On-premise vs. the cloud for document management

Olga Zakharova Senior Product Manager
Last Updated

cloud document management

Documentation requirements for energy companies are getting stricter and more complicated every year. But how do you manage to keep track of everything? Your options for enterprise document management solutions are to either keep things on-premise in file cabinets or servers or store documents in the cloud. Want to know which one is the best choice for your company? Let’s compare them head-to-head to see which one emerges as the winner in our industry best-practice showdown. 

Staying Secure and Private

It’s never a bad idea to keep physical copies locked up, but there’s no way you can have that security while also making sure that people elsewhere can access the docs when they need them. Many on-premise electronic document management systems are password protected. A good cloud document management solution also password-protects sensitive files and enables access control for secure document sharing so documents aren’t accidentally viewed, deleted, or changed without approval. In addition to recording each individual’s virtual trail or “digital footprint” of all changes and activity on the document. Storing on the cloud also provides less upkeep with no hardware required and peace of mind for business owners in case of natural disasters (i.e. compromised office equipment affecting sensitive documents). 



Keeping up with documentation via printouts, binders, and saved or emailed scans and other attachments is expensive and tedious. It’s a full-time job (or jobs) to keep track of it all! And when it’s time to gather everything for audit time, well, we wouldn’t wish that on our worst enemy. No more lonely nights at the copier. A cloud-based digital document management software allows for tagging, searching, and easy sorting documents; and also complies with industry standards and regulations for retaining a full audit trail of activities.

Winner: Cloud by a landslide.

Data Collecting and Reporting

There’s no way hard copy paperwork or even on-premise software can win this round. Certain roles in the energy industry are spending an entire workday just searching for the right information and compiling it into reports. This does not make the process easy and error-free.

If you have lots of people out in the field, the flexibility of the cloud is crucial — you need to be able to make sure that field employees’ docs are the same as those in the office, and that knowledge from the field gets distributed back to office quickly (and that it’s updated in real-time). Physically bringing paperwork to the office guarantees delays in time, redundant work, and employee friction with damaged or misplaced documents. 

Winner: for remote or field workers, go with the cloud.

Keeping Field Teams Happy

How can we make life easier for field teams? Well, there’s another subtle advantage in cloud document management solutions: offline editing options should certainly be available in a good document management software solution. It should also have robust backup capabilities. There’s nothing worse than losing work and data due to a spotty connection. 

Winner: Cloud.