Cloud-based or on-premise? It’s a question that all tech-enabled businesses have asked themselves.
The truth is, there’s no simple answer. It will depend on a range of variables and the decision will rest on what’s most important to your business.
So, let’s look at 4 key points to consider, and how the two options stack up.
Cost – On-premise
Typically, purchasing and installing your own hardware will have a significant upfront cost. And, even once installed, servers will still require ongoing maintenance and support.
Cost – Cloud
Overall, cloud solutions (such as Microsoft Azure Cloud) are quick to set-up and their costs can scale elastically with the needs of your business. As maintenance is shared across many organizations, these fees are usually lower and bundled into your monthly bill.
Scalability – On-premise
To scale on-premise, you will physically need to increase the amount of hardware and space you use at your site. This can be fine if you know your business will scale slowly and predictably, and if you have plenty of free rack space.
Scalability – Cloud
If your resource demands fluctuate across the year, or you anticipate an explosion of growth in the near future, then cloud is the way to go. Increasing or decreasing your resource requirements can be near instantaneous. This ensures you don’t miss an opportunity or overpay unnecessarily.
Reliability – On-premise
The reliability and availability of your servers will be under your control. If maintaining availability and hitting five nines is a must, then you will need to build plenty of redundancy into your network. And this can get expensive.
Reliability – Cloud
With cloud, the vendor will take on the burden of keeping your services running 24/7. These guarantees are typically built into the service level agreements, and major suppliers will publish their stats. Microsoft Azure, for example, maintained a 99.995% up-time across 2019.
Security – On-premise
For on-premise information security will be down to you. If you have a team of white hat experts who love nothing better than hardening your network, this is probably fine. If not, then you might need to bring in extra help – depending on your risk profile. For example, for extremely sensitive information, on-premise may be a requirement.
Security – Cloud
With cloud, your provider will take care of cyber security. If you’re going with a big player, like Microsoft Azure, then you will benefit from the significant investment they have already made. Microsoft Azure, for example, have spent over $1 billion in security R&D and employ over 3,500 security professionals.
Making a decision?
Cost, scalability, reliability and security cover the biggest decision points you will need to review when considering on-premise versus cloud. But, there are many more nuanced decisions to consider with such a strategic move.
Technology Management Concepts have over three decades of experience helping business make these tough choices.
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