While cloud computing technology has only entered the mainstream business world in recent years—the question is age old: what services will prove to be the most cost-effective in the long run? Is cloud storage better suited to my business needs or is on-premise storage? If you’ve also asked yourself those questions, then the good news is that you’re thinking on the right track. There’s no catch-all, universally effective service for every small businesses.
The benefits of the cloud versus on-premise storage vary in weight depending on the in-house technical capabilities of the business in need of a solution! So how does one make the distinction? Firstly, here’s a brief overview of the cloud and it technically varies from on-premise storage.
You’ve heard of the cloud. The cloud is a means of non-physical, Internet-based storage which allows you to access data and software services from anywhere in the world, so long as you have a strong connection to the Internet. In recent days, we used computer hard drives, floppy disks and other means of physical storage to hold our data and we could only access that data if that machinery were on-site.
However, the old days aren’t over. While cloud-based storage services offer the benefit of freeing up space on a user’s laptop or desktop hard drive, a great deal of companies are choosing to retain or re-evaluate the viability of on-premise storage, due in large part to its cost-efficiency.
The Cost of Each
When managed properly, on-premise storage systems do not incur the same recurring fees as cloud service providers do. Cloud storage costs vary widely based on both the service provider and the nature of the contract. For instance, there may be surcharges for the amount of data stored and transferred, in addition to a monthly or annual fee. You may also find hidden costs associated with unanticipated technical support.
While the upfront cost of on-premise storage equipment is steep – additional expenses wouldn’t figure into play unless the need arose to upgrade or scale the hardware in order to handle more data.
The Security Concerns of Each
The privacy of your stored data is another prime concern when making the decision between cloud and on-premise solutions. After all, every time a file is transferred, there is the risk of it being intercepted. Once data reaches its final destination – whether locally or in the cloud – security threats don’t simply disappear. Unless you are considering dedicated cloud storage, you have little control over where your data ultimately resides. It could be placed in multiple sites or in a data center location completely unbeknownst to you, for instance. With on-premise storage, you know exactly where your information is and are in control of its security.
The Latency of Each
Lastly, you should weigh how latency, or how long it takes to transfer data back and forth between your devices and the cloud. While individual transfers only take a few moments, those moments can add up to considerable downtime and potentially threaten the quality of your business services and operations.
So, why are so many small businesses deciding to commit to cloud storage services? Many small businesses are looking to compensate for a lack of internal resources to build out their own IT infrastructure on-site. Furthermore, the upfront costs of software and hardware licensing is often too expensive for small business, versus the low cost of cloud subscriptions. Lastly, a lack of in-house IT expertise or advice leads many small businesses to simply offload their need to service applications.
The secret is to make your decision based solely off what your business needs – never mind the marketplace trend toward the cloud. Your decision doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” deal, either. Applications such as CRM products and network monitoring systems are perfect for the cloud, whereas most security products work best on-site. You’ll find after a little research that you might be best off in business with both services.
Consider the scope of your technical requirements, set-up and configuration needs, and budget. As with any decision, whether to stash vital information locally or in the cloud depends on your particular business practices, and needs. Questions? Concerns? All of our experts are standing by to help you weigh your options. Leave a comment or send a quick chat message. We’re happy to help!