Is data safer in the cloud or on premises? Like so many IT questions, there is no absolute answer. The choice depends on a number of factors, such as the type of business, the criticality of data and applications involved, and the budget, among other things.
According to a recent KPMG report, roughly 30% of global senior executives still have concerns over privacy and loss of data, while 26% have concerns with security. This is a legitimate argument in favor of on premises data storage. On the other hand, the cost savings benefit of cloud services cannot be denied, the freedom of hardware constraints, on-demand functionality, and agility notwithstanding.
The on-premises versus cloud debate can go on and on unless decision makers have a complete understanding of the differences between each offering.
What the On-Premises Defenders Say
Security – Because infrastructure is on site, companies are able to have complete control of data. They make sure that the traditional data center is replete with physical servers, chassis racks, and cooling fans. Administrators can decide which data to keep and which data can leave the server room.
Compliance – Companies understand their business and, thus, know best what compliance requirements to abide by.
Support and Monitoring – While keeping staff around the clock can be costly, 24/7 direct support and monitoring and immediate response to priority incidents are assured.
Customization – Companies that run their data centers on premises can deploy, configure, and customize as they please.
Visibility – In the cloud, once data is generated or moved, it becomes difficult to determine where the data resides.
Latency – Latency within on-premises data centers and across private WAN connections is easily manageable.
What the Cloud Advocates Say
Security – Security is complex, costly, and must be provided 24/7/365. With their vast resources, the big cloud service providers (CSPs) can leverage the economies of scale to provide security that is superior to what companies can provide in-house. Further, multiple servers hosted in various locations can better safeguard data than several servers in a single location on-site.
Compliance – CSPs have well-trained teams devoted to compliance. Caution and due diligence should, however, be observed when evaluating the trustworthiness of the providers to make sure they themselves maintain a high level of regulatory compliance within their environments.
Support and monitoring – Reputable CSPs have the scale, size, and resources to provide non-stop monitoring. Companies can benefit from fewer disruptions, quicker recovery, reduced downtime, and cost savings.
Customization – Cloud-based solutions offer a variety of choices and configurable options limited only to what services the customer’s infrastructure can support, at a fraction of the cost of in-house customization.
Visibility – Most public cloud providers offer a spectrum of data center locations, allowing customers the choice of where their data resides.
Latency – With increasing migration to the cloud, latency and its unpredictability are becoming critical concerns for cloud users. Though a bit complicated, there are ways to measure latency so that appropriate remedies can be provided. One good solution is using dedicated connectivity to cloud providers such as Amazon’s Direct Connect and Windows Azure.
This apples-to-apples comparison of the common differences between on-premises and cloud data storage is not a complete guide for decision making. There are many more variables to consider depending on the company’s capabilities, priorities, and unique needs.
A balanced approach to deciding between on-premises or cloud storage would be to weigh each option and explore the hybrid model. If you need help selecting the right solution for your business, visit us at Copper State Communications.