On-Premise Knowledge Base: Features, Pros and Cons

In the fast-paced world of data and information management, organizations constantly seek efficient ways to store, organize, and access their critical knowledge. One increasingly popular solution is the on-premise knowledge base. 

But what exactly is an on-premise knowledge base, and how does it differ from other knowledge management approaches?

An on-premise knowledge base is a centralized repository of information hosted and maintained within an organization's own IT infrastructure rather than in the cloud. This means the data and systems powering the knowledge base reside on the company's own servers and network, under their direct control.

This blog will look deep into on-premise knowledge bases, exploring their features, benefits, advantages (pros), and disadvantages (cons).  By the end, you'll be well-equipped to decide if an on-premise knowledge base fits your team.

What is an On-Premise Knowledge Base?

On-Premise Knowledge Base

An on-premise knowledge base is a type of the broader knowledge base system. It is a collection of information that a company stores and manages on its own computers and servers rather than storing it on someone else's computers (in the "cloud").

Imagine you have a big bookshelf in your office with all your important documents, manuals, and other information. That's kind of like an on-premise knowledge base - it's a place where you keep all your company's important knowledge and data, and you control and maintain that information yourself on your own computers.

Pros & Cons of On-Premise Knowledge Bases

Pros & Cons of On-Premise Knowledge Bases

Before you decide to proceed with getting an On-Premise Knowledge Base, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Premise Knowledge Base

Control

With an on-premise knowledge base, your company has complete control over how the system is set up, configured, and managed. Much like real-time collaboration software, you get to make all the decisions about things like user permissions, data organization, security protocols, and system integrations. This level of control allows you to tailor the knowledge base to fit your company's unique processes and requirements perfectly.

Security

When your knowledge base is hosted on your own private servers within your organization's network, it's generally more secure than storing sensitive data with a third-party cloud provider. 

You don't have to worry as much about external cyber threats like hacking attempts or data breaches, since the information never leaves your internal systems. This can be especially important for companies that handle highly confidential or regulated data.

Customization

On-premise knowledge management solutions can be extensively customized to your company's specific needs. Whether it's modifying the user interface, automating certain workflows, or integrating the knowledge base with your other business systems, an on-premise approach provides much more flexibility than off-the-shelf cloud tools. This allows you to create a knowledge base that is truly optimized for your organization.

Data Ownership

Hosting your knowledge base on your own servers means your company fully owns the data and content stored within it. You don't have to worry about a third-party cloud provider having any control or ownership over your critical business information. This can provide greater peace of mind, especially for sensitive data you may not want to leave your internal network.

Compliance

For organizations operating in highly regulated industries, an on-premise knowledge base can help them meet stringent compliance requirements around data storage, access, and security. Since they have direct control over the infrastructure and processes, it's typically simpler to demonstrate that they are adhering to all necessary data privacy and protection standards.

Cons of Premise Knowledge Base

Cost

Maintaining an on-premise knowledge base can be more expensive upfront than a cloud-based solution. In addition to the initial investment in hardware, software licenses, and infrastructure, you also have to account for the ongoing costs of powering and cooling the servers and employing a dedicated IT team to manage and maintain the system. 

These upfront and recurring expenses can add up quickly, making an on-premise approach less cost-effective, especially for smaller organizations with limited IT budgets.

Maintenance

When you host your knowledge base on your own servers, your company is solely responsible for all the technical maintenance and system updates. This includes tasks like installing software patches, applying security fixes, performing hardware upgrades, and troubleshooting any issues that arise. 

Managing these maintenance tasks requires dedicated IT personnel and can be time-consuming, pulling resources away from other important business priorities. The service provider typically handles most of these technical responsibilities with a cloud-based solution.

Scalability

As your company grows and your knowledge base needs to accommodate more users, data, and functionality, scaling up an on-premise system can become increasingly challenging and costly. 

Adding more server capacity, upgrading software licenses, and expanding your IT infrastructure to handle the increased workload requires significant planning and investment. In contrast, cloud-based knowledge management solutions are generally more flexible and can scale up resources more easily to match your evolving business requirements.

Limited Access

Unlike a help desk with an on-premise knowledge base, users can only access the system when they are physically present in your office or connected to your company's internal network. This can be less convenient and flexible than cloud-based knowledge bases, which allow authorized users to access information from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Remote and mobile employees may find it more difficult to contribute to and retrieve knowledge when they are away from the central office location.

Disaster Recovery

If your on-premise servers experience a hardware failure, natural disaster, or other catastrophic event, quickly recovering and restoring your knowledge base data can be a complex and time-consuming process. You are responsible for maintaining robust backup systems and disaster recovery plans, which require additional IT resources and planning. 

Cloud-based knowledge management providers typically offer more comprehensive and automated backup and recovery capabilities, making it easier to quickly restore access to critical business information in an emergency.

On-Premises Knowledge Base Use Case

An on-premise knowledge base is a type of the broader knowledge base system. It is a collection of information that a company stores and manages on its own computers and servers rather than storing it on someone else's computers (in the "cloud").  Imagine you have a big bookshelf in your office with all your important documents, manuals, and other information. That's kind of like an on-premise knowledge base - it's a place where you keep all your company's important knowledge and data, and you control and maintain that information yourself on your own computers.  Pros & Cons of On-Premise Knowledge Bases  Before you decide to proceed with getting an On-Premise Knowledge Base, here are some pros and cons to consider.  Pros of Premise Knowledge Base  Control  With an on-premise knowledge base, your company has complete control over how the system is set up, configured, and managed. Much like real-time collaboration software, you get to make all the decisions about things like user permissions, data organization, security protocols, and system integrations. This level of control allows you to tailor the knowledge base to fit your company's unique processes and requirements perfectly.  Security  When your knowledge base is hosted on your own private servers within your organization's network, it's generally more secure than storing sensitive data with a third-party cloud provider.   You don't have to worry as much about external cyber threats like hacking attempts or data breaches, since the information never leaves your internal systems. This can be especially important for companies that handle highly confidential or regulated data.  Customization  On-premise knowledge management solutions can be extensively customized to your company's specific needs. Whether it's modifying the user interface, automating certain workflows, or integrating the knowledge base with your other business systems, an on-premise approach provides much more flexibility than off-the-shelf cloud tools. This allows you to create a knowledge base that is truly optimized for your organization.  Data Ownership  Hosting your knowledge base on your own servers means your company fully owns the data and content stored within it. You don't have to worry about a third-party cloud provider having any control or ownership over your critical business information. This can provide greater peace of mind, especially for sensitive data you may not want to leave your internal network.  Compliance  For organizations operating in highly regulated industries, an on-premise knowledge base can help them meet stringent compliance requirements around data storage, access, and security. Since they have direct control over the infrastructure and processes, it's typically simpler to demonstrate that they are adhering to all necessary data privacy and protection standards.  Cons of Premise Knowledge Base  Cost  Maintaining an on-premise knowledge base can be more expensive upfront than a cloud-based solution. In addition to the initial investment in hardware, software licenses, and infrastructure, you also have to account for the ongoing costs of powering and cooling the servers and employing a dedicated IT team to manage and maintain the system.   These upfront and recurring expenses can add up quickly, making an on-premise approach less cost-effective, especially for smaller organizations with limited IT budgets.  Maintenance  When you host your knowledge base on your own servers, your company is solely responsible for all the technical maintenance and system updates. This includes tasks like installing software patches, applying security fixes, performing hardware upgrades, and troubleshooting any issues that arise.   Managing these maintenance tasks requires dedicated IT personnel and can be time-consuming, pulling resources away from other important business priorities. The service provider typically handles most of these technical responsibilities with a cloud-based solution.  Scalability  As your company grows and your knowledge base needs to accommodate more users, data, and functionality, scaling up an on-premise system can become increasingly challenging and costly.   Adding more server capacity, upgrading software licenses, and expanding your IT infrastructure to handle the increased workload requires significant planning and investment. In contrast, cloud-based knowledge management solutions are generally more flexible and can scale up resources more easily to match your evolving business requirements.  Limited Access  Unlike a help desk with an on-premise knowledge base, users can only access the system when they are physically present in your office or connected to your company's internal network. This can be less convenient and flexible than cloud-based knowledge bases, which allow authorized users to access information from anywhere with an internet connection.   Remote and mobile employees may find it more difficult to contribute to and retrieve knowledge when they are away from the central office location.  Disaster Recovery  If your on-premise servers experience a hardware failure, natural disaster, or other catastrophic event, quickly recovering and restoring your knowledge base data can be a complex and time-consuming process. You are responsible for maintaining robust backup systems and disaster recovery plans, which require additional IT resources and planning.   Cloud-based knowledge management providers typically offer more comprehensive and automated backup and recovery capabilities, making it easier to quickly restore access to critical business information in an emergency.  On-Premises Knowledge Base Use Case

Here are some common use cases for companies that choose to implement an on-premises knowledge base:

  • Highly Regulated Industries: Companies operating in heavily regulated sectors like finance, AI in healthcare, or government often prefer on-premises knowledge bases. This allows them to maintain complete control and oversight over sensitive data to ensure compliance with industry regulations.

  • Sensitive/Confidential Information: Organizations that handle highly confidential or proprietary information, such as trade secrets, intellectual property, or customer/patient data, may want to keep their knowledge base on-premises to mitigate the risks of data leaks or breaches.

  • Strict Security Requirements: Enterprises with stringent cybersecurity protocols and a low tolerance for external threats often deploy on-premises knowledge bases. This gives them more robust access controls, audit trails, and the ability to customize security measures.

  • Integrations with Legacy Systems: Companies with extensive investments in on-premises legacy IT infrastructure and applications may find integrating an on-premises knowledge base easier than a cloud-based solution. This preserves their existing technology stack.

  • Remote/Offline Work Environments: Organizations with employees or contractors working in remote or offline locations, such as oil rigs, military bases, or construction sites, may rely on an on-premises knowledge base to ensure reliable access to information without internet connectivity.

Private Hosting Vs. On-Premise Server

Private hosting is like renting a dedicated apartment just for your company, while an on-premise server is like owning and managing your own house. With private hosting, a hosting provider owns and maintains the server infrastructure, but it's reserved only for your organization's use. 

You have more control over the server setup than a shared public cloud but less responsibility than managing everything yourself. The hosting provider handles the day-to-day maintenance, and you pay a recurring subscription fee.

On the other hand, an on-premise server is a physical hardware that your company owns and operates within your own offices or data center. You are fully responsible for purchasing, setting up, and maintaining the server and the software running on it. This gives you the most control, but it also requires a larger upfront investment and dedicated IT staff to manage the system. 

On-premise servers are better suited for organizations with mature IT teams and the budget to support the in-house infrastructure.

Cloud Computing  Vs. On-Premise Server

The main difference between an on-premise knowledge base and a cloud-based one is where the information is physically stored. With an on-premise system, the data lives on your company's own servers and computers. With a cloud-based system, the data is stored on computers from another company, like Google or Amazon.

Both on-premise and cloud-based knowledge bases allow you to access and share information across your organization easily. However, with an on-premise system, you have more direct control and management over the data and potentially better security and privacy since the information never leaves your own network. 

On the other hand, cloud systems can sometimes be more convenient and require less IT maintenance on your end.

FAQs

Is an On-Premise Knowledge Base the Same as Knowledge Base Systems?

No, an on-premise knowledge base and a knowledge base system are not the same thing. An on-premise knowledge base refers to a knowledge base that is hosted and maintained on the organization's own servers and IT infrastructure, whereas a knowledge base system is a broader term that can encompass both on-premise and cloud-based knowledge base solutions.

What are the benefits of a knowledge base?

A knowledge base provides a centralized repository of information that can be easily accessed and shared within an organization. It helps improve productivity, consistency, and customer satisfaction by ensuring employees can quickly access accurate, up-to-date information to address queries and efficiently complete tasks.

What are the advantages of knowledge-based education?

The main disadvantages of relying solely on a knowledge base for learning are the potential for information to become outdated or incomplete over time and the lack of personal interaction and hands-on experience, which can be valuable for deeper understanding and problem-solving skills. 

Why is a knowledge-based organization important?

A knowledge-based organization is important because it leverages the collective expertise and insights of its employees to drive innovation, improve decision-making, and enhance the overall competitiveness of the business.

© 2023 Frequentli. All Rights Reserved.

© 2023 Frequentli. All Rights Reserved.

© 2023 Frequentli. All Rights Reserved.