On-prem DAM vs. SaaS DAM: Which is Right for Your Organization?
Digital asset management
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On-prem DAM vs. SaaS DAM: Which is Right for Your Organization?

On-prem DAM vs. SaaS DAM: Which is Right for Your Organization?
May 24, 2023

Digital asset management (DAM) has become a crucial component for many organizations that require efficient digital asset management and distribution, such as images, videos, and documents. Two primary options available for DAM solutions are on-premises DAM and software as a service (SaaS) DAM. On-premises DAM is a system installed and managed within the organization's IT infrastructure. At the same time, SaaS DAM is hosted and managed by a third-party provider and accessed via the Internet.

On-premises DAM has been around longer than SaaS DAM, and it is still a popular option for many organizations. One of the significant advantages of on-premises DAM is the control it gives to the organization. Since the system is located on-premises, the organization has complete control over it and can customize it to meet its specific needs. Additionally, on-premises DAM provides higher security than SaaS DAM since it is managed internally.

On the other hand, SaaS DAM has emerged as a popular alternative to on-premises DAM in recent years. One of the significant advantages of SaaS DAM is the convenience it offers. Since it is hosted and managed by a third-party provider, the organization doesn't have to worry about hardware or software maintenance. Additionally, SaaS DAM offers more flexibility and scalability than on-premises DAM since the organization can quickly increase or decrease its usage as required.

What is Cloud-based and AI Powered DAM?

Cloud-based DAM refers to digital asset management solutions provided from the cloud rather than on-premise software. Cloud DAM offers accessibility from anywhere, efficient scaling, and automatic updates. Cloud DAM stores all your digital assets in one place, including images, videos, documents, audio files, and more. You can upload, organize, share, and distribute these assets across websites, mobile apps, emails, social media, and print materials.

With cloud DAM, no servers are maintained or software to install and configure. You sign up for access and start managing your assets instantly from any device. Scaling storage and computing resources is simple, limited only by subscription costs. Cloud DAM providers handle security, backups, disaster recovery, and infrastructure management so you can focus on content optimization.

Updates to cloud DAM systems happen automatically, integrating the latest features and security patches without interrupting your workflow. New tools or integrations can be immediately available, implementing customer best practices. Cloud DAM also provides unlimited named users and the flexibility to allow or deny access to assets anytime.

What is On-premise DAM?

On-premise DAM, or in-house digital asset management, refers to software installed and maintained on your organization's local network servers. Unlike cloud DAM solutions, users access the DAM software through an intranet connection rather than a cloud platform. On-premise DAM requires purchasing licenses for installations on specific servers. The software is configured, installed, and administered by your IT team on existing hardware or server equipment. Updates, security, and infrastructure management become your responsibility, impacting IT resources and risk levels.

On-premise DAM stores all digital assets within your network, including images, videos, documents, graphics, audio files, and more. Assets can be uploaded, organized, shared, and distributed to internal teams and external stakeholders through intranet websites, collaboration tools, email marketing software, and digital distribution channels.

Cloud-based vs On-premise DAM: How to Choose the Best?

When selecting a digital asset management (DAM) solution, choosing cloud-based and on-premise software involves evaluating how each model aligns with your unique needs, priorities, resources, and growth strategy. Cloud DAM provides instant access, scalability, and automatic updates through a subscription model, reducing upfront costs and IT overhead. On-premise DAM offers deep customization, control, and integration benefits but requires more significant investment, expertise, and effort to implement and maintain the technology. Some of the factors to be considered in making the decision are as follows-  


A cloud-based digital asset management system scales easily to meet growing content and user demands. New storage and computing resources can be provisioned instantly in the cloud, allowing the DAM to keep up with spikes in uploads, edits, searches, or page views without downtime. It ensures optimal performance and a good user experience.

In contrast, an on-premise DAM requires purchasing and implementing additional servers or other hardware to scale the system. It requires financial investment and IT resources to configure the new equipment and can be complex to integrate with the existing on-premise infrastructure. It also introduces the possibility of system downtime during scaling operations and the risk of over or under-provisioning resources.


While cloud DAMs offer limited customization options based on their platform, on-premise DAM software is highly customizable to an organization’s unique needs. Custom fields, metadata schemas, user permissions, interface layouts, workflows, and branding can be fully tailored on-premise. However, this level of customization also introduces some downsides.

On-premise DAMs require technical resources with specialized knowledge to customize the software. It can be expensive and time-consuming. There is also a risk of customizations complicating the system and creating inflexibility. Upgrades may disrupt custom features and workflows, requiring additional time and costs to port changes. In contrast, cloud DAM providers regularly upgrade their platforms to improve features and maintain compatibility with minimal impact on customers.


Content stored in a cloud DAM is instantly available to any authorized user on any internet-connected device. There are no location or network restrictions. Users can instantly access assets from off-site locations, home offices, during travel, or on personal devices. Collaboration is also seamless across teams and global offices.

In comparison, an on-premise DAM only allows access to content from within the local network. It includes limitations such as being unable to access assets from off-site locations or while traveling. Remote access is possible but requires complex configuration of virtual private networks or other remote access solutions.

Maintenance and Support

With a cloud DAM, the service provider handles all system monitoring, maintenance, hosting, security, backup, disaster recovery, and customer support at no additional cost. No IT resources are required internally to manage the infrastructure or support users. In contrast, an on-premise DAM solution requires an internal IT team to maintain the system hardware, software, networking, and security, provide support, and address any issues. This results in high ongoing costs and the need for specialized technical expertise.

Integration With Existing Systems

Integrating a cloud DAM with other internal systems like identity management, payment gateways, content repositories, and more requires API access and development resources. The cloud provider may offer limited pre-built integrations, but complex, customized integrations typically must be built by the customer or a third-party professional services organization.

In contrast, an on-premise DAM deployed within the local network Environment has immediate access to all systems and infrastructure. The organization's developers can develop tight, customized integrations with minimal latency or additional cost. However, resources must be continuously available internally to develop, test, deploy, and maintain these integrations over time as either system is upgraded.

Cost of Ownership

Cloud DAM services typically charge based on usage via a subscription model, with lower upfront costs and more predictable expenses over time. On-premise software and associated infrastructure require significant capital expenditures, licensing investments, and ongoing operational costs.

Data Security

Data security is a primary concern for organizations managing and storing digital assets. Both cloud and on-premise DAM solutions aim to build robust security, but there are some key differences to consider.

Cloud DAM providers implement security best practices and controls across all customer accounts as their core business. It includes advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication, regular auditing, threat detection, and mitigation.

On-premise DAMs allow for the most substantial security controls, including restricting data access and monitoring on a need-to-know basis within the organization. But this also means enterprises are solely responsible for security, requiring significant investment in expertise and resources. If best practices are not followed rigorously, sensitive data and infrastructure are at a higher risk of threats.

Compliance Requirements

Some regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR mandate strict controls over sensitive data and how it is accessed or shared. It can favor an on-premise DAM solution where granular controls and visibility into data access are easier to implement. On-premise provides the most control to meet stringent compliance needs.

However, cloud DAM providers also aim to comply with all applicable regulations and pass audits. They can take a comprehensive view of requirements across many compliance frameworks. Some compliance objectives, like encryption at rest, may be easier to achieve in the cloud.

It comes down to determining whether on-premise fine-grained control or the provider’s compliance expertise will better help meet organizational obligations given specific regulations applicable. The right choice depends on confidence in an internal team’s compliance knowledge versus reliance on a provider’s extensive experience and procedures.

IT Resources and Expertise

An on-premise DAM solution requires dedicated IT resources to support the solution's installation, configuration, integration, maintenance, hosting, security, and management. It means budgeting for staff, funding training, and updating skills and tools.

In contrast, the vendor manages and maintains a cloud-based DAM, requiring no additional IT resources or expertise. Given available skills and time constraints, the costs to implement and support the solution on-premise versus the subscription fees of the cloud must be compared.

Deployment Time

Deployment Time refers to the time it takes to initially set up and configure the DAM solution to be ready for use. It includes installation, integration with external systems, configuring metadata schemas, user authentication setup, and more.  

On-premise DAM software deployed on local hardware has the potential for a longer, more complex deployment process. Multiple servers may need to be configured, network configurations adapted, databases set up, and the software fully installed and integrated with all relevant systems. Each of these steps introduces possible roadblocks or delays. While internal teams have direct access to deploy the solution, they also shoulder the full responsibility for deployment success or failure.

In contrast, a cloud-based DAM has a deployment process handled by the vendor, typically at little to no cost. They manage to ensure the platform and all components are configured correctly and integrated with any external systems before allowing customer access. Any issues are resolved by the provider, minimizing risks and roadblocks. Deployment times can often be measured in days or weeks versus months for an on-premise solution.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud-based SaaS DAM

Here, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using a cloud-based Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. We'll break down the advantages and disadvantages in simple language, so you can decide whether a cloud-based DAM is right for your business.

Advantages Disadvantages
Scalability: Cloud-based DAM offers scalability, allowing organizations to expand storage and user capacity as needed without significant infrastructure investments. Dependency on Internet: Cloud-based DAM requires a stable internet connection to access and manage assets, which can be limiting in areas with poor connectivity.
Accessibility: Cloud-based DAM provides easy access to assets from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection.
Collaboration: Cloud-based DAM enables efficient collaboration among team members by facilitating file sharing, version control, and real-time updates.
Flexibility: Cloud-based DAM provides flexibility in terms of storage and functionality, allowing organizations to choose the capacity and features that align with their needs.
Disaster recovery: Cloud-based DAM offers reliable backup and disaster recovery mechanisms, ensuring the safety and availability of assets even in case of hardware failures or natural disasters.
Automatic software updates: Cloud-based DAM providers regularly update and maintain the software, ensuring organizations have access to the latest features and security patches.

Advantages and Disadvantages of on-premise DAM

This section will discuss the pros and cons of having a digital asset management system (DAM) located on your company's premises rather than using a cloud-based solution.

Advantages Disadvantages
Control: On-premise DAM provides complete control over the DAM system and data, allowing organizations to customize and manage it according to their specific requirements. High upfront costs: On-premise DAM requires significant upfront investments in hardware, software licenses, and IT infrastructure.
Data security: On-premise DAM allows organizations to keep sensitive data within their own infrastructure, reducing concerns about data privacy and security breaches. Maintenance and support: Organizations are responsible for maintaining and supporting the on-premise DAM system, including software updates, hardware maintenance, and troubleshooting.
Customization: On-premise DAM offers greater flexibility in customizing the system to meet specific business needs and integrate with existing workflows and processes. Limited scalability: Scaling an on-premise DAM system can be challenging and may require additional investments in hardware and infrastructure as the organization grows.
Reduced dependency: On-premise DAM operates within the organization's internal network, reducing reliance on external factors such as internet connectivity for accessing and managing assets. Longer implementation time: Implementing an on-premise DAM system typically takes longer due to hardware and software setup, configuration, and testing.
Compliance requirements: Certain industries or organizations with strict compliance regulations may prefer on-premise DAM to have more control over data governance and compliance. Geographical limitations: On-premise DAM restricts access to assets to the physical location where the infrastructure is set up, limiting remote access and collaboration.

ioMoVo's SaaS AI Powered DAM

ioMoVo's SaaS AI-powered DAM is a cutting-edge Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to revolutionize the way organizations manage their digital assets.

With ioMoVo, organizations can benefit from a cloud-based DAM system that is powered by advanced AI algorithms. The AI capabilities offered by ioMoVo enable automatic asset tagging, intelligent search, and content analysis, making it easier for users to find and utilize their digital assets effectively. This saves valuable time and enhances productivity within the organization.

One of the key advantages of ioMoVo's SaaS DAM is its scalability. Organizations can seamlessly scale their storage and user capacity as their asset libraries and user bases grow, without the need for significant infrastructure investments. This flexibility allows organizations to adapt to their changing needs and ensures that the DAM system can accommodate their expanding digital asset requirements.

Furthermore, ioMoVo's SaaS DAM provides enhanced accessibility. Users can access their digital assets from anywhere, at any time, using any device with an internet connection. This promotes collaboration and empowers remote teams to work efficiently, streamlining workflows and facilitating seamless asset sharing and collaboration.

Security is a top priority for ioMoVo. The SaaS DAM solution incorporates robust security measures to safeguard sensitive data. This includes encryption, access controls, and regular security updates to protect against potential threats. By leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of ioMoVo's secure cloud environment, organizations can trust that their digital assets are well-protected.

In summary, ioMoVo's SaaS AI Powered DAM offers a comprehensive and intelligent solution for managing digital assets. With its advanced AI capabilities, scalability, accessibility, and strong security measures, organizations can optimize their asset management processes and unlock the true potential of their digital asset libraries.


Choosing the right DAM solution for your organization can significantly impact its success. While on-premises and SaaS DAM have benefits and drawbacks, the choice ultimately depends on your organization's unique needs and circumstances. Before making a decision, it is essential to consider factors such as cost, scalability, security, and IT resources. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and ensure that your organization has the best DAM solution to meet its needs. If you are looking for SaaS DAM, sign up for ioMoVo today.

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