When it comes to campus card systems, universities tend to have their own unique demands as they look to serve their different populations. What works for one campus may not necessarily work for another, and the choice of how best to deploy servers for a campus card system is anything but a one-size-fits-all solution.
Whether an on-premise, hosted or Software-as-a-Service structure, finding the right fit comes down to the application purpose, network infrastructure and the institution’s human resource capabilities. That's exactly the challenge we wanted to address in 2014 with our "The future of campus card servers." Nearly five years on from publication, this is as much a topic of discussion now than ever.
For some institutions, it may be appealing to know that its card system is being supported and managed by experts. Externally hosted options can offer this luxury, alleviating some of the university’s responsibility for security compliance, migrating at least a portion of the burden to the provider rather the campus.
But with SaaS offerings there's a tradeoff between simplicity and customization. It's an important consideration for institutions that maintain complex card programs and integrate tightly with other campus systems.
Additionally, some universities may feel more comfortable hosting private or sensitive data–gender, GPA, class status–in a physical location it controls. With a hosted solution, that information leaves the confines of the campus; it’s a matter of preference on the part of the university.
To get a more in-depth rundown on the differences between hosted and on-premise campus card systems, check out our full wrietup, "The future of campus card servers."