Should I Use Cloud or On-Premise Storage? A Side-by-Side Comparison

David Eichkorn
Author: David Eichkorn Date: 12/08/2016

Most every business today generates an abundance of important information and documentation that needs to “live” somewhere to ensure its integrity and safety – either on servers right in the company location, or in the cloud on servers accessible via the Internet. Both are appropriate approaches but each benefits companies in different ways, depending on several factors, like company size, the types of information being generated, budget, the level of security required and other considerations.

So, how do you know which of these options is best for your organization? Below is a general overview of the features and benefits of on-premise and cloud, with our insights indicating which might be best in various situations.



If you want your employees to be able to access files from any location on any device, you’re going to want to look at the cloud to host your servers because it offers a more secure way to get what they need, when they need it. Typically on-premise servers require a little more legwork (and are somewhat more susceptible to security breaches) to get at those files.

When it comes to availability, cloud wins



Imagine this scenario: You grow your business and find that you need to add servers and storage capacity. When it comes to ability to add equipment and software, the cost to you to purchase it will likely be greater than if you were to use cloud services. That’s because cloud providers serve hundreds of customers and therefore can easily offer its customers the cost savings realized through economies of scale.

When it comes to budget, cloud wins.



When the equipment is yours – owned/leased and maintained – you can do just about any type of customization you need to make the system align with your business. You can integrate plug-ins, for example, that streamline your processes or add functionality. When your systems are in the cloud, on the other hand, you choose only from the options the provider is offering, so you may feel continually frustrated by not having everything you’d like.

When it comes to customization, on-premise wins.



Security is critical today in order to mitigate the risks associated with malware, hacks, spyware, data breaches and others. When your system is on-premise, the cost – in terms of both software and monitoring – can be very high and, if you don’t have someone on staff with up-to-date expertise in implementing and monitoring the system security, you could end up with a compromised system. Cloud security, on the other hand, is typically best-in-class, with the latest technologies (as well as 24/7/365 monitoring) in place at all times.

When it comes to security, cloud wins.



If you’re like most companies, you either have a person within the office who’s “other” job is to take care of your storage needs, though this person’s experience is probably modest at best. Or, you might have a team of I.T. people taking care of your storage needs, but their time is spoken for and generally takes several days, if not longer, for them to address issues assigned to them. That means when your system experiences issues, either you don’t have the expertise in-house or your in-house experts can’t make it a priority. Cloud storage, however, is monitored and maintained 24/7 by a team of experts whose sole job it is to ensure optimum uptime for your system – and are held responsible for achieving those numbers.

When it comes to maintenance, cloud wins.



Here’s where the differences are most clear when comparing cloud to on-premise. If your system is on-premise, you purchase or lease that equipment and when it malfunctions or becomes obsolete, guess who has to purchase or lease new equipment? You. Cloud storage, on the other hand, is essentially an ongoing subscription to the capacity and power you need, with no responsibility for buying hardware or ensuring its performance.

When it comes to cost, cloud wins.



Is your I.T. team available 24/7? Do they take vacations or have other priorities on their desks? As part of a cloud subscription, users also have the peace of mind knowing that support is available around the clock and offered by trained experts.

When it comes to support, cloud wins.

So is there a clear-cut winner here? Seems like cloud’s got all the advantages, but business technology providers like the Gordon Flesch Company offer hybrid options, where both on-premise and cloud storage are used because it’s what makes the most sense for the business. Some customers want their email server on-premise but use the cloud for their database needs, for example; others use on-premise servers for initial storage and leverage the cloud solely for backups.


What this blog post should tell you is this:

  • Cloud has many advantages over on-premise systems, yet on-premise also has benefits, primarily that of allowing greater customization
  • With the help of a business technology expert, you can leverage features and benefits of both cloud and on-premise to address your unique needs. This is considered a “hybrid” solution and works well for many businesses

To determine the approach that’s right for your business, get in touch with the Gordon Flesch Company and one of our experts will work with you to identify both short- and long-term I.T. goals, assess your current system and, finally, develop a practical plan that takes advantage of the technologies that fit your budget and provide the functionality, security, customization and scalability you need.

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Written by David Eichkorn

Throughout David's 20-year career in IT support and management for big and small enterprises, he’s helped executives all over the world. David implements technology in a way that allows it to be the driving factor in how an organization accomplishes its business goals.

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