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Server-based vs. Cloud-based vs. SaaS Computer Services

When it comes to hosting your Electronic Medical Records, Practice Management, and/or Billing software solutions, you essentially have three options:

  • Server-based
  • Cloud-based
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

While all three options basically “do” the same thing, there are some very important differences between them. Here’s a basic breakdown of each service to help you decide which one is right for your practice.

Server-based Services Cloud-based Services – Typically Web Based SaaS – Typically
Agent Based
Located on-site Located off-site Located off-site
Hardware-based Internet-based Agent-based (remote access through cloud clients)
Large technical requirements (capacity to run Operating System, hold all data, provide data back-up, secure network, etc.) Smaller technical requirements (“instant” connectivity) Smaller technical requirements (need Internet connectivity)
Lengthy set-up for “go-live” No set-up; “instant” connectivity Minimal set-up for “go-live”
Maintenance upgrades (network, operating system, equipment) performed by an IT technician on-site Maintenance upgrades performed automatically by hosting agent off-site Maintenance upgrades performed automatically by hosting agent off-site
Must purchase software licenses for every user Licensing built into monthly costs Licensing built into monthly costs
Must replace/upgrade equipment every 5 years Upgrades made automatically by hosting site Upgrades made automatically by hosting site
Full compatibility with hardware, software, and operating systems Compatibility based on site access requirements (typically browser related) Compatibility based on connection agent
Buy outright ($$$$$) Subscription / pay-per-use ($) Subscription / pay-per-use ($)

IT experts with your selected solution can provide more in-depth information on each of the three services and how they’ll integrate into your specific practice.

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