Cloud Vs. On-Premise Infrastructure: Which Option Is Best?

Should your organization switch to cloud storage for data security? Finding an honest answer to this question isn’t ...

Should your organization switch to cloud storage for data security? Finding an honest answer to this question isn’t easy because many articles are created by platforms with an agenda for or against it. At Cloudficient, we want what’s best for your company, and the truth is that there are pros and cons to both solutions.

Read on to discover the true advantages of the cloud vs. on-premise infrastructure.

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What Is Cloud Vs. On-Premise Infrastructure?

In the realm of information technology, your organization’s infrastructure refers to the critical data systems used for operations. This term includes both hardware and software.

Common hardware infrastructure components:

  • Servers
  • Network devices
  • Computer systems
  • Uninterruptible power supplies

Common software includes:

  • Enterprise SaaS platforms
  • Specialized apps
  • Third-party business software, such as Microsoft Office 365
  • Accounting software
  • Antivirus programs

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How Does Cloud-Based Storage Work?

If you use a cloud-based storage solution, hardware resources are located in the operator’s data centers. Your organization pays to use its platforms, operating system, servers, and network hardware. Cloud platforms also offer software and applications, from security backups to business messaging systems such as Exchange Online.

What Does On-Premise Storage Involve for Enterprise Businesses?

With on-premise infrastructure, your enterprise must:

  • Purchase all hardware components
  • Install operating systems
  • Lease or create business management software
  • Maintain system security

Some businesses only need a single server, but many enterprises need to build and manage a dedicated data center complete with:

  • Cooling systems
  • Alarms
  • Cameras
  • Access control systems
  • Security personnel

What Are the Advantages of Cloud Vs. On-Premise Data Storage?

A large and growing number of businesses around the world are adopting cloud-based infrastructure. As of 2022, 60% of all enterprise data lives in the cloud instead of in-house data centers. There are important reasons for this shift in corporate information storage.

Storage and Processing Capacity Can Scale Endlessly

The data centers that host third-party cloud platforms such as Azure and Amazon Web Services are massive. This means that your enterprise can scale its storage needs effortlessly as the size of your operations grow.

Cloud storage can also handle a sudden shift in users or computing resources. This feature is useful for enterprises that need to hire a large number of workers for short-term projects or surge operations.

Access to Data Is Centralized

For large organizations still using on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers, email repositories and critical files may be spread out among several server locations — even in different countries. This complicates monitoring and compliance with regulations such as Europe's General Data Protection Regulation. An advantage of cloud vs. on-premise platforms is that you can keep company archives accessible at all times from any location.


Teams Can Collaborate From Virtually Any Location

Cloud solutions aren’t just for hosting company-wide email systems or archiving documents securely. They also provide computing resources for getting work done. Whether your organization has a proprietary software platform or uses a third-party SaaS platform, the cloud can support your operations around the world. Here are a few examples:

  • Sales businesses can instantly coordinate inventory management with the distribution arms of the network.
  • Hospital departments can connect seamlessly, such as ER, radiology, cardiology, and pathology, while keeping patient records secured per HIPAA guidelines.
  • Pharmaceutical enterprises can manage research and development, production, marketing, and biomedical engineering teams based in different countries.
  • Insurance businesses can coordinate offerings in diverse markets and regions, providing the same guidelines to all employees or brokerages.

This type of centralized business management platform is especially helpful for enterprises with remote workers or a hybrid workforce.

Cloud Providers Are Responsible for Compliance With Data Security Regulations

When you choose cloud-based data storage, you entrust cybersecurity for the cloud to the third-party provider. This is a good thing — if the platform is trustworthy. Fortunately, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google all follow rigorous industry cybersecurity standards:

  • NIST CSF and 800-series frameworks, cybersecurity best practices followed by the U.S. government
  • PCI-DSS for credit card security
  • HIPAA for protected health information

Microsoft’s budget for cloud security is roughly $1 billion annually. Few enterprises can come close to that kind of budget for in-house IT.

Costs Based on Usage Instead of Equipment Purchases

Another benefit of the cloud vs. on-premise infrastructure is that setting up your own data center requires a large capital investment. Cloud-based options are cost-effective, offering subscription-like services where you only pay for the storage space and computing power you need at the time.

Your Organization Doesn’t Have To Worry About Obsolete Hardware

Technology advances constantly, meaning that hardware and software can become obsolete relatively quickly. As an example, Exchange Server 2013 and older versions are no longer supported by security patches, and Exchange Server 2016 has already been replaced.

With cloud servers, your team doesn’t need to handle security patches, OS upgrades, or hardware replacements. Everything is "plug and play."

Offsite Data Storage Provides Benefits in the Event of Natural Disasters

Last but not least, housing company archives and infrastructure on the cloud can protect core processes and data if natural disasters strike. Thanks to redundant servers and data centers around the world, cloud-based backups aren’t as vulnerable to flooding, tornadoes, or lightning strikes — though temporary outages do happen on a rare occasion.

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When Is On-Premise Data Storage a Good Solution?

For some businesses, the balance of on-premise vs. cloud storage swings toward in-house servers.

Enterprise Cybersecurity Management

Not all enterprises feel comfortable trusting a third party to coordinate cybersecurity — even when it’s Microsoft or Google. Operating an on-premise data center allows IT departments to control every aspect of system access, security credentials, and data handling. Some defense contractors and companies with highly sensitive materials choose this route.

Walled Network

Another downside of the cloud vs. on-premise servers is the ability to create a closed network where system devices stay within the company’s platform for internal communications. For example, you can filter incoming emails for cybersecurity and check outgoing messages for proprietary information. External software and VPNs can still introduce vulnerabilities through the supply chain, however.

Hybrid Infrastructure

Choosing where to host your company’s files, tools, or software platform doesn’t need to be a black-and-white decision. Some enterprises opt for a hybrid approach. They take advantage of the benefits of the cloud for the majority of business operations but also maintain a smaller data center with the most sensitive organizational records.


What Factors Can Help You Decide?

Investing in a trustworthy data infrastructure is more important than ever before. Some factors to consider include:

  • Size of your current in-house IT team
  • Costs of building data storage facilities, powering, and maintaining servers
  • Responsibilities of following strict NIST CSF standards for on-premise servers
  • Update frequency and the feasibility of keeping up with necessary server infrastructure patches
  • Possibility of human error introducing vulnerabilities to on-premise systems
  • Need to monitor onsite employees for data theft, accidental deletion, or deliberate corporate sabotage attempts

After carefully considering the pros and cons, you may discover that migrating to the cloud is the right choice for your enterprise in terms of productivity, efficiency, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

How Complex Is Onboarding to the Cloud Vs. On-Premise Systems?

If your enterprise hasn’t made the jump to the cloud due to the cost or complexity of migrating your systems from a legacy Exchange server, we have intelligent solutions. At Cloudficient, our team has extensive experience and state-of-the-art tools to streamline data migration to Office 365 and we’re happy to provide detailed information on cloud vs. on-premise systems.

With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.

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