Should You Self-host Your Chat Software?

The purchase decision regarding SaaS-based or self-hosted chat software is critical for your data privacy. Both solutions provide high levels of data security if you pick the right customer support software; however, one of these options involves a more thorough approach. Your decision greatly depends on your company’s resources and needs.

The size of your business requires a specific amount of data control. Nevertheless, a budget is one of the key factors that drives any business decision. How can you get the best of both worlds? The answer lies in the analyses of factors that impact your data protection practices. Today’s customers are serious about their data privacy and will choose companies that respect their rights. Moreover, 32 percent  of them say they are willing to act to protect their personal data by switching companies based on their data policies.

To ensure maximum data protection according to the latest data privacy trends, you are required to comply with-the territory- or industry-related data laws to keep your business out of legal troubles. That being said, your primary focus should be providing a fantastic user experience for both your customers and your employees. When supplied with the right tools, your support agents will be more willing to put in their best work thereby more memorable customer experiences.

As a result, your customers will be more likely to stay with your brand, paving the way for creating a community of brand ambassadors. On the other hand, they won’t chat with you if they know that there is a risk of data mishandling or a data breach, even if it’s accidental.

That begs another question: which way of collecting data, via SaaS chat or via self-hosted chat software, is safer? Is the self-hosted chat software the best fit for your business?

Let’s figure that out together!

1.User experience

The user experience, for both your customers and your employees, greatly differs between SaaS and a self-hosted chat app. Self-hosted can be installed on your own computer and its performance doesn’t rely on your internet bandwidth. Thus it can be more reliable and work faster, which will guarantee more consistent user experiences (especially for your customers).

Imagine a scenario where there is an internet outage in your area, but your customer lives in another country and expects support. With self-hosted helpdesk software you can ensure that they will receive the help they need.

From an employee standpoint, there is a higher responsability regarding the self-hosted software installation.  Your IT expert needs to integrate it with your current assets and make sure that they have everything necessary to successfully install a new company tool. Once it is up and running, the supervision is the only work left.

Helpy Pro gives you two self-hosted options. One can be accessed as a marketplace purchase from tech giants such as Google, Microsoft Azure and AWS that offer private-cloud hosting.

The second option makes you the sole owner of the software so you can install it on your own hardware or private cloud. You can assume that the second option means more work; however, the rewards certainly outweigh the investment.

2. Accessing your chat

While your SaaS or cloud-based chat allows access from every place with a decent internet connection, the use of your self-hosted chat software is limited to your physical location. Being able to access your chat from anywhere sounds ideal, however, there is a chance that your cloud vendor may experience downtime. In this case you will have a vendor lock-in and won’t be able to gain access to your chat as long as the provider is having technical issues. On the other hand, your self-hosted chat software is completely in your possession and you can utiize it whenever you want.

3. Upgrading your self-hosted chat software

The freedom of upgrading your self-hosted chat app is simply beautiful. With cloud companies, you usually end up with the general upgrades everyone uses or too many updates overall. Here, you can pick the upgrades that best fit your needs, boosting your business operations to maximum performance. However, this choice brings more responsibilities for your IT professionals. They need to track the latest trends on the market and make sure you have all the tools to keep your offer competitive. It is crucial to try and stay ahead of the competition by embracing new generation technology that improves service. If you don’t, your customers will know and may decide to move their business elsewhere. Simply update your chat at your own speed and don’t let your chat experiences depend on anyone else’s plans.

4. Running chat on your own server

If your chat software is connected to your own server, nobody can enter it without your permissiob. The number of potential cyber attack surfaces is significantly reduced as there are no other companies sharing your server like with the SaaS chat tool option.

The experience with using self-hosting providers is similar. They offer fast, well-developed servers where you can have your own private space. The quality of the storage may be a critical component when deciding between these two. However, if you made a serious investment in the server you keep in your basement then you don’t need to deal with these providers either.

5. Data compliance

If you have a business in California you need to take a look at what CPRA is. If you run a global business then the GDPR and LGDP compliance should be on your task board. In addition, there are industry-specific policies such as HIPAA, GLBA and FERPA that your U.S.-based institution needs to comply with. In any case, you may not need all of them but it’s hard to be sure, right? With self-hosted chat software you can decide which policy you will focus on and, when the compliance is established, you can reallocate your time and efforts towards something else. You simply don’t need to overbook your software with non-essential policies.

6. Security

The benefits of a self-hosted chat software in terms of security are endless. Wherever a customer types a word you can rest assured that it won’t leave your company’s database. It will remain on your server as long as you find it useful. This is especially important for Personal Identifiable Information (PII) such as their name, home address and credit card numbers. This kind of sensitive information is a hacker’s main target.

A self-hosted chat provides your IT experts with a portal where they can have a clear overview of all the logins. They have the power to restrict unwanted access as well as to limit the use of the chat among your support representatives. For example, your reps may not all need to chat with some of your customers so why would they all have access to all your customer profiles or purchasing histories?  In fact, employees’ lost usernames and passwords are often the main entries for hackers. Thus by limiting their access you also limit the potential malicious access to your database too!

7. Self-hosted chat software is cost effective

Self-hosted chat software may not be the best short-term solution. However, in the long run, this option really pays off for large companies that deal with millions of customer records. In these cases, you purchase a long-term license which you can expand together with your team if you wish. There is only one price versus the many monthly subscription fees for SaaS chats. Moreover, SaaS fees usually change more often than the licensed ones.

Nevertheless, the most important benefit is the data damage one. A single data mishap can cost your company a lot of money and a tarnished security reputation. These breaches cost $8.5 million on average and, in some cases, the reparations could be in the billions. If you haven’t put a password or a multi-factor authentication on your database the breach will be increasingly massive. However, if it was a credential stuffing attack and only one of your employees was a victim, then hopefully only a limited amount of data will be exposed (though no amount of data exposure is acceptable in the eyes of your customers!). To avoid these scenarios, make sure that you set your automations and assign tasks right!

8. You own the software

Everything boils down to the main self-hosted chat software benefit: you own the software and the server! You can conduct self-administration practices and dictate your own support rules. Most often, corporations have their own set of privacy rules, which makes self-hosting an excellent asset. The performance of your chat depends on your own hosting resources, so you’ll be able to apply quick fixes should any issues arise. Similarly, wherever you have identified opportunities for improvement, you can implement those changes and reap the benefits. In order to personalize your customer experiences, you’ve got to make your own more personal first!


Join 1000s of businesses in delivering customer support in the most secure way possible.

Get Started Now
  • No credit card required
  • 14 day free trial