On-premises servers have long been the choice for businesses when choosing how best to implement their network and backup solution. Since cloud technology was introduced, we are seeing more businesses move their local servers into the cloud and onto cloud-based servers. There are many reasons why this is happening.
Firstly, what is the difference between a cloud-based server and an on-premises server?
Cloud servers are usually held in large data centres and are accessed using an internet connection. Users of a cloud-based server are effectively renting the server space, rather than owning a physical server. A locally stored server is a server which you physically buy, own and keep on-site with you.
So why are more businesses choosing to go cloud-based over having their own server hardware on-site?
Cloud server infrastructure is usually paid for on a monthly basis with the amount depending on your requirements. On-premises servers either need to be paid for upfront or financed.
With on-premises servers, upgrading means paying more and more money for additional hardware as your needs grow. However, what happens if you wanted to downgrade if your needs were to decrease? You’d be stuck with hardware which is of no use to you. With cloud-based technology, upgrades and downgrades are handled by your cloud provider. They provide you with the additional hardware and decrease where necessary. Meaning the initial outlay of hardware costs and the ongoing maintenance and backup charges are not necessary either. The monthly fee you pay to have a cloud-based server covers all of this.
Running a locally stored server means 24/7 costs in electricity to your business. With cloud-based server technology, the data centre is responsible for all of these costs. You don’t have to shell out more and more money for ever-rising energy costs.
Cloud infrastructure from companies like Microsoft or Amazon meets far higher standards of compliance than locally stored servers, primarily due to cost restraints. By choosing a cloud provider such as Microsoft, you can be sure that your company data is secure. Data is held with a provider who offers verified compliance with international, regional and industry standards and regulations. Cloud infrastructure from the likes of Microsoft is designed to ensure that your company data is backed up regularly and easily restorable in case of issues, in a compliant manner. In a locally stored server, it would be your company’s responsibility to ensure that all the relevant industry standards and regulations were being met. Ensuring this of course can become expensive to initiate and maintain.
Cloud-based servers are easier to access
With on-site server technology, it is often the case that your employees must either be connected to your local network on-site or have to be connected to your server using a VPN. Neither is ideal if you want your employees to be able to work from anywhere at any time. Whilst connecting via a VPN may seem like the obvious solution, it isn’t always ideal. VPNs can cause connections to slow. They can make working from anywhere other than your physical location frustrating for your employees. This can certainly affect productivity in the long run.
With cloud-based server technology, your employees can adopt a true hybrid working model. Working from anywhere, at any time, wherever they have an internet connection. Cloud-based infrastructure is designed so that no matter whether your employee is sitting at an office desk at your location or halfway across the world at a conference, their experience is the same. With no connection slowing or loss of access to important files, they may need. Users are not restricted to accessing via a laptop or PC, Cloud services (like the offering from Microsoft) also include apps accessible on mobile and tablet devices.
Maintenance and Troubleshooting.
When a local server has an issue or goes down, it is likely that there will be a period of time in which your employees are unable to access their files. And, in some cases, their systems until the issues are fixed. With a physical locally stored server, this means finding an engineer with specialist knowledge of server technology to visit, diagnose, fix and restore that server. This can mean that the downtime for your business can run into hours, if not days.
With cloud-based server technology, data is distributed and stored in multiple locations. This allows maintenance to happen on these servers without you even realising it. The majority of issues with cloud-based technology can be resolved by contacting your provider or IT team. Issues can be managed and resolved remotely rather than through a site visit with minimal (if any) downtime.