SumTotal Enterprise: On-Premise or in the Cloud?

Dec 10, 2015


SumTotal's platform for learning management has earned a reputation worldwide as highly configurable, making it ideal for complex firms with strict privacy and compliance needs. It has also grown into a hybrid platform that has all the functionality of both an LMS and an LXP, making it a Learning Management Experience Platform (LMXP). 

Choosing between an on-premise or cloud-based deployment depends on the infrastructure your business already has in place. If you're mostly using cloud-based systems, the decision may be easy. Whichever way you go, SumTotal's platform will support your needs.

We recommend deployment in the cloud because the implementation cycle is much shorter (a few weeks), and the initial cost is much lower. However, you may need to deploy it on-premises, where your IT team will have complete control.

With that in mind, let’s explore why you may want to deploy it on your own servers.

Reasons for On-Premises Deployment

Nearly half of IT pros prefer on-premises deployment because of security concerns, and certain types of organizations also resist the cloud.

  • Traditional industries. Logistics, manufacturing, and maritime companies often have aging technologies that require local control.
  • Compliance-heavy industries. Your business may have strict compliance requirements and regulatory oversight that precludes a learning app in the cloud.
  • High-risk industries. Companies like pharmaceutical need to maintain complete control of their data, so they may have serious concerns about using the cloud.
  • Need for customization. Some organizations demand customization that cloud platforms don’t provide.

Your needs and costs are the first consideration when deciding between on-premises or cloud-based implementation. The benefits of on-premises use include more control over data security and privacy, while cloud-based deployment gives you scalability and initial cost savings.

You will want to bring your CTO into the conversation. Prime the conversation with SumTotal’s cloud security page when you do.

Why Deploy in the Cloud?

Most small organizations should use a low-cost cloud-based LMS. SumTotal Growth Edition may be the answer for your organization. Larger organizations should consider enterprise LMS. Deploying it in the cloud offers a tremendous benefit—it’s faster and much less expensive—you pay as you go.

  • Your IT can’t support an on-premises application. Many large companies favor on-premises systems. They already have the IT staff and infrastructure. Their portfolio will also include a disaster recovery plan. Adding one more application is not a significant burden. If you don’t have that capability, you will want to consider deploying in the cloud.
  • You need flexibility and scalability. Cloud applications natively give you flexibility and scalability, making it easy to reallocate resources.
  • You are planning to extend learning outside your organization. Many companies extend their learning systems to their customers, partners, supply chains, and distribution channels. One advantage of cloud deployment is the ability to connect anytime and anywhere with an internet connection.
  • You need technology offered only in the cloud. Many AI services are only in the cloud, such as natural language processing, vision processing, and Google Cloud AutoML.


Your organizational needs will determine the decision you make. If flexibility, scalability, and controlling capital costs are at the top of your concerns, it’s a simple decision to go with the cloud. If data security is your top concern, perhaps not, but consider how far cloud security has come.

We recommend you read SumTotal’s cloud security page to see how they protect your data.

We hope this discussion starts you on the way to making the right decision for your company. If you have a question, leave a comment or call us. We would be happy to talk with you about your options.


Read more

How to Prepare for SumTotal in the Cloud

Avoid these Traps in your SumTotal LMS Implementation

How to Measure the ROI of Your SumTotal LMS

How Dashboards Boost Engagement in Your SumTotal LMS

Why You Need to Automate Your SumTotal Update Testing

5 Ways to Optimize Your SumTotal LMS

About Pixentia

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.


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