Is it Time to Run my Business in the Cloud?

Are you a Small Business owner trying to decide between operating your business systems in the Cloud or investing in an on-premise server? The differences in costs, accessibility and security can make this decision feel stressful when all you want to know is which one suits your business better.

Well, worry no more as you can see the key differences outlined here so you can make an informed decision over which is right for your business.

How does the Cloud work?

Cloud computing software is hosted on the vendor’s servers – that is, on the internet. This means you can access the data you need via any computer, from anywhere.

If you go for the Cloud option, your company’s business systems will be kept secure and offsite. The data in the Cloud gets updated automatically so long as you’re connected to the internet. All the maintenance work is taken care of by the Cloud provider.

Cloud software ensures your business systems are interconnected and functioning as a whole. This is vital as one of its key features is providing real-time access to a variety of devices regardless of their location.  

How do On-Premise Servers work?

On the other hand, on-premise servers store your business data and systems locally, in your office, or possibly in an off-site data centre. If you consider everything that needs to be done on the cloud as external – implementation, the running of the system, maintenance work – then with these servers it’s all internal, everything needs to be taken care of in-house. But, with no third-party involved, you take complete ownership of your business systems, allowing you to customise them in whichever way you see fit.

Benefits

The Cloud:

  • No maintenance costs. The cloud servers will ensure all the upgrades and repair work is carried out by them, as well as handling compatibility.
  • Access from anywhere, anytime. Business systems can be accessed from anywhere via any device or a web browser.
  • High levels of security. As cloud services are aware that business owners are putting their trust in the server’s system, they invest heavily in keeping it secure, investing in industry-leading security measures that are beyond the affordability of most businesses.
  • Scalability. Cloud technologies can be scaled up as your business requires it. So, if you’re a small company you don’t need to worry about installing new software should your business start to grow.
  • Lower energy costs. Once you’ve moved to the cloud you’ll no longer need to power the environment that would be required for an in house server – such as electricity costs.
  • SAAS (Software as a service) Licensing. With this payment system you only pay for the services your business needs, on a pay-as-you-go basis.

On-Premise:

  • Complete control. As it’ll all be your hardware and software, any upgrades or configurations are done under your discretion.
  • Minimises the issues surrounding external factors. You won’t be reliant on an internet connection to keep your business systems in check.
  • Less recurring payments. You can pay for the Business software you need in one up-front payment safe in the knowledge that this cost has been dealt with.

Cons

The Cloud:

  • Internet dependence. Cloud software relies on an internet connection to keep your business systems productive.
  • Loss of control. Despite the high levels of security, you may still feel unsure about leaving your data in the hands of a third party.
  • On-going costs. While the initial set-up costs may be low you may feel that your business could do without the additional monthly cost.

On-Premise:

  • Responsibility for maintenance: You’ll oversee ensuring your business systems stay up and running. Should you run into problems it will also be left for you to deal with them.
  • Maintenance costs. If something does go wrong, you may need to cover the IT support required to fix it. Also keep in mind the costs of running a land server – not only does it take up power but space too.
  • Longer implementation times. The time needed to carry out installations on the local servers as well as each individual laptop/computer can slow down your productivity.

Summary

Both options have their pros and cons and there’s no ‘correct’ option here.

With the Cloud, you may have concerns about putting trust in a third-party to keep your business running smoothly and securely. It’s understandable. But with adoption rates for UK businesses reaching 88% in 2018 it may be time to make the change.

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