Comparing Self-Hosted vs Cloud-Based Task Management Systems

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Project management tools like SweetProcess are essential for keeping track of tasks in an efficient way. But what should you pick between cloud and self-hosted systems? 

The answer to that question lies in the requirements of your company/organization. 

Before we get into the differences between the two, let’s familiarize ourselves with the definition of both systems: 

Cloud-Based Task Management System

Cloud-based task management systems allow you to manage and organize projects online. It is a software as a service (SaaS) that’s hosted on remote servers of the software provider. As a result, you don’t have total control of the hosting infrastructure. 

Cloud-based systems are provided by a third party, and they allow you to access the data from anywhere in the world. Since you do not have to set up the hosting yourself, such tools are excellent for small teams, especially startups that want to keep their costs at a minimum. 

Features of Cloud-Based Task Management Tools

Cloud-based systems have the following benefits:

  • Accessibility: You can have quick access to cloud-based tools from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. As a result, it is ideal for remote teams.
  • Data Security: While you may think that self-hosted systems are the most secure, this isn’t always the case. Unless you have a very secure infrastructure at play, third-party cloud-based options are always going to be safer.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: You will be paying a monthly subscription (in most cases) for cloud-based systems, which can be cost-effective for some businesses that can’t have their own hosting. 
  • Scalability: Cloud-based options provide the ultimate scalability. They are suitable for a small team of only a few members or organizations with hundreds or even thousands of employees. 
  • Collaboration: You can have real-time team collaboration, and all members of your organization, from new hires to CEOs, can have their access (when granted) to the system. The tools allow you to share information, assign tasks, and track progress in real time. 

Self-Hosted Task Management System

You can have more control over your data and customization of a task management tool by hosting it yourself. Self-hosted task management software can be built with the help of a developer, or you can get your hands on open-source tools available on the market that allow you to host them yourselves. 

Self-hosting doesn’t mean that you have to host the tool on your own drives in an expensive infrastructure. You can get help from third-party hosting services.

Services that offer web hosting for WooCommerce and WordPress may also offer options to host software. 

Features of Self-Hosted Task Management Tools

Self-hosted systems also have their own benefits, such as:

  • Data Security: When you are dealing with data that requires the most amount of security, cloud-based hosting may not be the best option. Self-hosted systems will let you have the most control over your data, and when you have a strong security protocol in play, the fate of your organization is going to rest on your head instead of a third-party SaaS provider. 
  • Customization: Self-hosting allows you to create your own software, and making your own tool means that you have all the control over how the system is going to be. If your organization requires a unique tool that’s not really available in the market, you can make your own and host it yourself. Moreover, there are open-source tools that you can build upon at a lower cost.
  • Flexibility: You can control which software your task management tool can integrate with by building your system in any way you want. This is often not possible with cloud-based systems.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: It’s going to cost a lot to set up a self-hosted tool. However, it’s going to be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for larger organizations with many members. 

Self-Hosted vs Cloud-Based Task Management Systems

Cloud-Based ToolSelf-Hosted Tool
PricingComes with a monthly subscription planOne-time cost when you have your own infrastructure
StorageThere is a storage limit specific to your planUnlimited storage based on your hosting provider or infrastructure
ScalabilityEasily scalable for small growing businessesScalable for big corporations but not the best for smaller companies
SecurityVery secure, but your data is in the hands of a third partyThe security of the system depends on your IT department
AccessibilityEasily accessible through web browsers or applications from anywhere in the worldThe accessibility of the system depends on how you build it and requires the help of developers  
Ease of UseVery easy to use, especially with the top-of-the-market systemsCustomization allows you to make the system even easier to use than cloud-hosted options
CustomizationA limited amount of customization is availableYou can customize as much as you like by making your own software or building onto open-source systems
Suitable ForAny company without a strict privacy policyLarge corporations and companies with a strict privacy policy

The table above gives you a brief idea of the primary differences between cloud-based and self-hosted tools. However, to make the best comparison, you will have to look at the weaknesses of both systems. 

With cloud-based tools, the biggest weaknesses are:

  • Less customization
  • More cost in the long run
  • Limited storage and compatibility

As a result, such tools are mostly suitable for small- and medium-sized businesses that can’t spend too much on building an infrastructure and require the scalability of cloud-based systems. 

On the other hand, self-hosted systems have the following disadvantages: 

  • While it’s supposed to be cheaper in the long run, there are many hidden costs related to IT staff, servers, and maintenance
  • The setup process of the system can take a long time
  • Manual upgrades require more time and effort
  • You will need a large investment initially to set up the system
  • Without a strong IT sector, your data can be vulnerable

With so many points speaking out against self-hosted systems, what’s the point of choosing them over cloud-based options? 

Well, they have their place in the market. Large corporations that need a lot of storage can benefit from self-hosting as it is going to be cheaper in the long run. 

Companies with strict data policies can’t use third-party options. That’s why self-hosted tools are their best option.

Case Studies

Microsoft Research’s David Molnar talked about the benefits of choosing one over the other when it comes to cloud hosting vs self hosting in the paper called Self Hosting vs. Cloud Hosting: Accounting for the security impact of hosting in the cloud.

In that study, he pointed out the potential security threats that can exist in cloud hosting provided by a third party. However, cloud hosting does come with security measures that can be expensive to implement in a self-hosting environment with a lot of upfront costs. 

Final Note

Cloud hosting is the way to go for most businesses, and only specific cases, such as large corporations and highly secure companies, require self-hosted tools. 

Each tool has its advantages and drawbacks, as mentioned. In the end, it’s going to be your choice on which route to go.

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