Cloud or On-Premise: How to Choose the Best Enterprise Help Desk Software

Choosing a ticketing system for your business depends on many factors, such as its cost and access type, your business needs, and regulations for customers’ data handling.

But the matter of system location becomes the trickiest challenge if you deal with a large amount of critical data or operate in a highly-regulated industry. And when it comes to enterprise help desk software, a business owner should carefully evaluate the pros and cons of storing the solution on-premises vs in the cloud. So which one will suit the enterprise-level company the most? Let’s find out together.

How Do On-Premise and Cloud Help Desk Platforms Differ?

A cloud help desk solution hosts your ticketing data and operations in the cloud — a set of third-party-run servers — and is available on a pay-as-you-go basis. You don’t have to worry about the hardware as it’s all covered by the cloud-based help desk provider. The only thing you need to access these servers is the computer and credentials.

On-premise help desk software is deployed on your premises for a one-time fee. Here, you need an in-house server, the hardware that meets software requirements, and a team to set up and maintain the system. Thus, a company using an on-premise solution is the host, the owner, and the maintenance service of the software at the same time.

These solutions have their advantages and drawbacks, and if you’re searching for enterprise help desk software, here’s what you need to know about both to make an informed decision.

Pros and Cons of an On-Premise Help Desk

An on-premise help desk is usually the choice of companies from highly-regulated industries that require keeping data locally. Here’s the list of advantages of having help desk software on-premise:

  • Full control of operations and data processing. With software stored locally, you are in charge of its performance and data. You can run your own updates, prioritize maintenance and emergency backup schedules, choose which modules to shut down or restart, and restrict access to any data.
  • Immediate access to files. Your system is independent of any third parties, which means it operates at your will. You and your team can modify any file, restrict access to chosen information, or prioritize the maintenance of the database that contains critical data.
  • Full control of security and privacy configurations. With on-premise enterprise help desk software, you control the security settings and tailor them according to industry-required security protocols.
  • Compliance with industry requirements. Some highly-regulated industries, like finance and healthcare, require the companies to store some data on-premise. Choosing a self-hosted enterprise help desk software will spare you the legal problems that may often result in reputational and financial damages.

However, it’s not all roses with the self-hosted solutions — they do have a fair share of drawbacks that enterprise owners should be ready to face.

  • Need for general maintenance, update, and security management. Being the user and provider in one means taking care of the system on your own. Usually, it requires hiring an in-house IT crew that will monitor the processes 24/7, fix bugs, and deal with backups, data restoration, and continuous maintenance to ensure the needed availability. This bears the following problem.
  • High cost. With an on-premise enterprise help desk software, you need to hire a full IT team, buy the necessary hardware, pay for installation and configuration, and spend extra on every further update. For an enterprise-level company, it can make a sky-high upfront cost.
  • Risk of a single point of failure issues. Local servers host all the data, which means if there’s an issue with the hardware, your whole system may become unavailable.
  • Poor scalability. In business, the company’s growth entails the increase of data it has to process and store due to structural changes or client influx. As your servers can only contain a certain amount of data, you need to buy another one to increase the system capacity. Of course, its setup and network connection will cost you a lot of money.
  • Patching failures. An IT team can handle a few ongoing cyberattacks targeted at the on-premise servers at the same time simply because their maintenance is predominantly manual. But what if you need to patch hundreds of attacks at once to keep your system safe? That’s where your in-house engineers, employees, and clients will struggle a lot since it takes from 60 to 150 days to deal with a critical vulnerability.

These disadvantages may become a stumbling block to adopting on-premise solutions for enterprise-level companies. While a cloud-based one might be an option, it has its own peculiarities.

Benefits and Shortcomings of a Cloud Help Desk

Cloud help desks are in high demand for their easy-to-tailor architecture, low cost, and effortless maintenance. Why else would it make sense for enterprises to go with a cloud-based ticketing system?

  • Low upfront cost. A cloud-based enterprise help desk software comes with various price plans based on the volume of tickets, the number of agents, feature options, data storage, etc. Your enterprise can choose a suitable plan and pay monthly or annually for the service without buying hardware or hiring an IT team.
  • High availability. Since the data in the cloud is copied and distributed throughout several cloud servers, your system will be available even if something is wrong with one of them. It will ensure the continuity and availability of the processes and won’t cause your employees any bottlenecks.
  • Easily scalable solutions. With pay-as-you-go enterprise help desk software, you can easily increase your operations, the number of tickets, agents, and data storage as you grow. This flexibility gives you an opportunity to adapt your system to the new demands quickly.
  • Fast deployment. You can purchase the number of licenses you need and set up the help desk in minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Nearly all ticketing systems come with a dedicated setup manager, developer resources, guides, and API documentation for you to connect your databases, integrate your systems with other solutions, and have your help desk up and running.
  • Third-party maintenance. The hosting provider takes care of the maintenance, which, again, frees you from hiring a full-time tech team.
  • Customization options. Cloud solutions are highly customizable in terms of design and features. Your ticketing system may have your brand’s design and third-party solutions for analytics, management, and workflow automation.
  • 24/7 security operation centers. The providers of cloud-hosted enterprise help desk software have a round-the-clock team that monitors the entire infrastructure for possible security threats.
  • Automatic backups. The data hosted in the cloud is automatically replicated across various locations, so in case of a security disaster, the system will be able to do an emergency recovery with no to minimal losses.

These perks come at some expenses that might be critical for your business. Here are a few.

  • High dependency on the provider. If the cloud provider runs any maintenance work, you won’t be able to access the whole system, and if it gets attacked by the hackers, you’ll only have to wait until they resolve the problem. In other words, you won’t be able to interfere even if you will have people to take care of the issue.
  • Privacy concerns. The solution provider often reserves the right to have access to your files, particularly in the cases defined by the law regarding tax audits or government-related issues. In this case, you can’t guarantee 100% data confidentiality to your users.
  • Misconfiguration issues. Mistakes during configuration often weaken the security, which may result in data breaches and severe cyberattacks.

Security is an important factor to consider when choosing the enterprise help desk software, as any disaster will affect the data being used throughout the enterprise. So what do you need to remember regarding security for enterprises in the context of the help desk?

Enterprise Help Desk Software: Security Aspect

The larger the organization, the more stringent the security regulations. No wonder, as it stores huge volumes of data and has way more processes that will cause harm at scale in case of unauthorized intervention. Here’s a security checklist to keep in mind when choosing the enterprise help desk software:

  • Always choose/configure your ticketing system based on industry requirements
  • Ensure role-based access and set up multi-factor verification
  • When going for cloud, double-check that your provider’s solution complies with regulations related to your industry (HIPAA, FISMA, etc.)
  • Enforce password security policies
  • Audit your help desk system regularly to identify weak links
  • Create an emergency backup and recovery plan
  • Always monitor for the requirements updates to reconfigure your solution or switch to a new provider before they’re in effect

The safety of your enterprise data should be the top priority when choosing the help desk option. It will safeguard your business from legal troubles, ensure the continuity of processes, and enhance your client’s trust in your business.

Enterprise Help Desk Software Overview

Unlike customer service software for small and medium businesses, comprehensive enterprise software is quite a rare case. Choosing an unreliable vendor can be costly and risky in security terms, so it requires a deep investigation. To save you time, we’ve made a short list of reputable and highly-secure help desk solutions that can scale the needs of enterprise-level organizations.


Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk software that helps companies provide personalized customer service at scale. Arrange your work into contextual workspaces, speed up processes with skill-based ticket routing, and increase accountability with user roles and permissions. Besides, you get such advanced features as

  • Integrated ticketing across social media
  • Multilingual support and content
  • Business hours
  • Prebuilt dashboards
  • Customer satisfaction surveys

The price starts at $99/user/month. A free trial is available.

Regarding customer experience services, Zendesk overwhelms other enterprise help desk software. The customer service solution provides Professional Services with a few goals in mind:

  • implement Zendesk customized to business needs;
  • reconfigure and fine-tune the available functionality;
  • hold on-demand training;
  • transfer customer data from another help desk.

As for pricing, Zendesk Professional Services’ price begins at $8K for setting up one channel. So, consider the Help Desk Migration services if you just require data migration. The price for migration starts at $39 based on the number of records you want to migrate. What’s more, the automated migration service is experienced in consolidating Zendesk channels and merging any other help desk instances.

Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud lets you engage customers across multiple channels with AI-powered solutions. Workflow automation, built-in tools for asset & order management, and in-depth service analytics streamline performance and keep things transparent. Plus, you can let your customers cope with their issues on their own by setting up an extensive help center.

The Enterprise edition of Salesforce Service Cloud delivers

  • Case management
  • Service Console Apps
  • Telefony integration (CTI)
  • Web Service API

It costs $150/user/month if billed annually and allows a 30-day free trial.

HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot Service Hub unites all your help desk data and channels into one cloud-based system and enables outstanding customer service with automations and self-service options. The Enterprise plan provides the following tools:

  • Ticket routing
  • Customer portal and feedback surveys
  • Hierarchal teams and user permissions
  • AI-powered conversations
  • Sandboxes

This plan is available for no less than 10 users and costs $1,200/month for this team size. You can request a free demo to explore the Enterprise edition closer.


ServiceNow delivers cloud-based/on-premise solutions for enterprise service management driving together multiple business functions like ITSM, HR, finances, security, and more. It automates routine tasks and improves operational efficiency with its versatile purposes. Other key features include

  • Instance-based implementation
  • Automated routing
  • Client portal
  • Asset management
  • Cost tracking
  • Real-time analytics

ServiceNow provides users with a custom quote upon request. The vendor uses a subscription license based on IT users which starts at $100/user/month.


Intercom is a cloud-based customer communications platform that helps enterprise companies create a personalized dialogue between their customer support team and customers. It provides automated answers and over 100 pre-built apps and integrations to power up your tech stack. Besides, you can take advantage of

  • A/B testing
  • @mentions
  • Issue escalation
  • Rules-based workflow
  • Serf-service tools
  • Customer surveys & feedback

To get the price quote, contact Intercom’s sales team. A free demo is available on each plan.

What Enterprise Help Desk Software to Opt for?

When choosing between an on-premise and cloud ticketing system, you should carefully assess the risks and benefits of each against your business needs and industry requirements. So you can opt for cloud-based solutions that can be integrated with the local server. It will allow you to store the required data on-premises but keep the operational side in the cloud. In this way, you’ll comply with the requirements, keep the low cost, and ensure your ticketing system's smooth, flexible workflow.

Since not all enterprise help desk software can provide you with the flexibility your company needs, you may think about switching to one that suits your business better. Help Desk Migration is ready to help you transfer the data to your chosen help desk fast and secure and get your enterprise ready for new heights!

Help Desk Migration

Automated service to migrate your data between help desk platforms without programming skills — just follow simple Migration Wizard.

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