“The cloud” has become ubiquitous.
Every technology and software company has a cloud solution, but what is the cloud and where exactly does your data go?
Right now, you know where your data is. It’s in the aging server at your office. You know, the one that could fail at any minute. The one that probably has no backup or disaster recovery plan.
The cloud really isn’t all that different from the server in your office.
Cloud computing is just a fancy name for a server you access remotely through the internet. Instead of being at your business, your data will live in a cloud service provider’s data center.
Hosting your data in the cloud can be a great solution for many businesses because it gives you the flexibility to scale up or down depending on your company’s needs. It also frees up the space that aging server is taking up. Forrester Research predicted that 50% of enterprises will use at least one cloud platform for their business by 2018.
Now that we’ve established how the cloud and traditional on-premises servers are similar, we need to look at what using the cloud vs data center can mean for your business.
On-premises solutions require a large upfront capital expense to purchase the equipment. This means that you own the hardware outright, but you are also more likely to keep it way past its usefulness. You will also have pay out of pocket for ongoing maintenance and repair costs. Businesses who use on-premises solutions often require in house IT personnel as well, which is another added expense.
A cloud solution is an operational expenditure where you simply pay a subscription fee to use your provider’s services. This solution can help you have a better idea of what your recurring costs will be, as you are not responsible for the upkeep of the hardware or the refresh costs, which should happen every 3 years.
Certain organizations, such as banks and doctor’s offices, often require higher levels of security because they contain sensitive, personally identifiable information. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that your network has the most up-to-date security certificates.
With cloud solutions, the responsibility of security lies with the data center provider. Cloud hosting providers use high-security protocols to keep your data safe and schedule automatic backups.
Your in-house server gives you the benefit of being able to access your data and applications without an internet connection. On the other hand, your business could be severely affected by a disaster, such as a hurricane or a server failure. With an on-premises server, you will be responsible for ensuring you create regular backups of your data and that your backups are not stored in the same location as your server.
In order to access your data in the cloud, both you and your service provider need an internet connection. If your internet goes down, you won’t be able to access your data on the cloud. However, you should get a Service Level Agreement (SLA) from your provider that states what your up-time will be. You can also schedule automatic backups as frequently as you wish.
Each solution, cloud vs data center, has its pros and cons. You must consider what features and functions will work best for you and your business as well as what potential drawbacks you may have to deal with down the road.