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Cloud vs. On-Premise vs Hybrid Storage

Does your organization need to store a lot of data? Are you considering cloud or on-premise file storage? Depending on your use case, you may have a genuine choice between cloud file storage and on-premise file storage. In most scenarios, organizations choose a combination of both.

All options—cloud, on-premise, and hybrid—come with distinct advantages and disadvantages. We’ll discuss a few of the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy in this blog. So, if you are struggling to understand the differences between the two, read on!

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The Case For On-Premise File Storage

On-premise file storage is good for organizations that want to own the hardware that houses their data. Similarly, it provides a bit more control over your data, infrastructure, access, and so on. You might want on-premise storage if you:

  • Are contract-bound to keep your data on-premise at all times
  • Have a legal obligation to store physical media
  • Have too much data to manage and must store it physically

 The main advantages of on-premises storage are:

  • Virtually zero cloud, internet security, or network issues will prevent access to your data
  • Tighter control over who has physical access to the data
  • Fewer overall points of vulnerability

Overall, on-premise data storage is easy to set up and maintain if you have sufficient resources. On-premise data security is tight, and for many people, controlling the hardware that their data is stored on is as important as controlling the data itself.

There are downsides to on-premise storage, of course. For one, the capital expenditure of buying servers and storage can add up quickly. Then, rent for warehouse square footage, utility bills, ongoing maintenance costs, and eventual upgrades all contribute to the operating costs.

Thus, on-premise storage is a great option for organizations that can afford large up-front costs—and who prize complete ownership and control of their data and where it’s stored. However, companies that want to minimize their CapEx, maintenance, and IT load may prefer cloud storage.

The Case For Cloud File Storage

Storing data in the cloud is generally more efficient to manage. After all, they’re simply on-premise systems somewhere else that someone else manages. That includes all of the operational maintenance, which takes even more off your plate.

More importantly, cloud storage offers a cost-effective way to improve data redundancy, accessibility, availability, and often, security.

With cloud-based file storage, you get:

  • More options for storing data efficiently without the hassle of managing hardware
  • More physical space in your facilities that you can use for other purposes
  • Better overall accessibility with options for accessing data from virtually anywhere in the world 
  • Ease of use allows greater redundancy for business continuity and disaster recovery scenarios
  • Control over who has digital access
  • Reduced capital expenditure costs
  • Easier and more efficient scalability
  • More options for monitoring access and tracking activity

The overall advantages that cloud has over on-premise file storage is convenience and efficiency. Being able to easily access your data from anywhere has huge advantages for smaller firms. It cuts down on the maintenance of a physical space to protect your data, and also helps preserve your data for long-term use.

Cloud storage options ensure you won’t need to worry about the long-term viability of your on-premise solution—the vendor will keep everything secure and up to date with the latest, most relevant technology.

Of course, there are downsides to the cloud. Every storage method has its security trade-offs, and nothing is 100% foolproof. For example, the OpEx is usually a bit higher because it rolls some of the hardware costs and maintenance into the price. Also, it doesn’t provide complete control over the infrastructure.

Nevertheless, what matters most is mitigating those trade-offs with strong security policies, processes, and procedures.

Hybrid Data Storage

Many organizations find that a combination of cloud and on-premise storage best fits their needs. Indeed, this does provide a “best of both worlds” scenario.

Then again, hybrid systems also bring together both sets of downsides into play. However, without the significant costs of hosting a full data center, the downsides aren’t quite as pronounced as they are with full on-premise storage solutions.

Final Thoughts

There are distinct advantages to both on-premises and cloud storage and security methods. But three guiding questions should point you to the solution that works best for you:

  1. What are your legal obligations?
  2. Which option is more efficient?
  3. Will either storage option still work for you in 10 years?

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