One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is whether a company should store their data in the Cloud or in-house. While we would certainly perform an IT assessment with a discussion about your business operations and goals to best advise you on this, we’ll address some of the most common considerations so you’ll have more information when deciding for yourself.
There are many aspects to consider when choosing cloud or in-house storage. First, let’s define the two:
A cloud data service is a remote version of an in-house data center. It’s located somewhere away from your company’s physical premises and lets you access your data via the Internet. A cloud data center provides redundancy – if one cloud data center goes down, another will come online to serve you.
An on-site data center traditionally refers to server hardware on your premises to store and access data via your local network. It is typically maintained by your in-house IT department that’s employed by your company.
Here are some aspects for you to consider when considering data storage in the Cloud or on-site.
This is probably the foremost consideration. Without access to your data and software, your business can’t operate. It’s in this regard that using the Cloud will be of greatest benefit. If you run an online business, your web-based transactions are of critical importance. If your team works offsite or travels a great deal, you’ll also benefit from anywhere/anytime/any device access that the Cloud provides. And cloud solutions typically come with a 99.999 uptime guarantee, where a data center in your office won’t. Plus, if your office is damaged for any reason (fire, broken pipes), your data center could be as well.
Customizability vs Scalability
An on-site data center will give you full control over the hardware you use but also over the data infrastructure. It’s best for companies that must run many complex workloads and applications.
Where it’s limited is where you need to purchase and install more equipment or the latest technologies if you want to expand your storage or workload. This is where using the Cloud would benefit you the most. A cloud system has an unlimited capacity for expansion. And you can scale up or back the services you need quickly. Speed, flexibility, ease of use, and agility are some of the most attractive features of using the Cloud.
There are no large upfront costs where using the Cloud is concerned. This can reduce your total cost of ownership and give you the best ROI for your money. You also won’t have to pay for maintenance, updates and management of your data center if you use the Cloud. Your cloud service provider takes care of this automatically.
Because the Cloud doesn’t require a significant investment in hardware, it can reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO). With the Cloud there’s no need for capital expenses or to purchase hardware. You won’t have to depreciate data center hardware over 5 to 10 years as you do with other office equipment, and instead, write off your cloud costs as an operating expense over the year.
If you build a data center from the ground up, it takes a lot of time and money. Operating a large data center can cost from $10 million to $25 million each year.
With a cloud vendor, your company will be entrusting its data to the safeguarding of a third party. It’s their responsibility to ensure they provide you with the most up-to-date security certifications. If your data resides on several cloud-based data centers in different locations, they will need to provide the proper security measures for each location.
Plus, because your cloud data can be accessed by anyone with the proper credentials from anywhere that they have an internet connection, this opens you up to security breaches if your data isn’t protected as it should be (both in transit and in storage).
Because an in-house data center is physically connected to your organization’s local network, this makes it easier for you to control access to only the users with your company-approved credentials and devices.
Accessibility & Business Continuity
If your in-house data center fails as mentioned above, this could have catastrophic effects on your business. And unless you back up your data every day and test it yourself for recoverability, you don’t know that you’ve captured everything as you should.
With enterprise-based cloud backups, you’ll have automatic backups that are tested for recoverability. Plus, if your office is damaged due to a natural or manmade disaster, you and your authorized users will still be able to access your data from anywhere with any device and an internet connection. This means that your business can continue operating during office downtimes.
If you need help deciding between on-site data storage or a cloud storage solution, contact Integris. We serve businesses in the Baltimore-Washington Area with a full suite of IT Services.
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