I’m often asked: “should we store our data in the cloud or on our own server on our own premises?”. Quickly followed by: “which is more expensive?”, and “which is more secure?”
Regular readers will know that I’m on a bit of personal crusade to help our clients – and anyone who needs assistance – to make more informed decisions, based on what’s best for their business.
So, let’s unpack this issue a bit because there are pros and cons with both cloud and on-premise data storage – and making the right decision for you depends on your own unique circumstances, your appetite for risk and what makes you feel most comfortable. Let’s start with the basics.
In a nutshell, on-premise data storage means:
using an in-house server, computers or other devices to store your data
purchasing your own hardware and software
regularly maintaining, upgrading and replacing your infrastructure
buying additional equipment if your storage requirements increase beyond current capacity
employing, directly or indirectly, specialist expertise to keep these assets fully operational
Advantages: Security – by keeping your data within your own direct control, so long as you take sensible security precautions, it’s harder for hackers to attack.
Control – if you own the hardware, software and decide where the data is and who manages it then you are in complete control of every aspect of the system which may give you peace of mind.
Access – because you are not reliant on internet connection, all employees based at your site will always have access to the data, and if you are dealing with large files it can be faster.
Disadvantages: Cost – buying, maintaining and regularly replacing your own equipment for the latest and best versions requires regular capital investment and ongoing operating expenditure.
Remote Access – unless suitable technology is implemented then remote access to on-site servers is often more complicated and slower than cloud solutions.
Meanwhile, cloud-based data storage involves:
using remote servers or hardware maintained by a third-party service provider
buying the use of specific quantities of storage space and bandwidth
accessing your data via the internet
Advantages: Cost – cloud-based data storage avoids buying your own hardware and software and ongoing costs are often lower than the costs of maintaining your own systems.
Flexibility – you can access your data anytime, anywhere, all you need is an internet connection – and you can buy more storage space when you need it and pay less when you don’t.
Disadvantages: Security – with flexibility comes increased risk. Data stored in the cloud often uses multiple providers, shared resources and may be more easily accessed by people outside your organisation. This can be reduced by using a private cloud, rather than a public cloud in which storage space is shared by many organisations.
Downtime – access to cloud servers is more susceptible to outages and downtime with it being reliant on the internet connection.
Tough decision? Well don’t despair as it’s just a case of going through your key business goals and drivers with your trusted IT advisor and they will be able to recommend the right solution for you. And remember, the solution doesn’t have to be one or the other, some companies decide that what is best for them is a dual approach or a hybrid data storage solution where primary data is stored on their own server with backup versions stored in the cloud.
If you’d like us to help you to decide what is the best option for you, leave us a message here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll contact you back, or call our team on 03300 886 116 for an informal and confidential chat.