Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

4 considerations for the on premises vs. cloud debate

Having the on-premises vs. cloud debate in your IT department? Don't overlook these four considerations.

Persistent Memory at Madrid_blog_532649593.jpgToday, IT managers in almost every industry face a basic question: Should you store information on premises or in the cloud?

When evaluating each approach to storage and determining which option best suits your business, it's important to understand that each approach has its own advantages. Also under consideration? Hybrid IT infrastructure, a solution that blends the two to balance flexibility and control.

Even if you've committed to a Hybrid IT approach, you still need to weigh everything from security concerns and regulatory guidelines to speed and bandwidth issues to make an informed decision about what goes where. Here are four considerations to help you determine the right-sized solution for your organization.

1. Address data accessibility

Accessibility is a key factor when deciding where you should store a specific workflow and, by extension, the data used in it. For instance, you should ensure that regularly accessed files included in critical processes are readily available, while you may also need to retain other, less-used files for archival purposes.

Assessing this information allows you to identify which data you should store on site for fast access, and which you can store in more cost-efficient, cloud-based repositories. Start by using a scanning tool on the network, shared drives, and local storage to classify documents based on their size, when they were last accessed, and frequency of access. Then, you can map files to users and processes to determine where you should store them.

2. Research regulatory compliance

If there's one area that gets under the skin of business and IT leaders alike, it's regulatory compliance. According to a National Small Business Association survey, one third of small businesses said that they spend more than 80 hours a year complying with federal regulations alone.

Certain sectors like healthcare, finance, and retail face especially tight regulations regarding how they manage and protect data. When regulatory limitations require a high degree of control over data, you might opt to store that information on premises. Regardless, make sure you understand which regulations apply to your business so you can adjust your security and storage practices accordingly.

3. Stay up-to-date on security

Privacy concerns force many IT managers to keep certain types of data in private internal networks. When highly sensitive information is at risk, you may feel more secure storing it on-site and under your team's control. However, you can also opt to use specific, cloud-based plans with sophisticated security tools, especially if these plans prove more budget-friendly than procuring in-house tools.

Research any and all security concerns you encounter. If they stem from specific compliance guidelines at the industry or client level, they may affect your decision. Staying up-to-date on which storage options are and aren't secure will go a long way toward assuaging your security fears. Most cloud providers, for example, will provide systematic information on their security standards, as well as independent audits verifying their people, processes, and tools.

4. Assess latency requirements

Businesses are increasingly relying on collaboration tools for everything, from video calls and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), to working with colleagues in real time on shared documents.

While software solutions purport to offer easy-to-implement tools, IT managers know that without the right latency and processing power, collaboration platforms can cause more headaches than they fix. You need to design and build your IT infrastructure with this in mind, provisioning an adequate amount of bandwidth and processing power, as well as enabling low latency, to support video and audio files.

Choosing between on premises and cloud storage is a significant consideration for your business. Combining the two often enables businesses to capture the agility and cost savings of cloud-based solutions while retaining the control and fast access of on-site information. By assessing usage and needs at the workflow and specific process level, your IT team can design a hybrid infrastructure that supports your company's unique needs.

Looking for the latest information on technologies that are transforming small businesses? Look no further than Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Worldwide SMB 2019 Predictions.

Ready to take the next step? Check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies Guide. Because there are no "dumb" questions!

Or are you ready to purchase? Visit the HPE Store.

Robert Checketts
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


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About the Author


Robert has over 25+ years of IT Marketing and Product Management leadership experience spanning country, Regional and WW organizations. Robert is a marketing executive with extensive experience in field marketing, channel marketing and product marketing on a global basis and is driven to deliver SMB’s end-to-end affordable infrastructure that’s secure from the start, optimized for every workload, packaged for many consumption models, ready to scale, and easy to manage.