Regardless of the industry you’re in, your business most likely relies on data in its daily operations. In fact, a report from business intelligence and analytics firm, MicroStrategy, found that 94 percent of companies believe that data and analytics is essential to the growth of their business.
But where is the most efficient and secure place to secure this data? Do you store your company’s data with on-premise servers or do you secure that data in the cloud? This is a critical question for your company’s IT infrastructure.
In fact, we expect this will be a common question for small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario in 2023. With Microsoft Windows Server 2012 reaching its extended end-of-support data on October 10, 2021, many organizations will be looking at their data storage options.
Released in October 2012, Windows Server 2012 has entered its tenth year of service and has already reached the mainstream end date over three years ago, on October 9, 2018. Once the end of support is reached, Microsoft will stop providing technical support and bug fixes for newly discovered issues that may impact the usability or stability of servers running its products.
This means organizations that use Windows Server 2012 will have two options:
- Those who want to keep their servers running and still receiving bug fixes and security updates will need to upgrade to Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019;
- or users can instead make the transition to cloud storage.
In this blog we’re going to take a quick look at what both on-premise and cloud storage is, as well as the pros and cons of each to help your Ontario-based business make an informed decision on data storage.
What is on-premise storage?
On-premise storage, also known as “on-prem” storage, is when a company’s data is stored on local hardware. This could include servers, computers and any other devices that your organization uses and stores data on. In many cases, a business will purchase a physical server and set it up in their office for their team to store data.
With on-premise storage, a company physically owns the server and it is hosted within the company’s IT infrastructure. Typically, the server is controlled, administered, maintained and procured by either the company’s in-house IT team or an outsourced IT partner.
The pros of on-premise storage
Increased security: While cloud storage providers do secure their data centers, on-premise storage gives your business the opportunity to enhance your cybersecurity measures. In fact, when your on-premise storage is offline you’ll deter cybercriminals away from targeting your business, since they typically prefer to target servers with remote access.
You can access data offline: One of the major benefits of on-premise servers is that businesses can access their data without the internet. This means that if organizations lose their internet connection, employees will still be able to access and use critical data. This mitigates the resulting loss of productivity that lost internet causes.
Lower monthly internet costs: When organizations don’t have to rely on the internet to access their data, they can also save money when it comes to their monthly internet costs. They won’t need to pay for the high-speed connections required to access and download data from cloud storage sources.
The cons of on-premise storage
High maintenance costs
In addition to the initial capital investment of purchasing your on-premise storage hardware, your business will need to consider the maintenance costs associated with on-prem. This will include additional hardware, software and licenses associated with upgrading and repairing the system. You will also need to replace hardware if you experience malfunctions, as well upgrade hardware to remain competitive.
You might need additional IT support
On-premise storage requires businesses to have IT staff on hand to maintain and manage the servers. This means your business will likely either need to grow its existing IT team, or work with an outsourced IT partner to manage the on-premise storage on your behalf. Either way, this adds additional costs for your business.
It might limit your company’s ability to scale
If your organization begins to grow and you need to scale up your IT infrastructure to support that, on-premise storage makes that difficult. Unlike cloud storage which can be scaled up with a higher-tiered pricing plan, on-premise storage requires new hardware to expand its size. This required time and IT resources from your business.
What is cloud storage?
With cloud storage, a company stores its data on external servers hosted by outside service providers. The data stored on cloud servers can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, as long as your organization has both a device and an internet connection.
With cloud storage, the cloud provider procures, installs and maintains all hardware and software associated with its cloud servers. Businesses pay a monthly fee to access these servers, based on the amount of data being stored and the number of users.
The pros of cloud storage
It’s more cost-effective in the short-term
Generally, the costs associated with cloud storage are lower than that of on-premise storage. In a cloud storage agreement, businesses simply pay a monthly cost, and none of the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining on-premise storage equipment.
Cloud storage is specifically designed to grow with your business. When an organization is ready to add more to its storage plan, they simply up the price plan that they are on with the provider. This is significantly easier than the process of purchasing and installing the new hardware that on-premise storage requires.
It’s managed by the provider
Cloud storage providers are responsible for the management of the hardware, software and servers themselves. Your business will have to worry about upgrades to network monitoring, as the vendor will look after this for you. This frees up time for your IT team to focus on tasks that truly drive value for your business.
The cons of cloud storage
It can be more expensive in the long-term
While with cloud storage you save on the initial fees associated with on-premise storage, the long-term subscription costs can end up costing your business more in total. This is particularly true if your business doesn’t manage cloud spend well. Cloud costs can easily spiral out of control when managed inefficiently.
Cloud security has improved over the last few years, but the cloud is still vulnerable to cyber threats which look to extract data from online programs. If you decide that cloud storage is the best option for your business, make sure to look for a provider that is renowned and has robust cybersecurity measures, such as multi-factor authentication.
You can only access your data online
The biggest issue with cloud storage is that, to access data, your employee requires a fast and reliable internet connection. A slow connection can make access files frustrating, and no connection at all means your team won’t even have the opportunity to access them. If you experience an internet outage, the productivity of your team will be impacted massively.
Are you interested in learning more about whether on-premise or cloud storage is best for your Ontario-based business? Get in touch with OT Group today. Our team of IT infrastructure specialists would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.