You’ve come to the point where you have to make the decision. The dreaded decision. Will you host your valuable data with a cloud-based vendor or will you opt to keep it close to home with an on-premise solution? Well, before we dive into the pros and cons of each, we should probably cover what each option entails.
Cloud computing usually consists of your data sitting in a secure data center maintained by the third party vendor. The client then connects to this vendor, and their data, via a secure internet connection.
On the other hand, the on-premise option is a little more self-explanatory. Like the name states, this is when the client physically stores their data on servers that are located on their own premise.
So which of these options should you choose? Well, like most technology decisions, it’s not so much of which option is superior, it’s more about which option is better for you based on your individual circumstances and needs.
The strengths that cloud and on-premise solutions provide for reliability can also be their weaknesses. For example, with cloud, you are very reliant on an internet connection in order to connect with your data. This means that if the internet is down, so are you. An on-premise server doesn’t rely on an internet because the physical servers reside in your building.
With this being said, the cloud’s reliability and redundancy can also be a benefit. If an instance occurs when your on-premise servers are compromised, such as a natural disaster, the downtime will likely be significant. With the same natural disaster, having your data in the cloud will prevent this downtime. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your data from anywhere in the world.
The cost can sometimes be misleading in the cloud vs. on-premise storage debate. You can begin by comparing the higher up-front costs of on-premise storage with the usually ongoing subscription costs of the cloud. Another thing to think about is making sure you have adequate bandwidth to access your data in the cloud.
This isn’t where the costs come to an end, though. Particularly with the on-premise storage, there are a number of on-going costs that people usually don’t think of right away. You are going to need IT professionals that can maintain and update servers and buying more servers as you require more storage is a distinct possibility. Even electricity must be taken into consideration when accounting for a room full of servers that must be consistently powered and cooled.
Security is an issue that is many times at the forefront of any decision making; especially with technology.
Although you may have more control over your data with on-premise solutions, storing your data with the cloud usually means getting access to world class security for fraction of the cost.
There is also the matter of the breaches themselves. Despite popular beliefs, most breaches are more about carelessness than foul intent. It’s difficult for a company that doesn’t specialize in technology to keep their security practices up to date.
A Different Approach
There is also a third option that is gaining more ground among technology circles recently. The hybrid approach takes aspects of both the on-premise storage and cloud storage and creates a new solution.
Many times, a company’s decision to take a hybrid approach is less about the sensitivity of the data and more about how critical the application is. For example, a company may choose to have applications that they need on-premise while applications that aren’t as crucial, and storage of data, is opted to the cloud.
Whether you choose to store your data on-premise, in the cloud, or take a hybrid approach, considering your unique needs is paramount to finding the right solution. Reliability, cost, and security play important roles in data management but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Consider talking with a technology expert and make sure you are moving forward with the best option for you.