Why Are Enterprises Moving to Cloud-based CMS?

Chloe Spilotro

August 2021

Companies are increasingly moving to cloud-based content management systems for a myriad of reasons. Whether it be to save on costs, gain more flexibility or even for simplicity’s sake, enterprises have begun seeing that cloud softwares offer greater solutions compared to traditional on-premise systems. 

In this blog post, we analyze why a cloud based CMS is the best option for enterprise use and what these platforms make them so attractive for enterprises of all sizes.

What is a Cloud based CMS?

Cloud technologies power the modern internet from AI to content delivery, the cloud is everywhere. According to the IDC, spending on cloud IT infrastructure increased by 47.8% in 2020, exceeding non-cloud IT infrastructure spending for the first time.

Beyond financial backing, the cloud provides many advantages such as ease of use and security benefits. For this reasons, CMS vendors are hosting on the cloud tocover their structure needs and run the platform as a Software as a Service (SaaS). Consequently, a cloud based CMS can be referred to as a Content as a Service. 

When this type of CMS is utilized by an enterprise, it can store data, assets, and content on the cloud at its most basic level. On a cloud platform, content gets consumed by several different API endpoints that connect each piece of content with several different channels and end-users.

Features of a Cloud Hosted CMS 

Let's see the features of a cloud content management system closely:

  • Cloud Hosting: A cloud CMS requires cloud hosting to work properly. Cloud hosting gives a CMS user all the benefits of the cloud —scalability, security, increased bandwidth, and peace of mind for IT teams.  

  • Headless Architecture: In traditional CMSs, content and presentation —the back and the frontend— are bound together which makes it hard for developers and marketers to build websites and apps using modern technologies. A cloud CMS leverages the headless architecture to deliver digital experiences at scale.

  • Object-based Content Structure: In a CMS, content can be stored as blocks or objects. A cloud CMS stores content objects to enable users to swap between different objects —headers, body copy, and images— to allow faster website loading speeds and omnichannel content delivery.  

  • Frontend Agnosticism: A headless cloud CMS enables developers to choose their preferred frontend to deliver digital content using the tools they know and love. They can use the same content and distribute it to different channels using different frontend frameworks.

In the business ecosystem, a cloud hosted CMS gives you the tools to build adaptable digital experiences quickly. Once these digital platforms are created, the cloud hosted CMS  also gives you the flexibility to create strategies and mitigate risks and compliance issues in the future. 

Legacy CMS vs. Cloud-hosted CMS

Now that we have discussed what the cloud architecture could do for a headless CMS, let's compare it with the past legacy —or on-premise— CMS.

In simple terms, a traditional CMS is often installed on a company’s physical server- thus the name, on-premise. On the other hand, cloud-hosted CMSs are installed on third-party servers like AWS or Azure.

Besides those differences, a cloud hosted CMS allows for greater flexibility in terms of both customization and third-party integrations since cloud CMS platforms are less prone to security issues and potential glitches. 

Traditional platforms require coding tweaks and changes inside the actual CMS, whereas a cloud based CMS enables users to integrate separate plugins and pieces of code into the CMS using APIs, resulting in faster performance.

Another important thing to note is that a cloud CMS allows for larger scalability than an on-premise CMS. Unlike a traditional solution, a cloud-hosted CMS will not go down once a certain traffic quota has been met. Instead, it will simply ask the cloud provider for more resources to deal with the traffic spike and then return back to the normal quota once things are back to normal, reducing infrastructure costs. A traditional platform can't deal with traffic changes as easily. Therefore, it will require you to purchase more hosting space even if you don't need it more than a handful of times a year. 

Here's a handy graphic that illustrates some of the differences between on-premise and cloud:

Traditional CMS Cloud
Initial Investment High Low, usually a monthly fee
Hosting Options On-Premise Third-party hosting services
Frontend Options Limited by the platform and requires hand-coding Frontend agnostic, can connect different ones via APIs
Scalability Limited, requires hosting costs and scalability configuration rules Unlimited and elastic so it grows with you and scales automatically
Total Cost of Ownership Moderate to high, especially if you require a dedicated IT team to manage and maintain the infrastructure Low to moderate, depending on the vendor and the third-party integrations you choose to add

10 Benefits of a Cloud CMS for Enterprise Companies

With the many limitations of the on-premise model, more enterprise entities are looking to make the leap from a legacy CMS to a cloud based CMS. 

Let's review some of the benefits of a cloud CMS solution for enterprise companies. 

1. Lower Upfront Costs

Built as SaaS platforms, cloud CMSs are less expensive upfront than on-premise or legacy systems. Legacy platforms require higher upfront costs in hardware, software, server upkeep, and associated IT costs.

On a cloud based solution you only pay a monthly fee for what you're using, nothing more, nothing less. This is significantly lower than an on-premise CMS.

2. Automatic Updates

Another good thing about SaaS-based cloud CMSs is the automatic update feature. Traditional CMS platforms usually require manual updates which are costly, slow, and prone to issues because some enterprise entities sometimes prefer not to upgrade to avoid the costs. The problem with foregoing updates is that you expose your CMS to potential attacks or bugs that could endanger your digital properties. 

3. Smoother Integration With Third-Party Software

On-premises CMSs are not easily integrated with third-party software.. Modern enterprises need to rely on a myriad of different systems ranging from eCommerce to inventory management to CRMs to ensure that their operations run smoothly. A cloud CMS gives organizations an easy tool to extend and integrate with others for a truly best-of-breed tech stack. 

4. Platform Agnostic

Platform agnosticism and the ability to work with many different cloud providers, software vendors, and front-end tools are two of the main benefits of a cloud platform. You ensure greater software quality and faster, bug-free releases by enabling your teams to work with the tools they know and love. 

5. Future-proof

While, on-premise CMSs won't disappear soon, they are definitely waning in popularity. A cloud, SaaS-based CMS platform is a more modern choice. Enables enterprises to undergo digital transformation efforts and serves as a centralized hub that connects all the pieces of your tech stack together, SaaS-based CMS creates better digital experiences. 

6. Better Technical Support

Legacy CMSs require dedicated technical support every time something goes awry. However, while most enterprise businesses have dedicated IT teams, this doesn't mean that maintenance and support tasks are the best use of their time. SaaS-based CMS platforms  

7. IoT-readiness

Embracing the cloud is the only way to deliver content to IoT-connected devices realistically. The cloud architecture bridges the gap of traditional connectivity models. It enables enterprise businesses to deliver content to different connected devices at scale and in a cost-effective manner. 

8. Enhanced Security

Legacy platforms are less secure than their cloud counterparts because most of the security and updating tasks fall on the shoulders of internal staff members or external consultants with their own timeframes and agendas. A cloud based CMS handles security and maintenance tasks for you and ensures that your CMS installation is secure and performant 24/7. 

9. Multisite Management

Enterprise companies never have only one site. They usually have dozens of different digital properties that may be in different languages.Each of these sites requires attention, and a legacy CMS solution simply can't handle all that data. On the other hand, a cloud CMS offers enterprise business multisite and multilingual support, all from the same dashboard, granting content editors more visibility over each digital property. 

10. Greater Scalability

As companies scale and reach new marketers and customers, legacy CMSs will start to become unwieldy as they scale, resulting in more problems and increased infrastructure costs. A cloud based CMS enables companies to handle upscaling and downscaling with ease, adapting to the business's current and future traffic levels. 

Is There A Middle Ground Between Cloud and On-premise?

While we've seen that the cloud is a great tool when it comes to enabling faster web development, security, and maintenance, there are a few use cases where the cloud isn't the best option and companies require a hybrid cloud solution. 

By hosting your CMS platform or your data in-house, you gain greater control  over your assets, but you are also exposing your company to the perils of on-premise hosting. 

Luckily for every part involved, there's a middle ground. 

Hybrid cloud hosting combines the best of both the on-premise and the cloud worlds and enables you to host certain pieces of your data in the cloud while other elements are hosted on-premise. This approach enables companies to interoperate across different architectures and methods of building software and applications, but it doesn't suit every enterprise and requires careful planning to work. 

Use Cases for a Cloud CMS

So far, we've compared cloud based CMS with legacy platforms, shown you the benefits and the alternatives. Now let's take a look at some of the possible use cases for a cloud CMS.

  • Enterprises Looking for a Quick Start: Sometimes starting from scratch with a cloud based CMS is  a better option than undergoing a costly migration or replatforming. Since the CMS platform is installed on the cloud, it's easier for enterprises to run the CMS, start small, and scale as their needs grow, which results in less time, money, and resources spent on upgrading than it would cost the in-house IT team to bring the on-premise platform to the same level as the cloud option. 

  • Enterprises Wanting To Simplify Collaboration: The cloud architecture enables teams to simplify collaboration between different stakeholders inthe enterprise. For instance, the content editing team can collaborate with different developers in sync without overlapping, creating cross-functional teams and simplifying collaboration with a cloud-based platform. 

  • Enterprises That Need Tighter Security: Cloud security has become the de facto security standard in the past years because cloud-based platforms provide enterprise businesses with the security tools to protect their digital assets and multiple platforms with ease. Cloud-based CMSs also help enterprises stay compliant to avoid costly lawsuits and issues.

Zesty.io's Web Engine: All The Benefits of The Cloud In An Easy-to-use Package

Zesty.io's WebEngine combines PaaS and SaaS platforms elements to provide users with greater control and flexibility on how to build, host, and deploy a digital experience. With WebEngine, you can instantly deploy anything, JSON, HTML, JavaScript, or mix and match languages to build pages using Zesty.io. 

One of the main advantages of Zesty.io's WebEngine vs. other cloud-hosted headless CMS solutions is that most headless CMSs need third-party tools to deploy and preview their digital experiences. In contrast, with Zesty.io's WebEngine, you don't need to use static site generators like Gatsby or Hugo or deploy using Netlify or Next.js. 

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