When it comes to deciding which IT infrastructure is right for your business there are many factors to consider. As technology moves on, increasingly businesses are exploiting the opportunities cloud solutions have to offer, such as improved collaboration and scalability. But some businesses may be unable to make that move and instead rely on legacy on-premise applications and software whereby control of data remains solely theirs. Both have pros and cons, and a business should select the solution that best meets their requirements.
To help you do that, in this blog we look at the key features of cloud-based versus on-premise models. For a high-level overview, refer to the infographic below and if you would like the detail, read on.
On-premise and cloud – what do they mean?
Firstly, lets understand both types of solution. In an on-premise environment, resources are deployed in-house and the software and technology is installed locally at the business’s site rather than at a remote facility. In a cloud-based environment, a third party manages everything on behalf of the business and a cloud-based virtual server uses virtual technology to host applications off-site.
Now, let’s look at their features:
Cloud solutions require no capital expenditure because everything is hosted off-site. It’s a scalable, pay-as-you-go model whereby the business only pays for the resources it uses in accordance with user requirements, overall usage and business growth. Predictable monthly payments to a third party cover all expenses such as licenses, upgrades, support, and backup. The lack of physical equipment on-site can also lead to savings in energy costs.
Businesses who adopt an on-premise model will have higher upfront capital costs, for example, servers and software licences. Consequently, they are also responsible for ongoing maintenance costs. Power consumption and space are factors to take into consideration, too. However, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) may be overall lower than a cloud-based model because licenses are only paid for once.
The need for reliable data security increases daily and is a top concern for businesses. Businesses in some industries possessing extra sensitive information are required by law to retain a certain level of security that only on-premise environments provide, for example banking and Government. There is a lot to be said for the peace of mind provided knowing exactly where your data is and how to access it.
With many publicised cloud data breaches, there are doubts and concerns whether cloud solutions are robust enough and therefore security remains a top barrier to cloud deployment. With a cloud-based model, a business’s data resides externally in data centres, which can be located anywhere over the world. Data centres employ security measures beyond the budgets of many businesses, especially SMEs, and therefore it could be said that cloud offers higher levels of security. Cloud solutions offer comprehensive disaster recovery; full back-up of not just your data but your entire server operating system and applications means you can be quickly back to functioning form after an interruption by any cause: user error, natural disaster, technology failure or malware.
Cloud computing can be classed as “worry free IT”; everything is managed by a third-party expert, negating the need for resources in-house which can consume valuable time and budget. Instead, time and money can be spent on concentrating on core business strategies. All resources are hosted on the premises of the service provider, however, the business is able to access those resources and use as much as they want at any given time. There can be a question mark over the ownership of data because it is not hosted onsite. And if there is downtime, businesses make not have access to data and resources for some time.
In an on-premise environment, the business has more control – it retains all data and is at all times fully in control of what happens to it. The business is responsible for maintaining the solution and all its related processes, but it takes more time and planning.
Most businesses need to abide by regulatory controls and to meet these regulations, it is important that they remain compliant with all their data in place. This can be managed easily when all the data is maintained on-site, however the business must take full ownership.
When opting for a cloud-based model, the business needs to ensure that their third-party provider is meeting the mandates within the specific industry, and it is vital the data of their customers, employees and partners is secure and private.
The world of cloud has undoubtedly introduced benefits such as increased efficiency and collaboration. Now, businesses can work anywhere, anytime. Internal teams, partners, customers and suppliers can connect via advanced tools such as SharePoint and Teams. With an increase in remote working, this has been advantageous to many businesses especially throughout the global pandemic and looks set to remain.
On-premise configurations do not afford such flexibility and have a more rigid framework with less real-time resources to use. However, unlike the cloud, this approach is not reliant on the internet for connectivity or access to software.
Cloud software can be deployed in a matter of hours or days because it is carried out via the internet. Instant provisioning means everything is already configured and any new software that is integrated into the environment is ready to use straight away. Time spent on installation and configuration is eliminated.
With on-premise setups there are longer implementation times due to the need to complete installations on servers and individual computers/laptops, resulting in business downtime.
Food for thought….Hybrid IT
Having explored the features of on-premise and cloud environments, hopefully you now have a good idea of the benefits and limitations of both to help you make an informed decision on which set-up fits your business best. One final consideration is that you could take a hybrid approach – where for a few requirements on-premise is preferable and in a few instances cloud is a better solution. We will explore Hybrid IT in a future blog.
For more advice on on-premise, cloud or hybrid environments and how they would work for your business, and/or to discuss how Quintech can assist your business with IT support, please get in touch on email@example.com or call 01684 882700.