On-Premises Vs. Cloud Storage: Which Is Better?

On-Premises Vs. Cloud Storage: Which Is Better?

What’s better: on-premises or cloud storage? Regardless of the industry you’re in, your business most likely relies on data in its daily operations. While many established companies are considering transitioning from on-premises storage to the cloud, newer companies also wonder if they could benefit from investing in on-premises storage.

Both options offer unique advantages, but to choose the best option for your organization, you need to learn about the differences between on-premises and cloud storage and how they work with your business. Before you make a decision, make sure you are fully aware of the needs of your business and the trade-offs of on-premises vs. cloud storage.

What Is On-Premises Storage?

“On-premises storage” is when data is stored on local hardware, such as servers, computers, or other devices. For example, if you purchase a server and set it up at your office, you and your team can store your data on that server. Because the server is locally operated, it is considered on-premises storage, sometimes known as “on-prem storage.”

With on-premises storage, you own all the equipment, and you are responsible for both the maintenance and costs for your storage hardware. You also need to keep up with any software and license updates to ensure your systems are secure and efficient. 

Benefits of On-Premises Storage

On-premises storage offers many benefits over cloud storage. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider on-premises storage for your business:

Increased security

With the rise of data breaches, many businesses are concerned with protecting their data from hackers. In the first half of 2020, data breaches exposed 36 billion records.

On-premises storage makes it impossible for remote hackers to gain access to your data. By keeping your data offline, you can deter cybercriminals from trying to infiltrate your system, as many hackers prefer remote access for convenience and less risk of being caught.

Offline usage

The most unique benefit of on-prem storage is that it can be used without connecting to the internet. If you’re worried about reduced productivity due to an unstable internet connection, on-premises storage creates an internal network that is accessible anytime, even if your systems are offline.

Reduced internet costs

By storing your data offline, your business can save on your monthly internet bill. On-premises storage eliminates the need for super-fast internet just so your team can access files. That way, you can opt for a more affordable internet plan that meets the more basic online needs of your organization.

Disadvantages of On-Premises Storage

Although on-premises storage can be convenient, it is not the most cost-effective solution for every organization. Some of the downsides of on-premises storage are:

High maintenance costs

The cost of buying a server and any necessary software can run in the thousands. That doesn’t include paying to set up your storage hardware, which can become costly if you need extra IT support to get everything running. If you have an internal IT team, they will have to dedicate their time to maintaining the on-premises storage and ensuring its security, taking their focus away from the other IT needs of your business.

Difficulty with scaling

On-premises storage requires that you have physical storage onsite, so scaling up your business requires more planning. If you need more storage space or if you are opening a new office, you will need to install new hardware and have IT experts build the new system. This process can be both time-consuming and expensive for a growing business.

Increased risk of data loss

With on-prem storage, if your system malfunctions, you could lose your data forever. The risk of ransomware makes this an even greater concern. If a hacker infiltrates your system and locks you out, you’ll have to choose between paying the ransom or losing your data. And even if you do pay the ransom, there is the risk that the hacker will delete your files anyway.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage means your files are stored on external servers, typically managed by another company. Unlike on-premises storage, cloud storage allows you to access your data from anywhere, which is a huge benefit for businesses with remote workers.

In the past few years, cloud storage has become available for businesses of any size. To access your data, all you need is your device and an internet connection, making it simple for your team to stay connected.

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has a lot of advantages over on-premises storage. Below are some of the benefits of cloud-based storage:

Reduced Expenses

Cloud storage does not require you to purchase and maintain your own hardware. Because cloud storage is taken care of externally, you can eliminate any capital expenses that would have otherwise gone to equipment costs and installation fees for on-premises storage. Most cloud-based storage companies offer monthly subscriptions that allow you to pick specific features and leave unnecessary add-ons out of your plan to keep costs low.

Customizable for your business needs

With on-prem storage, you would have to install new hardware to increase your storage capacity, which can slow down your growth and make server access difficult in the meantime. But cloud storage is designed to grow with your business. If you want to add more storage to your plan, it only takes a few clicks and you can keep business going as usual.

Efficient data backups

Data loss can cost you both money and your business’s reputation. Cloud storage makes data backups a much simpler and often automated process, taking away the stress of having to remember to back up your files. If you have issues with your computer or lose any local files, you can trust that a backup has been saved on your cloud-based server.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

Although cloud storage can be a great option for many businesses, there are some disadvantages. Some of the drawbacks of cloud storage are:

Increased cost of scalability

While cloud storage makes scaling data storage with your business easy, costs can spiral out of control if you aren’t managing your storage. Because cloud storage is a consumption-based service, the more service your business needs, the greater the cost. To ensure that you don’t unintentionally upgrade your plan, you should delegate the task of managing your cloud storage to someone on your team who can keep you informed on your storage use.

Online-only access

Any sort of cloud storage solution requires a fast and reliable internet connection. A slow connection can make accessing files tedious or even frustrating for your team. And if there is an internet outage, you can completely lose access to important files, delaying your operations.

If your business has a lot of employees that need constant access to shared files, you might need to consider having an extra internet connection, e.g., wireless internet with an additional ethernet connection, to ensure your team can access your cloud servers.

Less secure data

Storing your files offsite can be a big convenience to companies who don’t want to invest in on-premises storage hardware. However, keeping your files on the cloud leaves your data vulnerable to being compromised. Not only are you trusting a third-party company with protecting your data, but your business could become accessible to remote hackers. Many major data breaches and ransomware attacks are caused by criminals who took advantage of cloud storage to infiltrate systems and infect them with malware.

A Third Option: Hybrid Storage

Many industries have recognized the unique benefits of on-premises vs. cloud storage and have opted for hybrid systems. By combining both storage options, you can have the best of both worlds. A hybrid option also allows you to customize your storage for the unique needs of your business.

For example, you could use cloud storage for your day-to-day needs so your employees can easily access files and use on-premises storage to store sensitive information, like customer data or intellectual property. Another option is to keep primary data in on-premises storage and use cloud storage as a reliable data backup.

Although hybrid storage can be more costly than committing to a single storage option, this approach can protect your business from unforeseen disasters. If a natural disaster destroyed your office, you could lose all the data that was stored on your local server. But if you have data backups stored on the cloud, you could easily restore any lost files and continue operations with minimal delays.

On-Premise Vs. Cloud: What Should You Choose?

Any approach to data storage has its pros and cons. On-premises storage can be costly but offers the highest level of security, whereas cloud storage is typically more affordable and can be accessed from anywhere. Hybrid storage is a great option for organizations that want the security of on-prem storage with the flexibility of cloud storage. When choosing between storage options, consider the unique needs of your business, both in the short- and long-term.

If you’re thinking about changing how your business stores data, Helixstorm can help you find the most cost-effective and secure storage for your organization. Our managed IT services can provide you with 24/7 support and peace of mind that your data is secure while still remaining accessible to your team. Contact us today to learn about how Helixstorm can support your data storage needs.