Woman's hand plugging a wire into a white cloud.

If you’re just getting started, or are in the process of finding digital signage for your business, one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is whether you want a cloud-based digital signage software or an on-premise digital signage software. But first, let’s define each:

  • Cloud-based digital signage software delivers content to your display via over-the-air Wi-Fi or ethernet from an off-premise server hosted by your software provider.
  • On-premise digital signage software delivers content to your display via over-the-air or ethernet from internal servers that are hosted and maintained by your company.

While both solutions will ultimately provide your business with digital signage, a cloud-based solution tends to be more efficient for businesses in 2015. But why? Here are 5 reasons to use a cloud-based digital signage software:

1.) Easy to get started

Just about anyone can get started with cloud-based digital signage. The barrier to entry is low even for the largest digital signage networks, and you can get started with a solution in no time at all. Cloud-based digital signage eliminates the need for a server, which lessens the amount of time and money required to get started since you do not have to buy any new server hardware.

2.) Lower upfront costs

Cloud-based digital signage is generally priced as either a monthly or annual subscription (i.e. renting the software), while on-premise digital signage is a one-time upfront purchase (i.e. purchasing the software). Combined with the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining a server (below), on-premise solutions require a large investment to get started.

3.) No servers required

With on-premise digital signage, you’ll need to purchase, setup, and maintain a server for running your digital signage network. Servers are expensive, require full-time IT staff for maintenance and support, and require special facilities (cooling, security). Additionally, you’ll need to keep in-mind the following:

  • Servers, like other IT equipment, can break
  • Servers will eventually become obsolete, and will need to be replaced.
  • You’ll need to accurately forecast the lifetime of your server and software

4.) Accessible from anywhere

Cloud-based digital signage is accessible from any computer (as long as you’re connected to the internet). With on-premise digital signage, generally you can only edit content while you’re in the office. However, there are ways to manually set up a server to be connected from external locations. Another advantage of cloud-based digital signage is mobile control. Good cloud providers offer native mobile apps for controlling your content, which aren’t available with on-premise software.

5.) Automatic software/feature updates

Cloud-based digital signage generally offers free and automatic software updates, while on-premise digital signage requires you to pay for additional support and install new features and updates manually. Yes, control over when you update your software can be a good thing, but if you trust your digital signage software provider, it’s always beneficial to have the latest and best version of your software automatically installed.

While there are many benefits to using cloud-based digital signage, some businesses still prefer on-premise digital signage due to security and control reasons. Industry leading providers, like Enplug, will offer both solutions, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each when making your decision!

Want to learn more about getting started with a digital signage software for your business? Get a free demo!