Cloud data services are a cost-effective alternative to setting up and running a data center when storing and accessing massive amounts of your organization’s data.
A cloud storage service is a version of a data center that is not located on your company’s physical premises. It enables access to your business data via the internet. The cloud provider performs ongoing maintenance and updates, and often owns multiple data centers in several geographic locations to safeguard your data during outages and other failures.
A data center is server hardware maintained on company premises where you can store and access data through your local network. An in-house IT department typically maintains an on-premises data center.
If you’re deciding between using a cloud computing service and building your own data center, here are three factors to consider, along with the pros and cons of each storage solution.
A data center is ideal for companies that need a dedicated system to grant them total control over their data and hardware. Because only the company uses this hardware infrastructure, a data center is more suited for an organization that runs many types of applications and complex workloads.
However, a data center has limited capacity. You’re responsible for purchasing and installing additional equipment and the latest technologies if your company needs to expand the data center’s storage and workload.
A cloud-hosted data system has potentially unlimited capacity, depending on your vendor’s offerings and service plans. The disadvantage is that you have less control over the remotely located hardware, since the cloud vendor owns and manages the data center system.
Furthermore, unless you pay to have a private cloud within the vendor’s network, your company will share hardware resources with other cloud users.
With a cloud vendor, your company will entrust its data to a third party. It’s up to the cloud provider to ensure it has the most up-to-date security certifications. If your cloud resides on several data centers in different locations, each location will need the proper cybersecurity measures.
Anyone with the proper credentials can access your cloud data from anywhere with an internet connection. This is convenient, but it also opens a wide array of access points, all of which must be protected to ensure that data transmitted through them is secure.
A data center is physically connected to your company’s local network. This makes it easier to ensure that only people with company-approved credentials and devices can access stored apps and information. You are responsible for your own security, however.
If your company builds a data center from the ground up, that will take a lot of time, and your company will be responsible for the system’s maintenance and administration. Operating a large data center can cost a company $10 million to $25 million per year.
A cloud service is more cost-effective, especially for small companies. It does not require nearly as much time or money to set up and run. The cloud service is available for use almost immediately upon registration. As your company’s data needs change over time, the cloud vendor should be able to scale your service up or down. Most companies have a range of subscription plans to account for this.
Cloud storage has significant benefits, but it may not suit every business or industry. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of cloud storage.
Here are some upsides to cloud storage.
Like any tech solution, cloud storage also has some downsides.
The best cloud backup and storage solutions are scalable and let you back up files from anywhere with an internet connection.
Like cloud storage solutions, data centers have their pros and cons.
These are some advantages of using a data center.
If you use a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) configuration for your storage servers, you can create multiple redundancies that prevent data loss, or even have multiple disks acting as a single volume to deliver fast, high-capacity storage.
Data centers have some notable disadvantages as well.
Deciding between a cloud storage solution and an onsite data center comes down to choosing the option that best helps your business succeed with your available resources.
Many small businesses thrive using cloud storage solutions. Cloud solutions handle all aspects of data storage and hardware, so there’s no need for a highly technical IT team. Due to their scalability, cloud services are also an excellent choice for larger enterprises, web-based businesses and SMBs that are expanding quickly. Businesses concerned about disaster recovery may opt for cloud solutions because they offer a seamless way to recover data and applications.
Despite the benefits of cloud storage, many businesses with established on-premises infrastructure are served well by in-house data centers. If a company has an excellent IT department and prioritizes data ownership, control and security, an in-house data center could be ideal.
Hybrid solutions are an option for businesses that want the best of both worlds. With a hybrid model, a business could have onsite servers and use the cloud for backup and additional storage. The data center could run some applications locally and delegate others to the cloud. Highly sensitive information could be housed on company servers, while more public data could be processed quickly via the cloud solution.
Howard Wen and Sara Angeles contributed to the writing and research in this article.