It’s one of the most hotly-debated business questions of the digital age: should your organisation opt for on-premise IT, or migrate to the cloud? From data storage to software and web hosting, the question is certainly fraught with possibilities.
While the benefits of the cloud – including quick set-up and ease of access – are well-publicised, its more traditional counterpart is left with fewer and fewer column inches. But that’s not to say on-premise IT can’t trump the cloud, as these three instances demonstrate.
1. Your business handles sensitive data
If your business generates sensitive or confidential data, you’ll need watertight security measures – and a great way to achieve this is via on-premise IT. While the best cloud service providers have first-rate, stringent security, some businesses may require specialist or customisable security options – and that’s where on-premise IT comes in.
While the cloud has a huge range of security options, on premise IT allows you to retain complete control of your security levels without the risk associated with third-party data handling. But that’s not to say on-premise IT is automatically immune from security breaches – to protect your data, you’ll need the assistance of experienced IT professionals in the set-up, maintenance and proactive management of your on-site servers.
2. Your industry is governed by strict regulations
Many businesses – including those in the financial and healthcare industry – must adhere to strict regulations for the handling and storage of data. On-premise IT not only gives you this control, but allows you to adapt as requirements change over time.
Financial compliance, for example, requires businesses to have tight control over the organisation of data within the server set-up, ensuring maximum security with encryption and allowing businesses to pinpoint specific data when needed. The Data Protection Act states that data should be properly classified, while robust authentication allows businesses to track exactly who has accessed data and when. These bespoke requirements are best achieved with on-premise IT, which can be designed and managed with specific regulations in mind.
3. You need instantaneous access to data
‘Data latency’ – the time it takes for you to access or store data – is another pain-point associated with the cloud. With complex virtual set-ups, latency (or speed) in the cloud suffers as data must ‘travel’ through convoluted routes before reaching the end user, whether that’s your staff using internal systems or your customers using web applications. If your data needs to be accessed instantaneously, on-premise IT certainly wins the battle.
When tackling the issue of data latency, ask yourself the question – how much has to go on behind the scenes to collect, interpret and deliver your data? On-premise IT ensures the answer is straightforward, with quick and easy data retrieval through direct routes. While the cloud cannot be manipulated to achieve low latency, on-premise IT allows your team to create a bespoke, effective system to serve your business needs.
Which is right for your business?
When weighing up the pros and cons of on-premise IT, remember the answer is always specific to your business. While some organisations will be well-suited to the cloud – which comes with a huge range of well-known benefits – on-premise IT is often best for businesses where security, industry regulations and data latency are a major consideration.