It’s not a stretch to liken your server to the heart of your business, because if it stops working… well, you can expect your operation to grind to a halt and all hope is left in the hands of your business continuity planning.
The fact that you need an effective and efficient server in order to run your business and keep your network and data secure and accessible to those who need it is not up for debate, but the decision whether to go with a cloud-based or in-house server infrastructure is a big question worth considering. There are pros and cons to both the traditional server and cloud computing, and we will go through the most important ones here.
Pro: Back-up is important and a cloud server can back data up as frequently as every 15 minutes, minimising the risk of any data loss in a disaster recovery situation.
Con: Access to the server relies on a strong internet connection, so if for any reason you lose connectivity, you also lose the ability to access your data.
Pro: Accessing systems from anywhere is possible for businesses that employ a remote working culture and want the ability to connect from anywhere using a company or personal device.
Con: Just like any other internet service, user experience is determined by the speed of your connection, so a connection that’s in a poor signal area or prone to interruptions could limit the quality of your service.
Pro: The service is scalable and you only pay for what you need. Cloud servers are completely flexible, so it can grow and adapt as/if your business changes.
Con: Up-time is a benefit some businesses are willing to pay more for, but if it’s not as important to you, you could find a cloud server more expensive than an in-house option, which won’t make sense of you are looking to curb your IT costs.
Pro: You can save money on on-site hardware and capital expenses. This is a big plus for fast-growing companies that don’t want to have to update their IT infrastructure too regularly.
Con: Privacy, cyber security and data protection are topics of hot debate around cloud services, particularly with the impending GDPR, as there’s some risk third-party cloud services could have access to your data.
Pro: On-site servers need space and very specific storage conditions, which means having to look at the suitability of your office space. With a cloud-based solution, you can pay for less office space or use the space you have more efficiently.
Con: Data ownership is another grey area that’s worth considering if the information your business relies on is confidential or highly sensitive. We’re not saying it’s not safe, but it’s a subject that’s been discussed openly by some cloud service naysayers.
Pro: Server maintenance is managed by your provider, so there’s no added up-keep costs or resource requirement on your side.
Pro: The server is in your office, so you’ve physical control of it, which might be important to your business or IT team.
Con: Space and maintenance appear on the cons too, because a server requires a designated area as well as IT support. That means employing in-house resources or an outsourced IT provider you can rely on for maintenance and helpdesk queries.
Pro: There’s no reliance on the internet, so access isn’t linked to connectivity.
Con: Managing everything in-house means capital investment in hardware and the infrastructure around it. That requires spend up-front and an ongoing IT budget to keep the show on the road long-term.
Pro: All data remains in-house, eliminating the risk of a third-party having open access to your information.
Con: The business will be responsible for running back-ups, so time and resources need to be prioritised to make sure it happens. There’s an additional watch out here too because it could leave you more susceptible to data loss, in the event of a disaster situation.
Pro: An in-house option might be more cost-effective if up-time isn’t a big concern and you’re already set up in terms of housing and maintaining your server.
Con: We mention cost saving as a pro when up-time isn’t a priority, but with no guarantee around that, it could also be considered a con, depending on your business.
As you can see, it’s not exactly black and white.
There are lots of considerations when choosing one solution over the other and to add another flavour to the mix, some businesses adopt a hybrid model, fusing the best of both worlds to create to a solution that:
- Reduces reliance on the internet
- Allows you to connect from anywhere
- Provides high levels of up-time
- Increases data security
- Provides adequate back-up
- Ensures strong business continuity planning and
- Offers robust disaster recovery
The good news is, whatever your preference, there’s a model to suit your business and it’s useful to know you don’t have to subscribe 100% to any one camp.
A good IT Service Provider or consulting service can help you decide what works best for your business and make light work of getting you up and running or updating your existing set-up to serve you better.
Get in touch with us to find out how we can help your business meet its IT needs for today and into the future and download our eBook on the Role of IT in Your Growing Agency: