The debate between cloud computing vs on-premises solutions has been a hot topic of discussion within businesses that are looking to make the most of their technologies. Both options offer unique benefits, but can also come with disadvantages which make it challenging to determine which one is best suited for your business needs. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what is cloud computing, what is on premise computing, and the differences between them, with a focus on cost efficiency, accessibility, installation, control and external factors. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of which solution is right for your business.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of IT services – including servers, storage, databases, software and networking – over the internet. It allows you to access on-demand computing resources without the need for physical infrastructure or maintenance. In simpler terms, cloud computing is like renting storage and services from a third-party provider, rather than owning and managing them yourself.
What Is On-Premises?
On-premises, also known as on-prem or on premise computing, refers to software, services or infrastructure that is physically located within your own premises. This means you have complete ownership and control over all aspects of their IT systems, including hardware, software and data. But on-premises solutions can be costly and time consuming to maintain, and limiting if you are looking to scale your resources.
Cloud Computing Advantages
Whether you are a small start-up or a well-established enterprise, there are plenty of meaningful advantages to making use of cloud services. As a trusted Cloud Service Provider with over twenty years of experience, we at Solid Systems have seen first-hand how cloud computing can revolutionise business operations. Here are just a few of the key benefits that you can expect:
• Cost Efficiency
One of the primary advantages of cloud computing is the impact that it can have on your bottom line. Cloud services are usually offered on a month-to-month subscription basis. This means that you only pay for what you use, and there is no need for large upfront investments in expensive hardware, software licenses or IT infrastructure. This makes cloud computing an attractive option for businesses of all sizes, since it’s not only easily affordable, but allows you to rely on a predictable monthly spend.
• Scalability and Flexibility
One of the most significant advantages of cloud computing is its inherent scalability and flexibility. With on-premises solutions, if your business grows or shrinks, you might need to invest heavily in additional hardware or face the inefficiency of unused resources. But with cloud-based services, you can easily scale your resources up or down to match your business needs. This flexibility means that you can react quickly to changes and adapt your IT infrastructure as your business needs evolve.
With cloud storage, data and apps can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that your humans can work remotely and collaborate on projects in real-time, improving teamwork and productivity. Plus, they can access their files from any device they choose, whether it’s a desktop computer or a mobile device. This is an especially useful with remote work and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies rising in popularity.
But cloud storage isn’t the only cloud computing functionality that benefits from accessibility. Having your infrastructure, servers, network, and software stored in the cloud makes it easier for your teams to not just access the data and files that they need to do their jobs, but also to install, manage and update the programmes they use on a daily basis. IT departments can roll out updates across your entire business, ensure everyone is using the same software versions, and troubleshoot issues, all without having to physically interact with every device.
• Easy Installation
Cloud services are quick and easy to set up compared to on-premises solutions. There’s no need for extensive hardware installation, and software updates can be installed remotely without disruption to your business operations. This means that you can get up and running with a new cloud-based solution in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks or months.
On-premises solutions, on the other hand, on-premises solutions often require significant planning, resources, and time to implement. This can be a major inconvenience for smaller businesses, as it means diverting time and resources away from core business activities.
Another advantage of cloud computing vs on-premises is its ease of maintenance. Any technology system requires regular hardware servicing and software updates. When you’re using on-premises computing, that all falls to you to organise and orchestrate, resulting in a lot of time being spent on maintenance, which takes your internal IT team’s focus away from your core business goals. But cloud-based solutions are maintained by the service provider. This is where a trusted Technology Management partner like Solid Systems comes into the picture. We ensure your systems are always up-to-date and functioning optimally, without you having to worry about any technicalities. This not only saves time and resources for your in-house IT teams but also reduces the risk of downtime, leading to enhanced efficiency and productivity.
Where Cloud Computing May Not Be The Right Fit
With all of the advantages that cloud solutions have to offer, there are some businesses that are better suited to on-premises solutions.
First and foremost, if your business deals with sensitive information, its security and privacy is going to be your primary concern. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be using cloud services for its storage but, for example, you may need to consider private cloud rather than public, which boosts the security of your data, but comes at a premium. This can hamper the cost effectiveness that most cloud computing solutions would offer.
Next, cloud computing is reliant on internet connectivity. If your office internet connection is unstable or slow, it can impact the efficiency and productivity of your operations. And when your humans are working from their own homes, you suddenly have more internet connections to worry about, since you need to make sure that each of them has the resources to access the files they need to work effectively.
Finally, migrating to the cloud can sometimes involve unforeseen costs and complexities. Although cloud services are generally more cost-effective in the long run, the initial transition can be expensive, particularly if you have complex legacy systems to integrate. Plus, you shouldn’t forget that training your teams to effectively use cloud-based systems can also take time and resources.
While many businesses are making the move to cloud computing, on-premises solutions are not without their advantages, which should also be carefully considered.
• Absolute Control
When you use cloud services, your cloud provider manages their servers and infrastructure in the best way to suit the majority of their customers. And while this is definitely an advantage in terms of freeing up your time and resources, some businesses may feel more comfortable maintaining complete control over their IT systems. With on-premises solutions, you can control your security, compliance, and system performance according to your unique needs. You also have direct access to your servers and can make real-time adjustments as needed. This granular level of control might appeal to businesses that deal with highly sensitive information or those that require specific configurations that cloud providers may not be able to easily accommodate.
• No External Factors
With cloud computing, your provider is in control of when their servers are going to be down for maintenance, how data on their infrastructure is structured, and more. When you’re managing your own systems, you have greater control over potential external factors. You’re not reliant on the security protocols of a third-party provider, and you aren’t at risk of being impacted by their technical issues. With your own dedicated servers and systems, you can be sure that your sensitive data is safe and accessible only by those with authorised access. Plus, if you do experience any system problems, you can respond to them immediately, without having to wait for a third party to resolve them.
• Long-Term Cost Efficiency
While cloud services can be more cost-effective in the short-term, since there aren’t any initial setup fees, some business prefer to maintain their on-premises solutions, seeing them as more cost efficient in the long run. There’s a significant initial expense involved in purchasing and setting up your own servers, but once they’re operational, the ongoing costs can be relatively low. You’re not locked into a subscription model as you would be with a cloud service, and you’re not at risk of price increases that may be imposed by your cloud provider. This being said, it’s important to also bear in mind the maintenance fees, upgrades to your infrastructure, and the time that your IT team will need to spend on maintaining your on-premises solutions.
Where On-Premises May Not Be The Right Fit
While on-premises solutions may hold some advantages over cloud computing, they are not without their drawbacks. And these are drawbacks that cloud services often address, which is why more and more businesses are switching to cloud solutions.
On-premises computing requires a significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and the necessary infrastructure to support your systems. And the responsibility for managing and maintaining those systems can drain your IT resources, potentially diverting them from more strategic, value-adding tasks.
Then there’s the fact that on-premises solutions can often lack the flexibility and scalability offered by cloud-based services. Upgrades can be expensive and time-consuming, and it can be challenging to adapt your system to meet changing business needs quickly and effectively.
Lastly, on-premises solutions might pose higher risk in terms of disaster recovery. In case of a breach or system failure, the recovery can be slower and more complicated compared to a cloud-based system.
How To Choose Which Solution Is Right For Your Business
So, in the question of cloud computing vs on-premises, which is best for your business? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision ultimately depends on your needs and goals.
If you are a small business with limited resources and require flexibility in terms of cost and accessibility, then cloud computing may be the way to go. With a reputable cloud service provider like Solid Systems, you can trust that your data will be secure and easily accessible from anywhere in the world.
On the other hand, if you have highly sensitive information or specific configurations for your systems, then on-premises solutions may be the better choice. With full control over your own servers and systems, you can ensure the utmost security and customisation for your business needs.
It’s also important to consider the cost implications of both options. While cloud computing may offer initial cost savings, on-premises solutions can provide long-term cost efficiency, as you won’t have to pay recurring fees to a third-party provider.
Ultimately, it is recommended that businesses seek the guidance of an experienced technology management partner like Solid Systems when making such a critical decision. With over two decades of experience in both cloud computing and on-premises solutions, we can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your specific business needs.
If you are considering the question of cloud computing vs. on-premises and are looking for experts in the field to offer guidance or help you on your cloud migration journey, schedule a free consult with our Sales team today.