With the current trends increasingly towards cloud computing, you may find yourself wondering: do I even need an on-site server anymore?
As you might expect, there are pros and cons to both solutions. Depending on your needs, one or the other might be right for you.
The advantages of onsite servers
Though onsite servers have certain limitations, there are some areas in which they provide a clear advantage.
Compliance and control
For industries that have robust security and privacy requirements, such as finance, legal and healthcare, physical servers provide the ability to protect vital data more predictably. Additionally, some of these industries must meet data security compliance regulations, and some cloud servers simply do not make the cut. With an on-site server, you have control over where the server is housed and who can access it, ensuring that all of your internal security protocols are met and that legal compliance is satisfied.
Your in-house team can benefit from an on-premise server also. Being able to access files without connecting to the internet has its advantages, especially if the internet connection is down or unreliable for any reason.
Once you’ve completed your cloud migration, maintaining your servers and data in the cloud may be more affordable, but the migration and transformation itself may represent a significant cost. If you are a small, insular company who depends on key applications or database applications that are housed on your on-site servers, you stand to lose that accessibility—and possibly some functionality—when you do make the move. Software that you have purchased may need to be upgraded to cloud-based versions, and the whole process may roll out over a period of months.
If scale isn’t an issue and your company can’t afford the disruption or expense, then perhaps your on-site servers are just fine.
The benefits of cloud servers
On the other side of the coin, cloud servers offer many benefits.
The ability to scale on a dime is one of the biggest benefits to using a cloud server. If you are an online business such as an e-commerce retail site, auction site, or ticket agency, you may not be able to predict when that scale will be required. Cloud servers can be configured to adapt to your web traffic needs, ensuring that your site doesn’t crash if it experiences a surge of traffic. After all, you wouldn’t want your “best day ever” to be marred by a system crash.
With more employees working remotely these days, it pays to have the ability to access files and web applications from any computer or device. The cloud enables virtualization, which in turn enables collaboration, improved productivity, employee engagement, and omnichannel initiatives. Efficiency and accountability are enhanced, improved communication is enabled, and with the right configurations, you can remove data silos that are slowing down your progress. Being able to monitor and respond to information in real-time rather than waiting for it to be delivered to you allows you to make better-informed business decisions that can take your company further, faster.
By moving to a cloud server solution, you may realize significant cost savings. First, you will no longer have to purchase or maintain physical servers. You also won’t have to allocate office space to the servers, along with the increased needs for climate and temperature control. You can also reduce your IT spend, as you won’t need dedicated technicians to maintain and update your servers. In fact, the IT personnel you do keep can be assigned to higher-value incentives instead of having to perform endless, repetitive tasks that don’t add tangible value to the business. You will also need to predict how much storage you will need in the future, and unless you have a pretty clear picture of what that is going to look like, your future server spend is unknown. Cloud servers are pay-as-you-need, meaning that you only pay for what you’re using, generally on a month-to-month basis. This provides you with a predictable budget so you can plan your growth in other areas.
Security: you’ve got options
With an on-site server, you are limited to a range of security appliances and protocols that may not serve your needs in the future. With a cloud server solution, you can add security options as needed and threat detection is on 24/7. Most security features will be included in your monthly fee and if more robust features are needed, you can add them as you go without having to call in a technician or wait several days until IT gets around to it.
Lastly, a cloud server solution allows you to focus on your business without the added distraction of wondering when your technology will fail, need to be upgraded or replaced.