Hosted software, cloud computing, SaaS. They get so much press you’d think that no one installs software on their private network anymore.
The reality, of course, is that behind-the-firewall software is a much, much larger portion of the market than SaaS — maybe 1000 times larger. It’s just not growing as fast.
ThoughtFarmer, as a web 2.0 wiki social software solution, is contrarian. Unlike most solutions in this space, we install behind the firewall. Why? Four reasons:
Speed. Applications on your network travel at full throttle. They’re not affected by internet congestion. And because they’re dedicated to you, they’re not affected by what the vendor’s other customers are doing.
Stability. When the software is on your servers, you don’t have to upgrade if you don’t want to. And there are never any surprise changes.
Security. Do you trust some 23-year-old in Palo Alto with your data? Me neither. I mean, he can have my email address and Flickr photos, but not my trade secrets. Behind the firewall is the safest place for your intellectual capital to live.
Single Sign-On. Software on your private network can integrate with your Windows log on. You get a secure, personalized view without ever entering a password.
(Hmm… they all start with an S.)
The main disadvantage? Software behind the firewall is usually more expensive. It takes more manpower to maintain the servers and to install and upgrade the application. But for most companies with more than a few dozen employees, the peace of mind is worth it.