Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Student Information Systems: Pros And Cons

Currently, over 75% of schools are using student information systems (SIS) that are over 10 years old, according to research by LISTedTech and EdTech Magazine. Additionally, reports by the Tambellini Group show that almost 3/4th of higher education institutes are using SIS platforms that are more than 20 years old. 

Though these outdated student management systems may work for some, they lack the advanced features of modern student ERP for college systems. 

Out-of-date education ERP platforms are difficult to integrate with other programs, which are needed by schools for efficient student management. This can result in inaccurate data storage and errors in retaining student information. Older student management systems also lack the high level of security needed in today’s digital world. They often fail to have effective security measures to prevent data loss or breaches. 

Due to this, an increasing number of schools are looking to transition from on-premise to cloud-based education ERP systems. However, there are several concerns and issues that need to be addressed before making the switch to cloud-based student ERP platforms. 

So, before making a decision to switch from on-premise to cloud-based student information systems, you should take a look at their pros and cons. 

Main Differences Between On-Premise And Cloud-Based Student Information Systems

There are several distinct differences between on-premise and cloud-based student information systems. The best way to decide which is the most feasible solution for your school or college depends on your specific requirements. 

Here are the key differences between on-premise and cloud-based student management systems.

  • Costs And Expenses

Schools that have on-premise servers for student ERP need to take care of the cost of server hardware and software. The total cost also includes the expense of physical space for storing servers as well as the cost of electricity required to run on-premise systems. 

Institutes that choose cloud-based student management systems do not have to worry about significant costs. They are only charged for the cost of the resources they use. In such situations, the school does not have to pay maintenance charges or upkeep costs. Additionally, the total cost of using cloud-based student ERP systems is adjusted according to consumption. 

  • Operations And Functions

The use of on-premise student information system resources is often limited. So, the extent of student ERP functions depends on the provisions of the in-house servers. The school is responsible for operating the education ERP system and all server resources. 

On the other hand, cloud-based student management systems offer a variety of options, such as private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud space. The extent and function of use depend entirely on client requirements. This allows schools to deploy any number of features that they need directly from the public cloud hosting domain. 

  • Control And Access

On-premise student ERP systems are completely under the control of the host. This allows schools to retain or discard data as per requirements. Often, schools that are worried about data security choose to use on-premise servers instead of putting data on public cloud hosting services. 

However, the concept of data ownership on public cloud servers is still a topic of debate between cloud-hosting companies and clients. In cases of unexpected downtime, clients are unable to access data from cloud-based servers, which is not the case with on-premise servers. 

  • Storage And Security

With time, on-premise servers need to be constantly updated to ensure optimal data storage. This eventually increases the expense of maintaining on-site student ERP systems at a steady rate. As schools store sensitive data on servers, there is a threat of server breaches with on-premise data storage.

In comparison, cloud-based student information systems have a higher risk of breach and data loss. 


Pros And Cons Of On-Premise Student Management Systems

Now that you know the main differences between the two, let’s take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of using on-premise student ERP systems. 

Pros Of On-Premise Student ERP Systems

An on-premise student ERP system is stored and run completely on private on-site servers. This means that the school owns all the hardware and IT infrastructure required to operate the student information systems. Here are the top advantages and benefits of using on-premise student information systems.

  1. Can Run Without Internet Connectivity

On-premise student ERP systems let you access student data without an active internet connection. These systems run on an internal network that is accessible at any time from within, regardless of internet connectivity. 

  1. Offers Extensive Customization

As the schools own all on-site student information systems and software, it is easier to customize the platform as per specific needs. This is extremely helpful if certain features you require are not available on cloud-based student ERP platforms. 

  1. Better Data Security

One of the biggest advantages of using on-premise servers for running student management systems is the level of security they provide. As on-site servers run on an internal network, there is less risk of data breaches and other security concerns. Users can easily install additional security features to ensure optimal data safety. 

Cons Of On-Premise Student ERP Systems

An on-premise student information system also has certain disadvantages. These are some of the common cons and drawbacks that are seen when using on-site servers to host student ERP systems.

  1. Inefficient Scalability 

An on-premise student management system is more difficult to scale than a cloud-based system. Apart from this, on-site servers often get weighed down with old programs and obsolete systems that are no longer required. 

  1. Difficulties In Deployment

Another major disadvantage of using on-premise student ERP systems is the longer deployment time. Before installing a new module or feature on an on-site system, you will need to perform test runs and train multiple users on how to use it. This is often very time-consuming and inefficient.

  1. Higher Upfront Costs

The cost of buying new software and installing it on on-site servers is also quite expensive. This increases the upfront cost of using on-premise education ERP systems, which are more expensive than cloud-based platforms. 


Pros And Cons Of Cloud-Based Student Information Systems

Similar to on-premise platforms, cloud-based student ERP systems also have several distinct advantages and drawbacks.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of cloud-based student information systems.

Pros Of Cloud-Based Student Information Systems

A cloud-based student management system has several advantages that make it a better choice than on-site server systems. Here are the top pros of using a cloud-based student ERP platform.

  1. More Affordable In The Long Run

Overall, cloud-based SIS is more affordable than on-premise platforms. These do not charge a large upfront licensing fee but only a nominal monthly subscription cost. The student ERP system packages also come with additional features, such as support and maintenance, at no extra cost to the client. 

  1. Easier To Deploy Systems

A quicker and easier installation process is another major advantage of using cloud-based student management systems. This feature also makes it easier to install and use additional modules or features without wasting much time. 

  1. Efficient To Manage And Maintain

Clients of cloud-based student information systems do not have to worry about maintenance. The companies that host cloud-based servers for student ERP systems usually provide maintenance services, the charges for which are included in the subscription cost.

Cons of Student Information Systems

A cloud-based SIS also has certain drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of using cloud-based student management systems.

  1. Costs More In The Long Term

Cloud-based systems can often be more expensive in the long run as compared to on-site student ERP systems. The overall subscription cost can often be higher than the licensing fee paid for on-site servers. 

  1. Risk Of Security Breach

A cloud-based student management system platform has certain security issues as compared to on-premise servers. Despite increasingly safe data security protocols for public cloud-based servers, the risk of data breaches still remains high. 

  1. Fewer Options For Customization

A cloud-based student management system often offers services that are not completely customizable. Every client normally gets a generic application, which often does not have many options to customize according to specific needs. 


In essence, on-premise and cloud-based student information systems have distinct pros and cons. However, a cloud-based student ERP platform is usually more suited for schools and colleges. Long-term affordability, ease of deployment, and efficient management make cloud-based student management systems a better choice as compared to on-premise options.

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