Client-Server or Web-Based Visitor Management System ~ Which is better for your organization?

Choosing the right Visitor Management System (VMS) for your organization and specific workflow can be difficult and time consuming. Not all Visitor Management Systems are created equal and it is essential to designate time to figure out which type of systems will benefit your targeted needs. One of the very first questions you should ask yourself is what type of VMS should I choose - Client-Server or a Cloud / Web-Based System?

A client-server Visitor Management System runs on the client side and connects to a remote server for information. Vice versa, a VMS that runs entirely on a web browser is web-based. There are three major factors to consider when deciding which type of system is best for your organization. They are: Performance, Security and Price.

With client-server software being stored on your own local network - software is readily accessible which creates a quick response and no risk of downtime or slowness due to the Internet. Some organizations find it beneficial to buy a web-based VMS because they always have the most recent version. New features, updates and patches are just automatically updated in the application. However, with a client-server system upgrades, user seat software and database migrations happen when you choose, not on the ASP’s schedule. Web-based solutions offer a simplified implementation due to it being cloud-based. However, when using a web-based solution it is typically more difficult to customize the application to your organization’s needs, which will in turn reduce the efficiency of the operator and process.

Depending on your specific needs web-based could be a better option for emergency response due to information being in the cloud. Evacuation reports are readily available without having to push a button like you would for a client-server system. But, with client-server software a visitor’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is secure on your server and is not transmitted over the internet. Web-based software gives more opportunity for malicious users to tamper with data on the client side and at the network level. So if data security is a requirement, chances are you will want to explore the client-server option.

Web-based solutions are initially more affordable than a client-server solution. You can typically sample the software with a free trial and pay on a monthly or annual basis. With the freedom of no commitment, you are able to test the solution for a low price, but payments for a web-based system continue indefinitely over time and the total cost is usually higher than a client-server solution. The initial cost of the client-server software tends to be higher because you are buying the software upfront. But the annual costs usually only consist of an annual software support plan or license renewal which keep the recurring costs to a minimum.

Your Visitor Management System decision will depend on your budgetary constraints and your comfort level with the platform you select. If your organization’s capital expenditure budget is small, but your operational budget has more flexibility, perhaps web-based might be a good fit. However, if speed, data ownership, data security and 100% reliability are key, a Client/Server model is a better fit for your Visitor Management System.