When it comes to networking, today’s small-medium enterprises are faced with a difficult question: ‘Do we install our own physical server or opt for a cloud-based solution like Microsoft Azure?’
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for businesses to take. Where the benefits of Microsoft Azure are plentiful, some companies might find the benefits of an on-premise server to be more in-tune with their needs and some businesses benefit from a hybrid solution. Ultimately, the size of your business, the type of business you’re operating and the length of time you’ve been in business will influence your decision.
The pros and cons of Microsoft Azure
For startups, small business solutions like Microsoft Azure are ideal. Azure is cloud-based, which is great for new businesses as it means your server is an operational (ongoing) expense rather than a capital one. Most startups struggle with cash-flow, so Azure is perfect in that respect. It’s also fully scalable, which means you can easily alter your subscription to cope with demand as your business grows.
All Microsoft Azure data is stored in compliance with national and international regulations, making it a good choice for businesses operating in the finance or legal sectors. Data and content can be accessed rapidly across virtual machines, and users have the support of one of the world’s largest IT superpowers.
However, support and maintenance costs can soon add up, and connectivity is always dependent on having an internet connection. If you unexpectedly lose connectivity for a day, your business could struggle as a consequence.
The benefits of an on-premise server (and the drawbacks)
The one-off expense of an on-premise server could be cost-effective in the long run for larger businesses. One-time perpetual licences are generally less expensive than the ongoing cost of “Software as a Service” models like Azure. Does this mean that on-premise servers truly represent safety and value for money though?
Some company directors believe that when security is completely on-site, it’s safer. However, this is a misconception. Beliefs along the line of “I need to physically access my hardware to manage security” or “my assets are better protected on-site” simply aren’t true when compared to the security offered by cloud-based services.
In addition to this, organisations that invest in on-premise servers may find it hard to keep up with competitors in an era where many industries are making the move to the cloud. Couple this with the fact that physical servers have to be housed, be powered on 24/7, cooled via air-conditioning and replaced every few years, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) could be more than some people realise.
Ultimately, we’re moving into a world where even those with on-premise servers will want to avail themselves of some cloud-based security and availability features. In most cases, a hybrid solution can offer your business the best of both worlds.
If you’d like server advice tailored precisely to the needs of your business, why not get in touch with User One today? Our team are ready and waiting to assess your circumstances and deliver a solution you can trust.
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