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  • Writer's pictureMike Sullivan

Cloud or Server?

In our blog about outsourcing IT projects, we talked a little about how the pandemic changed the business landscape as many companies had to quickly adopt flexible and cloud based systems with a workforce based at home, rather than in the office. Those businesses that could quickly migrate to cloud computing often reaped the reward of staying one step ahead of their competitors but what are the advantages of cloud computing? And if you are running a small business, should you choose cloud or server?

At SquareCubed, we have helped many organisations in Yorkshire and Lancashire to migrate successfully to the cloud and have seen first-hand the benefits Microsoft Azure can offer small businesses in terms of flexibility, security, and mobility. Call us today to find out how We Can Help with moving your business IT into the cloud with full, secure access from the phone in your pocket!

Advantages and disadvantages of premises-based servers

Whether you choose cloud or server will depend on your business, industry and workforce, as well as any regulations or requirements from external bodies. Surprisingly, in an IT landscape that is dominated by conversation about the cloud and the advantages of cloud computing, there are still a few advantages to having a box in the corner or a server room!

  • You retain any critical data in-house, so third parties do not have access to your systems or information.

  • You can access your data without requiring an internet connection.

  • You have physical control of your server and who has access to any data you hold.

  • You can control software updates and implement them at a time of your choosing to minimise downtime and reduce the effect on work-in-progress.

However, alongside these benefits, there are disadvantages:

  • Upfront hefty capital investment is required for both infrastructure and IT hardware.

  • You will require physical space to house the server, including air conditioning to keep the server room cool, and dedicated IT support staff to manage it.

  • Your business may be more susceptible to data loss because of its physical location i.e. fire, flood, power cuts, break-ins. You will need a robust disaster recovery plan and secure backup protocols.

If you need to physically separate your IT system from external networks, for example in government, health, or financial industries, or if you work on technical prototypes where secrecy is paramount, then choosing an on-premises server may be the better choice for your business.

Why not contact us if you would like to talk through the cloud or server options for your business with a SquareCubed expert?

Advantages of cloud migration

So, what is the cloud and what are the advantages to your business? Cloud computing is based on access to software and hardware resources through the internet, rather than using that physical server in the corner we talked about in the section above. The computer on your desk is simply the gateway to access the software that you need rather than doing the processing itself. All the work is done on remote servers or cloud servers, and this is also where all the data is stored.

There is a range of major benefits to many small businesses of migrating to the cloud:

  • Cost: Unlike with an on-premises server, you do not have to invest in major hardware, facilities, upkeep, or employ highly skilled staff to run the system for you. In addition, there is typically a reduction in lifetime costs because you generally only pay for what you need.

  • Speed: Because your in-house computers are not running any software themselves, they are more efficient and can run more quickly

  • Mobility: Cloud access via smartphones and other devices means you can access your business data anywhere, at any time. Employees do not have to be based in one office location but can work from home or anywhere else. You are only dependent on the speed of the internet service. This mobility also offers immediate access to up-to-date information for both employees and clients.

  • Flexibility/freedom: Less time spent on IT problems means more time spent on the important operations in your business. Also, the on-demand nature of cloud computing means that if you need to scale up your business quickly, the solution is on-hand without risk, the need to buy more hardware, or invest in the expansion of your IT infrastructure.

  • Collaboration: Because you are not tied to any physical location, your team can collaborate on documents or projects, no matter where they are based.

  • Storage: Your business data is stored remotely, not on office-based computers, so it does not take up valuable space. You can access this data anytime and from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. With most cloud storage, you only pay for what you need, as and when you need it.

  • Security: Microsoft Azure offers a higher level of security than you could implement in your on-premises server, mainly because it has more resource to dedicate to it. Data is stored in multiple centres, not just one location. Also data transmission is encrypted, so your business data is protected from exposure.

  • Backups and disaster recovery: In the cloud, your business data can be backed up as often as every 15 minutes, so the risk of data loss is minimal compared with running daily physical backups on local servers. In the same way, restoring backup data from the cloud is simpler, more flexible and quicker than from physical servers.

  • Automatic updates: Software is updated automatically without having to purchase new versions or ensure their compatibility with your hardware or systems.

  • Advantage over competitors: All the benefits we have listed here can give you a competitive edge in the marketplace, because your business will have the agility to adapt to different trading circumstances or demands quickly and efficiently, within incurring prohibitive costs.

When thinking about the question cloud or server for your business, there are many advantages of migrating to the cloud. Although it may provide all these advantages while making your business more efficient and secure into the bargain, the actual process of cloud migration can seem overwhelming when moving from physical servers and it may not be straight forward.

At SquareCubed we are on your side and our experts are happy to answer any questions you may have on cloud or server. We can demonstrate the benefits of cloud computing and project manage the migration of your data securely and efficiently. If you are based in Yorkshire or Lancashire, why not call us to discuss your IT requirements and find out how our cloud service or managed IT support can help your business to thrive?

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