A Comparison of On-site versus Cloud-based Servers

Good news: your business has outgrown its server—maybe due to unprecedented growth, carefully planned expansion, or outmoded resources. Regardless of the reasons, you have exhausted your current server, and it needs to be replaced.

The inevitable question follows—do I use a cloud-based server or go with a traditional on-site server instead?

As the decision-maker, you must select which server arrangement serves your business best. By making the right decision, you will save your business time and money. The good news is that there is not a “right and wrong answer.” Both options are valid. It is really just a question of which option makes the most sense for your organization.

The following is a comparison of the two alternatives:

The first contender: On-site Servers

If you recall, the Cloud wasn’t even a feasible option for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) a couple of years ago. As a result, historically, SMBs have utilized on-site servers to host applications, document sharing, emails, and other office essentials. Sure, an on-site server isn’t the latest technological solution for data storage; however, that doesn’t mean you should not consider it.

The benefits of an on-site server

When your server is on-site, you have complete control over it—no third-party has access to your information. Additionally, access to any of your data does not require an internet connection, unlike a cloud-based server. You also don’t have to depend on a cloud-based server for security, and you can find a solution that is tailored totally to the requirements of your business. You can update your server to address the issues of your organization as it changes or develops, and you won’t pay hosting charges every month.

The disadvantages of an on-site server

An on-site server requires sizable starting capital for hardware and software, and it also requires a dedicated space at your office for a server room or rack space. You will have to pay for, at least, a dedicated IT support team, and you will be in charge of the expenses connected with restoring license of software and upgrading hardware. Much data can be lost in disaster situations, and no uptime guarantees can be made for onsite servers.

The second contender: Cloud-based servers

A cloud-based server does not require as much internal IT costs, so a cloud-based server could save money for your business. Importantly, with a cloud-based sever, your level of stress is reduced.

The benefits of a cloud-based server

A cloud-based server is especially helpful for organizations that can’t bear the cost of a dedicated IT staff. There is no need for onsite hardware, and the cloud option is quite suitable for growing companies who are likely to outgrow their infrastructure more quickly. Another advantage of a cloud-based server is that it offers an easy scalable solution that can be altered to meet the changing requests of your business. By implementing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy at your organization, employees can connect from anywhere using their own devices. Unlike with on-site servers, data will be auto saved at an interval of 15 minutes and can be retrieved if disaster situations encounter.

The disadvantages of a cloud-based server

A cloud-based server requires a reliable internet connection, which can be limiting. For instance, if internet access is down, you won’t have access to your server. Of course, the cloud is incredibly secure; however, if your organization handles sensitive matters (particularly financial information or health records), then you may hesitate to make a switch, as third-party cloud services will have direct access to your information too. Finally, when considering a cloud-based server, you must take into consideration the hosting charges every month—ensure your business is ready for that cost.

The verdict: On-site versus Cloud-based servers

An on-site server gives you physical control over your server, and it can be made to meet the particular requirements of your business. It additionally keeps basic information in-house. Yet, the overhead to set up the on-site server and the additional expense of maintaining it are sizable. You’ll most likely have to pay for a dedicated IT support team.

With a cloud-based server, you’ll appreciate improved adaptability over an on-site server, and it’s easier for businesses with small IT team. Choosing a cloud-based server could be a rewarding option for you, as many SMBs see an increase on their return of investment (ROI) when they choose the cloud.

In the end, the answer to this debate relies on your business’s specific needs and the resources available.

Can a hybrid model work out well?

As you’ve now seen, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages with each server management system. However, don’t forget about the latest trend in IT: a hybrid model, a mix of both on-site and cloud-based servers.

If you think your organization is not ready for everything to be on the cloud, then a hybrid model may work best for you. This allows you to keep the most important data in-house, while also taking advantages of the latest latest technological solution for data storage.