Making the choice between self-hosted and cloud solution

Self-Hosted Electronic Document Management System

Self-Hosted EDMS is installed on your company’s servers.  Self-Hosted EDMS comes with higher up-front deployment cost depending on the size of the organization and number of users. Normally companies who choose to install self-hosted EDMS have the technical resources and manpower to maintain their own servers.

The deployment and operational costs vary as some vendors charge a one-time installation fee regardless of the number of users while some vendors charge a license fee on a per user basis. Some self-hosted DMS comes with a yearly fee for upgrades.


  1. The biggest advantage offered by Self-Hosted Document Management Systems is their overall control over the data and the system itself. With such a system, you would be independent without relying on someone else to provide security and maintenance to the system. All the data is hosted on your premise and this arrangement helps to fulfil any stringent data security policy that is enforced by the company or by the industry.
  2. Self-Hosted EDMS generally work offline that means you are not dependent on the internet and your system is less vulnerable to online attacks. However, the intranet within your organization has to be working. A VPN setup can be deployed if employees need to access the data on-the-go.
  3. One-time deployment cost could be higher than the alternative of a cloud subscription model, however, if there is already existing IT capability and manpower to handle the additional EDMS system, the operational cost will be low and it becomes more cost-effective in the long term.


  1. As you are in total control over the system, you are also responsible for its maintenance. You might need the IT department with specialized personnel to keep the software running on all the required systems.
  2. The initial deployment could be very expensive especially for small size businesses and the yearly upgrade for such systems could be costly too. With a high upfront investment, it may deter the company from switching to other vendors or services that can better serve the company.  
  3. You are also responsible to create your own backups and to respond to emergency server breakdowns. 

Cloud-Based Subscription Model Electronic Document Management System

Cloud-Based Document Management Systems refer to SaaS (Software as a Service) based platform where the maintenance of the system rests solely on the provider. Users only have to pay a recurring subscription to the provider in order to use the service. Cloud-Based SaaS DMS has been gaining popularity in recent years.


  1. The biggest advantage of Cloud-Based DMS is the short lead time and low cost during the initial setup. This particular trait makes such systems an ideal choice for small businesses. Due to the small initial investment it also gives users the chance to switch to other systems that can better meet their needs when the opportunity arises.
  2. Peace Of Mind. You don’t need a specialized IT team to deploy or maintain the EDMS as it is all handled by the SaaS provider. Depending on the product chosen, a reputable SaaS Document Management System can attain close to virtually zero-downtime with a good system of backup servers in place.
  3. Pay only for what you use. Most service providers have multiple tiers of subscriptions to provide for the different needs of the customers. You can start with a lower-tier plan and upgrade as your company grows.
  4. Portability and mobility are some advantages too as you can use these systems anywhere you want without the need to log into the company VPN. Most vendors will also have intuitive mobile apps to access the document repository on the go.


  1. You need an internet connection all the time to access files and run the online system.
  2. Cloud-Based DMS offer scalability but storage expansion could be expensive based on your organization’s size and the number of users accessing those files.
  3. You will need clearance from your Data Security Officer to ensure that the Saas service meets the data security requirements of the company.