Move to the Cloud or Stay On-Premises?
Organizations and businesses of varying sizes are asking the critical question about whether to move to the cloud or remain on-premises. Smaller or newer companies may be wondering how to invest early capital. And more established companies may be considering if it’s worth the effort to transition their infrastructure to a new set of operations.
There are upsides and downsides to moving to the cloud or remaining on-premises. An organization must assess its current needs and potential changes in the future. To assist with this decision, we explore the differences between these two sets of resources and summarize the benefits or limitations that can be expected.
What are the differences?
For many years, the only offering for organizations and enterprises was to perform operations on a server that was housed internally. This internal server is also known as “on-premises.” However, a proliferation of new options has become available. Broadly, these options are servers hosted external to an organization, generally referred to as “the cloud.”
The most fundamental difference between on-premises and cloud computing is the location in which the server is housed. Generally, cloud services are offered by third parties that provide storage, computing, and applications for clients. In contrast, on-premises computing occurs when a client performs these same functions on a local server. The third-party providers will manage and maintain their servers on behalf of the client. Whereas on-premises computing requires that the client execute their management and maintenance of the server.
We explore both options’ advantages and disadvantages. A client can use this summary to determine if it is the right time to move to the cloud or remain on-premises.
When to move to the cloud
An organization or enterprise must assess its current operations to determine the proper type of computing. Making that decision will be assisted by understanding the various benefits or shortcomings of cloud or on-premises computing.
Benefits of cloud computing:
- Fewer IT costs: By outsourcing infrastructure management and maintenance to a third-party, organizations can reduce the costs of in-house IT teams. Further cost reduction can be found with the elimination of hardware or software assets.
- Fewer capital expenses: Moving to an external resource for cloud computing eliminates capital investments in equipment, installation, and software updates. Instead, an organization can transform the capital expense into an operational cost with a subscription-based model.
- Flexible budgeting: Many cloud-based computing solutions are offered with tailored subscriptions that can fit numerous budgets. This provides advantages for organizations that are scaling up or scaling down.
Limitations of cloud computing:
- Heavily reliant on the internet: Accessing remote servers requires a reliable and quality internet to perform all core functions. A slow or unreliable internet connection can result in difficulty accessing files or a poor user experience. In the case of an internet outage, access to files will be completely cut off.
- Concerns with security: Moving data and computing to external servers removes the ability to control or manage security risks. Third-party cloud providers may also be more highly targeted since they store large amounts of data.
- Long term costs: An organization must consider whether it’s a priority to have the most updated software. Costs for these updates are reflected in the price of the cloud subscription and may not be necessary for every organization.
Despite the proliferation of cloud resources, many organizations still find on-premises solutions preferable. The summary of advantages and disadvantages below may help an organization to determine if remaining on-premises continues to be the best fit for their needs.
Benefits to staying on-premises:
- Internet operations: This benefit is two-fold. For one, on-premises resources do not rely on the internet to access data, removing the risks of slow or lost connections. Secondly, costs associated with more significant internet usage are reduced. Even further, organizations may be able to operate without paying the higher price for high-speed connections or fast downloads.
- More security: On-premises operations are restricted exclusively to authorized personnel. Even more, they are commonly less accessible to or less targeted by digital crime threats.
- Customization: Software offered by third parties is likely to be less customizable to an organization’s specific needs. However, deploying software on-premises can commonly provide an organization the ability to tailor resources to niche goals or operations.
Limitations to staying on-premises:
- Fewer remote or mobile options: On-premises computing is more limited than cloud computing for remote employees or mobile work. Further, adding network or carrier services to on-premises resources will drive up costs to achieve more flexible access and the ability to work off-site.
- Initial set up: Challenges are presented to the deployment and costs of setting up on-premises operations. Purchasing and installing the necessary hardware and software takes more time than cloud-based alternatives, and the price for these resources is higher upfront.
- Scaling: There is commonly less flexibility for organizations to scale with on-premises infrastructures. When an organization adds users, the IT department must manually install the necessary hardware and software to meet higher demands.
Choosing to go hybrid
In some cases, an organization may consider a combination of cloud services and on-premises resources. This is commonly known as a hybrid deployment. Such circumstances involve using private or third-party cloud solutions for certain operations. But the hybrid approach continues to use on-premises resources as well.
A hybrid dynamic allows a client to collaborate in the cloud while keeping records or data on-premises. This permits the flexibility of a cloud’s mobile functions while retaining higher levels of control over data. Even more, organizations can maintain security protocols for on-premises data with the added benefit of scaling according to business needs.
There are many factors to consider for migrating to cloud solutions or maintaining on-premises infrastructures. An organization must wade through many critical decisions to determine the correct fit for the circumstances.
Network Coverage has assembled a set of technology and business solutions to support your organization in maneuvering through this complex and critical environment.
Set up a consultation with Network Coverage for experienced advice and support.