A question I’m often asked by clients, is “where should I store my business data?” To which my answer it always the same…..”it depends”….. to which is often followed up by the next question, which is “which is the most expensive?”, to which my answer is, yes you’ve guessed it….”it depends”……
To anyone who knows me, they will know I’m not one who pushes one approach or the other – I take a balanced view, and having listened to their needs/wants/expectations from a budget, I put myself in their shoes before making my recommendations.
By keeping your data on premise, it means, you will have to:
- Purchase your own hardware & software (either by CAPEX investment or spreading payments (typically over 36, or 60 months) on a lease purchase agreement
- Housing this equipment (server) in your offices
- Manage & maintain this infrastructure
- Over the lifetime of the equipment, fund any additional storage/processing requirements
- Decide to manage the above with in-house expertise, or outsource to an IT service provider
The key advantages to this approach:
- Control – or, as I’ve heard if said before, you can tap the tin! As it’s yours, you decide where the data is, who manages it, giving you full control
- Security – when data is under your control and assuming you’ve taken reasonable security precautions, its harder for hackers to gain access
- Access – clearly, if all your employees are in the same office as the data, then no internet connection is required to access the data (that’s not to say you can’t access the data remotely as and when required)
The downsides to on premise solutions include:
- Some would say cost. I would counter that by saying you can mitigate this with a lease agreement to spread your payments, however, when you make a CAPEX investment into hardware & software, you are pretty much taking on a 5 year investment, which could also be viewed as a disadvantage (in terms of flexibility).
- Remote Access – again, I’d say that this is often a myth. Don’t think for one minute that you can’t work remotely when your data is stored on an on premise server, but its fair to say that cloud based solutions are better for this role.
So, moving your data to the cloud involves:
- Ensuing you have sufficient bandwidth (& resilience)
- Using remote servers/security appliances maintained by a 3rd party provider
- Buying the ever fluctuating amount of necessary bandwidth & storage
Advantages of cloud:
- No upfront CAPEX investment, just pay monthly, on the OPEX model
- Out of sight out of mind
- Flexibility – literally, turn on, turn off computing resources
- With increased flexibility comes increased risk. The supply chain required to run these services is greatly increased and out of your control. Now, you can elect for private cloud, as opposed to public cloud but point here is that by shifting your data outside your direct control means you’re losing elements of control.
- Uptime (& downtime). By this, we mean not only the up time of the service, but also, loss of internet means loss of data.
One final thing to add – do not confuse an on premise server vs a cloud server when thinking about SaaS products. This is where cloud computing services are bundled in with software, providing you with a fully managed, end to end solution at a fixed price. SaaS is a whole other topic (which I will cover later).
Still unsure? Well, fear not, as it’s simply a case of going through your key business goals and drivers. Once we have these established, finding the right strategy becomes a much easier task.
But do not think you have to choose one option or the other, as many companies decide that what is best for them is a hybrid (or dual) data storage solution where primary data is stored on their own server with backup versions stored in the cloud.
If you’d like to discuss your data storage requirements with us, then please contact us on 0203 968 1312, or email email@example.com – we’d love to help you make your IT work as it should.