your hardware to keep up with the updates.

Cons: If you do choose to change your infrastructure and update your software, you need to have a clear plan of action. It takes time to research what should/shouldn’t be upgraded and implemented. Some of your existing hardware could also become obsolete and cannot be repurposed.

Cloud-based

Pros: Since your system is being hosted by a third-party provider, you can adjust your resources on-demand to suit your needs. For example, if your database has exceeded an allotted storage size, you can easily upgrade your cloud storage to a larger capacity without having to buy new hardware.

Cons: Any upgrades made (e.g. storage size, extra functions, etc.) means additional costs. It is important to monitor your usage, or your monthly charges could build up quickly without being noticed.

Customizability

On-premises

Pros: Many on-premises software are modular and have readily available add-ons, such as SMS texting, charting, X-ray bridging, etc. This allows you to pick and choose services that you need to create a truly tailored solution for your office.

Cons: Having more add-ons can affect your software’s stability if it is not installed correctly. This means your staff will have to deal with more glitches in the software, which can lead to valuable time being wasted for troubleshooting.

Cloud-based

Pros: SaaS is usually offered in tiers, which lets you pick the package that best suits your needs. Since what you get is already pre-set, the software is more stable, and you will get timely updates to your services to fix any glitches.

Cons: You have a limited ability to fully customize your software. While you can choose which tier to go with, the solution may not fit your office’s needs exactly i.e. you will be paying for features that your office won’t be using.

Access to Data 

On-premises

Pros: One important aspect to consider is the reliability of the systems. Since patient data is stored on-premises, you will still have access to your database even if the internet connection is down.

Cons: The patient data remains on premises, meaning that it isn’t accessible on-the-go. If you need to make any corrections or adjustments to a patient file, it can only be done at the office.

Cloud-based

Pros: You are able to access your data anywhere, anytime – as long as you have an internet connection. This means that you won’t have to be at the office to make any last-minute appointment changes or to review patient profiles.

Cons: You will be unable to access your patient data or the software if your service provider’s servers are down. There is no guarantee of how long it would take for the service provider to get the server back up and running so the office won’t be able to access their dental management system until then.


About the Author

Sandro Persia is the Sales Director at Logic Tech Corp, a Canadian dental management software company that has been serving the industry for more than three decades. With over 25 years of experience in the dental field, Sandro has worked with over 1000 dental clinics across Canada to streamline their workflow and increase productivity. To contact Sandro and discuss your dental management needs, email sandro@logictechcorp.com.


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