On Premises vs Cloud – Main Differences, Benefits & Risks


In today’s world, all sizes of businesses have IT setup whether it is handled on-premises or in the cloud. Hosting applications, data, software, and hardware have been the only way until cloud services have come into practice, and ever since there has been an exponential demand for these services. During the last decade, many businesses have already shifted their IT infrastructure to the cloud, and others consider shifting to cloud infrastructure models.

But, before making a decision, there are many variables that businesses should consider in order to choose the best fit for their organization and cybersecurity needs. In this article, we gathered the main differences, benefits, and risks of on-premise and cloud infrastructures, but first, let’s briefly explain what are on-premise and cloud infrastructures.

What Is On Premise Infrastructure?

What Is On Premise InfrastructureOn-premise infrastructure model refers to holding all applications, software, hardware, and data in an organization’s physical building. This traditional model has been the most relied on IT asset management. Since a business hosts all kinds of corporate assets and resources in-house, the maintenance and security of these resources are up to internal IT teams. In this model, third parties aren’t involved in any part of the integration, deployment, maintenance, and security processes of IT assets.

What Is Cloud Infrastructure?

What Is Cloud InfrastructureCloud infrastructure refers to working with third-party providers to host corporate applications, data, software, and server hardware. In this model, third-party cloud providers handle the maintenance of IT assets, and they are the primary supervisor of a business’s IT infrastructure. While using this model, all businesses even small business need to do is pay a subscription fee for the resources and services they employ, nothing more. Simply, everything is in the hands of third-party cloud providers, and this helps businesses scale up organizational operations rapidly and easily. Lastly, the only requirement for accessing corporate resources and data is the internet.

On Premises vs Cloud

When we examine on-premise vs cloud infrastructures there are two distinctive differences. First, using an on-premise model will increase the cost of the management of IT assets because you need to purchase software licenses, and in-house servers, and you need to find space to place your infrastructure. On the other hand, while using a cloud model you won’t pay any upfront costs because your IT assets will be stored in your cloud provider’s on-premise servers, and you will only pay for what you use.

On Premises vs CloudSecondly, while using an on-premise model, maintenance of your IT assets will be taken care of by your internal IT staff, and they need to deploy everything by themselves. To handle these workloads, your IT teams need to spend a lot of time, and their duties require expertise and experience. On the other hand, while using the cloud model, maintenance and deployment of your IT assets will be handled by your provider’s internal IT staff, and this will reduce your IT team’s workload.

Benefits Of On-Premise Infrastructure Model

The most important benefit of the on-premise model is data security. Hosting data in internal servers strengthens data security, and enables greater control over how organizational resources and data are being accessed and kept secure. Since everything is held in-house, the security of your data doesn’t require third-party involvement. Additionally, to access your resources and data, you don’t need an internet connection, and everyone can access your resources and data manually.

Benefits Of Cloud Infrastructure Model

Benefits Of Cloud Infrastructure ModelFirst of all, the cloud model is cost-efficient, you don’t need to deploy server hardware or purchase software licenses. In this model, you only pay for what you use. Secondly, your IT assets will be constantly provisioned and monitored by your provider. The moment problems arise, your provider’s internal team will be there to fix them. Lastly, cloud models enable remote access to corporate resources and data regardless of location.

Risks of On Premise Infrastructure Model

Since every IT asset is held in the physical building of your businesses, they can be exposed to fires, water floods, etc. These incidents can have severe damage and maybe destroy your whole infrastructure, and you can lose all of your data because the on-premise infrastructure model offers minimum data backup and limited data recovery. Additionally, as your business grows, scaling physical servers can be challenging and costly. Lastly, when problems arise, your team will be on their own to fix them, and if your team lacks expertise and experience, your whole system can shut down or face long hours of downtime.

Risks of Cloud Infrastructure Model

Some cloud providers might have poor security hygiene and this can lead to data breaches. Your business has no control over the security of your resources and data. In the event of a cyber attack, your team can’t intervene. Additionally, when your cloud provider doesn’t comply with compliance requirements, your business can face severe penalties and compliance fines.

Risks of Cloud Infrastructure ModelFor example, if your business operates in the healthcare sector and your provider violates a requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), depending on the severity of this violation, HIPAA authorities can apply fines of up to 1.5 million dollars. That’s why your cloud provider must be compliant with the laws that apply to your business.

Last Words

On-premise and cloud infrastructure models have their pros and cons. To decide which is best for your organization you need to consider different variables and your security needs. If either one doesn’t fully meet your needs, you can adopt a hybrid approach where you use both on-premise and cloud infrastructures.



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