You’ve likely heard that cloud-based systems are the future of computing. And with a 2017 public cloud market size of $130 billion for the U.S. alone, this is hard to argue. Cloud systems offer unprecedented levels of reliability, efficiency, and data availability that few on-premise systems are capable of matching, but there are drawbacks to the cloud that you’d better know before committing to a provider. Let’s review the pros and cons of the cloud vs. on-premise solutions.

Cloud Benefits

Cloud-based architecture can be ideal for SMBs.

  • Affordability – Cloud solutions offer significant IT cost savings to small and medium businesses, allowing them to reduce capital expenditures and ongoing expenses associated with running on-premise solutions.
  • Reliability – Naturally, the cloud provides 24/7 system availability and continuous data backups to protect your company’s assets and minimize downtime.
  • Scalability – Unlike bulky investments in on-premise hardware, cloud-based microservices easily scale with your company.

Which Cloud Solutions is right for you?

Cloud Drawbacks

Despite its well-documented advantages, the cloud does have some drawbacks.

  • Cost Scaling – Cloud computing services are quite affordable for SMBs, but as companies grow, these prices can quickly grow out of hand. Most enterprise organizations require a blend of the cloud and on-premise solutions.
  • Public Security – Unfortunately, public clouds are common targets for hackers. While all cloud providers implement industry-specific security standards, vulnerabilities may still exist. Make sure your cloud MSP is rigorous and transparent about how they handle security.

On-Premise Benefits

Tried-and-true on-premise architecture does feature some advantages over the cloud.

  • System Control – With all servers, assets, and personnel in-house, business owners retain complete control over their IT systems.
  • No Vendor Lock-In – If your company switches between cloud MSPs, you’ll need to go through the hassle of migrating all your information onto a new server. Housing your servers on-premise means you won’t have to worry about these types of contracts.

On-Premise Drawbacks

And finally, the drawbacks of on-premise architecture.

  • Up-Front Costs – The up-front capital investments required for secure on-premise architecture is often too costly for SMBs to bear.
  • Staffing Requirements – If you’re keeping servers in-house, you’ll need personnel such as IT administrators to oversee your system.
  • Licensing – Cloud licensing is simple, as it’s usually included in the service package. However, organizing all necessary software licensing for in-house architecture can get complicated fast.

Which Is Better?

In truth, there is no “better.” On-premise systems offer control; cloud-based solutions offer scalability and reliability. But there’s a reason Deloitte predicts that global spending on IT-as-a-service will crack $500 billion by the end of 2018. The cloud offers benefits that companies can’t find elsewhere. Look at your company and consider whether a migration to a cloud-based framework makes sense for your system.

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Ludovic Levivier

Founder & CEO, LINC Project, INC. a Managed Service Provider in New York and San Francisco

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