Web-Based HR Software: Advantages and Disadvantages


HR technology helps businesses complete vital scheduling, performance tracking, recruiting and payroll tasks. If your company needs it, you have two major options: you can install conventional on-premise, computer-based applications or access a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web-based HR software through your browser.

Many corporations have switched to web-based HR systems in recent years. Well-known companies like Equifax, Twitter and Hewlett-Packard all use these HR software solutions, but they appeal to numerous small businesses as well.

Despite its popularity, however, it’s crucial to consider both the pros and cons associated with web-based HR software.

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Web-Based HR Software Advantages

Immediate Availability

After your business signs up and pays for a web-based solution, your HR professionals can begin using it immediately. There’s no need to wait an extended period of time to download huge files or run installs. If a computer already has a compatible web browser, you don’t need to install any new applications to get your web-based HRIS management software up and running.

Another plus of the immediate availability of web based HR software, aside from being able to use it right away, is the avoidance of a large-scale implementation project. As stated, the start-up of many of these platforms is as simple as running the program on a browser. Conversely, an on-premise system generally requires extensive IT labor to install the software, often along with infrastructure preparation in advance.

Easy Accessibility

You can use web-based technology on a laptop in any location that has an adequate Internet connection. Some providers also offer smartphone or tablet access. The system stores all of your human resources information on a central server, so your data is always available as well. Consequently, you won’t need to copy files or applications from one computer to another.

Oracle HRM Mobile screenshot

Access employee information from anywhere with web-based HRM.

The majority of today’s web-based HRIS systems provide employee self-service, which means that your employees can log in to view their information. This helps keep your employees engaged since they can easily track their time and attendance, vacation days, payments, etc. And an added bonus of employee self-service is that it streamlines your HR processes. Rather than sending an email requesting time off, they can request it with a few clicks in your web-based HR management software. Once that request is received, all your HR managers have to do is click to accept or deny it. If it’s accepted, it’s automatically recorded in the employee database, saving them valuable time and simultaneously keeping an up-to-date record of the time off.

Regular Backups

Most cloud software developers regularly backup all of your employee data and HR data stored in their HR systems. You’re unlikely to experience significant data loss if a provider’s server fails. Likewise, you won’t lose information when an office computer’s hard drive ceases to function. A staff member can immediately switch to a different computer and continue working. This is especially helpful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources for frequent backups, which puts their data at risk.

The data that is stored in a web-based human resource management system (and really any HRMS) can be some of the most sensitive, and regularly changing, data in your organization. The personal information of employees needs to be secured and stored properly. And, because addresses, phone numbers and other contact information can change so often, it is important for that data to be backed up periodically. Regular backups will keep your employees’ data safe and abreast on any adjustments and ultimately assist in the transfer of that data between systems.

Automatic Updates

Web-based programs automatically stay up to date. You don’t need to manually download updates or install them. This enhances reliability and saves time and labor. Web-based HR systems updating on their own eliminates the need for your IT department to take on the task of updating the software each time it is needed, allowing them to dedicate their time to other tasks. Additionally, as most of these platforms will perform updates in the background or when the system is not in use, you can avoid the inconvenience of the software being out of commission during the workday.

Automatic updates will also help your company comply with new labor regulations. Being connected to the internet will keep the system constantly aware of changing laws, tax rates and other HR-related acts, and able to adhere your processes to them on the fly. So, the system automates both the task of being informed of regulations as well as complying to them. This reduces the possibility of human error in regard to compliance, saving money, effort and potential legal action.

New Features

If you want the latest HR management features every year, you’ll want to use web-based HR software. But with on-premise systems, the frequency at which you receive updates is all dependent on your contact. You may not receive any free updates at all, potentially paying for each addition to the software. With web-based systems, however, your monthly subscription fee includes access to all of the newest updates as soon as they’re available. So if you need that new performance management, benefits administration or payroll feature, the easiest way is to use web-based HR software.

Furthermore, web-based systems cut labor costs because your employees don’t need to waste time installing or maintaining additional updates. Consistent updates also mitigate the risk of your HR system becoming obsolete. A constantly updating HR system will continually include all of the features you need and be a comprehensive platform. The use of web based HR software that adds new features regularly helps your company avoid the need to implement additional systems, such as a separate time and attendance tool or workforce management software.

Globally Compatible

Web-based human resource management software usually offers a better solution for companies with locations in multiple countries. Most programs allow users to select one of several languages, along with the ability to translate documents into another language when communicating with global collaborators. Different options for currency provide the means to issue compensation to international employees. These systems also centralize your employee data, making it easy to access from offices around the world.

Dayforce HR Global Pay

Sort pay periods by country using web-based HRM software

The automatically updating nature of HR software also keeps your system globally compatible, as it accounts for worldwide regulations as well as local measures. This is important for keeping up with international labor laws, as well as managing the sometimes difficult task of calculating taxes when overseeing offices in different countries.

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Web-Based HR Software Disadvantages

Increased Risk

A downside of online file storage and global access is that they increase your risk of data breaches by external parties. All of your HR data has to travel through the Internet before it reaches a web-based server. Although security software and encryption minimize the risk, it’s not impossible for hackers to intercept your confidential data. That being said, on-premise systems do come with their own risks, including data loss due to irregular backups and theft from internal employees.

Although an upside of adopting web based HR software is the minimal need for infrastructure development (in comparison to the implementation of on-premise solutions), security is one area you may want to build up before considering a web-based HRMS.

Internet Dependence

Web-based solutions make your business more dependent on the Internet. When an outage occurs, your HR professionals lose the ability to access data and perform general HR tasks. This drawback causes more problems for companies in remote regions or areas with frequent severe weather.

Unexpected Changes

Web-based HRIS systems have the potential to change in undesirable ways. For example, the provider could raise its subscription fee or require a new browser that necessitates hardware upgrades.

However, your business can permanently acquire the current edition of a web-based system by making a one-time payment, so costs are more predictable. This software remains the same unless you decide to replace or update it.


Some companies find it difficult to integrate web-based HR management software with other business applications. This usually happens when they use cloud software from multiple providers or continue to run certain computer-based programs. It’s important to investigate the compatibility of your different systems before attempting to use them all together.

Choosing a comprehensive system that includes all of the functionality you will need in an HRMS is potentially one way to avoid difficult integration attempts later on. Of course, there is still the possibility of your business’s needs changing after you implement the software, and integrations being required. No matter what, it is important to evaluate your current and projected needs before deciding on an HR software vendor.

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Is Web-Based HR Software Worth It?

There are certainly several pros and cons to using online HR systems. But, when an on-premise system and a web-based solution supply equivalent features, the web-based system generally delivers the most benefits. It offers much greater flexibility and convenience, not to mention robust HR management that keeps up with the latest features.

Nonetheless, traditional on-premise systems still provide a better choice for companies with unreliable Internet connections. They also give companies more control over HR data and software configuration.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what your business, specifically, requires. If you have a reliable internet connection and need the latest features, we recommend using a web-based solution. But if you need to keep your data in-house and integrate the platform with existing on-premise systems (without using an iPaaS solution), choose an on-premise HR software.

What is your experience with on-premise and web-based HR software? In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Leave a comment and let us know!

Alainia ConradWeb-Based HR Software: Advantages and Disadvantages


Join the conversation
  • mohit kumar - February 6, 2018 reply

    what about security?

    Alex Jaumann - July 12, 2018 reply

    Hi Mohit, we addressed security under Increased Risk. Thanks for reading!

  • Ammar Sagheer - October 25, 2019 reply

    thanks for sharing , Is web based hr software is a complete solution for all of the HR-related management of your organization?

    Zachary Totah

    Zachary Totah - October 30, 2019 reply

    Hi Ammar, thanks for reading! As to your question, web-based (aka cloud) software can definitely provide all the capabilities needed to manage HR. The main difference between web-based and on-premise solutions is less about the features and more about where the data is stored (on-site servers vs. the cloud).

    On-premise systems usually provide more customization and direct control over the system, and may be more accessible depending on a company’s internet connection. And in some cases the security might be better, though cloud security is becoming less and less of a concern. So those are a couple other factors to consider.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to our team: 877-692-2896.

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