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Cloud vs On-Premise File Servers: An Overview


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Cloud services have dramatically changed the way businesses store and send information. By putting essential files in a non-localized server, it’s possible for employees to access data from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. However, all change comes with risks.

Companies must weigh the pros and cons of each storage option before deciding because both locally installed servers and the cloud have their own benefits. The main issues to examine when finding the best storage solution for your business will be discussed below.

Overview: On-Premise vs. Cloud vs. Hybrid

While cloud computing has its refreshing and flexible allure, on-premise software is tried and true. On the other hand, hybrid solutions offer the best of both worlds but are often expensive.

On-Premise Software

Many businesses take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to their computing, and it isn’t hard to see why. On-premise servers aren’t out of date by any means and still have a purpose in a modern business. For highly-regulated industries, an in-house server is an absolute necessity.

Why? Because these servers are more reliable, secure, and customizable than the cloud. However, this flexibility is also its greatest downfall. Managing and maintaining on-site servers is exponentially higher as businesses must pay for their own hardware, software, and integration.

Cloud Computing

In a cloud computing environment, a third-party provider will host your servers for you, which gives businesses a hands-off approach to file sharing. Companies can upgrade their packages on an as-need basis without buying more infrastructure or swapping out servers from bays.

With cloud computing, there is no capital expense, making it easier for you to expand globally. Users also don’t need to spend time stalling their servers because the cloud installs and configures immediately. However, since everything is up to the third party, there’s no way to tell how secure or flexible their servers are, and you can’t independently upgrade their offerings.

Hybrid Solution

If you want the “best of both worlds” solution, try a hybrid cloud-based file server with a company like CenterStack. A hybrid cloud infrastructure depends on the availability of a public cloud platform from a third-party provider, a private cloud constructed on-premises, and an effective WAN connectivity between the two. Hybrid solutions are effective but expensive.

Key Differences: On-Premise vs. Cloud

There are a number of fundamental differences between both server options. What you decide to use depends on your needs and the amount of responsibility you’re willing to take on.

Costs: Pros and Cons

It’s important to look at costs first because you can quickly narrow down your choices.

  • On-Premise is more expensive due to ongoing hardware, software, and power costs.
  • Cloud software is cost-effective because you only pay for what you use each month.

Deployment: Pros and Cons

If an on-premise server is in reach, consider if you have the space for a larger solution.

  • On-Premise is installed on-site and stays on site. The enterprise that installs the on-premise server is responsible for maintaining the solutions and its processes.
  • Cloud software can be public, private, or hybrid. Most cloud solutions are on a public server, where resources are hosted and maintained by the service provider.

Control: Pros and Cons

Next, determine if you prefer 100% control over your servers or next to none.

  • On-Premise servers are controlled by who installs them, for better and for worse.
  • Cloud software is encrypted by the provider, which may lead to unexpected downtime. You technically don’t own your data and can’t access it in a server outage.

Compliance: Pros and Cons

Should a security breach occur, are you comfortable with being responsible for damages?

  • On-Premises have strict compliance laws businesses must adhere to.
  • Cloud software solutions are responsible for data breaches, but businesses should research whether or not their provider is up to code. As a business, you must secure your data on your end (i.e., password-protected files) to ensure client privacy.

Security: Pros and Cons

All file sharing options must be incredibly secure and nearly unhackable by others.

  • On-Premise solutions are far more secure and private, which is why banking industries typically use an on-site server. On-premise servers are harder to hack.
  • Cloud software is often considered to be less secure, but it depends on the company you’re using. However, relying on a third-party provider may make you uncomfortable.

Cloud software will likely be more secure in the future. For now, on-premise solutions are the most secure option on the market unless you prefer to use hybrid cloud software.

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