Web-based vs. Desktop Software: Which Is Better?

October 9, 2018

Almost all kinds of businesses use multiple programs and apps for their daily tasks, so do we – managing meetings and tasks on our interactive calendar, analysing data with excel tables or editing photos with editing programs. Probably each of us use both desktop and web applications to perform those tasks. But do you know when to use each type of program? Each type of software has its own advantages and disadvantages.

What’s the Difference?

Let’s start from the very beginning. A desktop application must be installed on the computer before it can run. We have to purchase it in physical format (CD) or download it from the internet. In other words, a desktop application is a computer program which runs on a computer device locally. There is no need for internet connection if you need to work on a desktop application.

Meanwhile, web-based software allows us to access it on demand by using a web browser. This kind of software always requires internet connection. Moreover, you can also use online databases instead of your computer’s hard disc to store the files. All the documents and forms that you create using online software are stored online.

Maximum Accessibility and Minimal System Requirements

As it has been mentioned previously, web-based programs do not require installed software on your computer. They can be accessed on any device with internet connection. As most of us use smartphones nowadays, web-based programs and platforms could also be accessed through your phone. You could save your time, as all the web-based software is delivered straight to your device which has an internet browser.

Moreover, there is no need for the newest hardware, if you use web-based software. This kind of software minimizes the requirements on your system configuration, as all the processes are handled by your service provider. In other words, when you use web-based software you don’t have to worry about anything technical — you can just focus on your work. By using web-based software you can be sure you are using the latest version which is always updated automatically.

Do Security Concerns Exist When Using Web-based Programs?

With the exponential increase in data use, it is becoming more difficult for individuals and organizations to keep all of their information, programs, and systems up and running on in-house computer servers.

Fortunately, web-based software ensures that all your data is stored on software developers’ servers. Additionally, your data is centralized and accessible over the web from any computer at any time and you will never lose it, as all the backups are also stored there. In fact, you can’t leave something personal, confidential or inappropriate on the wrong computer since everything is stored in one place on web. This means, you can get the data you need from anywhere. Safe, secure, and password-protected, of course.

One major issue that many organizations run into when it comes to adopting web-based solutions is security concerns. After all, when files, programs, and other data are kept securely on site, how can you be certain that they are being protected? And the answer is that you can’t know. Firstly, you don’t have physical access to the hardware nor do you control its security. Moreover, it is very important to understand while using web-based programs, your data is sharing space with that of other clients and this may cause issues if a hacker targets another user or company and your data also gets caught. If you use web-based programs personally, there are a few tips to boost your internet safety: always lockdown your computer, keep up with upgrades and, if using web-based programs for business, limit employee access to customer data.

Pay in Advance vs. Pay-as-you-go

One of the key advantages of web-based software is that it can be accessed at an affordable price. Most web-based programs are pay-as-you-go. This means that if you don’t take advantage of what the software has to offer, then at least you won’t have to be dropping money on it.

In the meantime, desktop software requires not only to purchase the initial version of the program but also to update its version by paying extra fees. Furthermore, most of desktop programs sometimes require higher technical capabilities of your device and this could be very challenging sometimes.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Web-based Software

Unfortunately, there is a major disadvantage you should consider before starting to use web-based software or programs. They often rely on constant internet connection. While this issue is only gradually becoming less and less relevant, it must be considered. Nowadays, some web-based solutions already provide offline versions.

If You Need to Customize the Software You Use

Performance is also a very interesting requirement to consider and there is no clear winner between desktop-based and web-based programs. One of important factors to consider is a possibility to customize the software you use according to your needs. Desktop-based programs could be customized more easily than web-based ones. If there is a need for interface change or if you have special needs for unlimited real time interaction with the raw data, desktop-based programs are more suitable.

Personal Taste Is a Matter

While supporters of both platforms would claim a clear advantage of each, this is really a matter of personal taste and it will almost never be possible to make a perfect decision. This is especially true, when realizing that technologies change over time and no one can perfectly predict the future. Therefore, the most important thing is to keep some flexibility. That means, even if you opt for a desktop solution, or vice versa, it should be as easy as possible to switch to the other option later on.