Are on-site servers outdated?

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ServersFirst things first.

Investing in a server or servers to support existing tech infrastructure and host business-critical data is a decision every business needs to make at some point. That is if you want to ensure business continuity and increased uptime whilst your business is growing.

In addition, you also reap long-term benefits such as:

1. File and network security – When you have a server, you can create individual or group-user accounts. Then, you can assign rights to the data stored on your network to prevent unauthorised access (e.g. employee records should only be visible to you and/or the HR department).

2. Increased reliability – Many servers are equipped with backup power supplies that effectively decrease workflow interruptions. With a secondary power supply running in tandem, the loss of one of the power supplies doesn’t affect normal system operations.

3. Centralised data storage and shared resources – Since all business data is stored in one place, if one workstation fails, the files are still accessible from another workstation. Furthermore, all files are updated real-time and can be accessed by everyone at the same time, increasing efficiently.

4. Virus/spyware/malware management – You may have anti-virus software installed on your individual machines, but when your network has grown to say 10 users, updating each machine can be a real burden. An anti-virus package that combines workstation and server virus protection into a single solution makes more sense.

5. Centralised Backup – It’s really essential that you backup your data on a regular basis. By having all of your critical data stored in one location, backups can be performed reliably and quickly. You no longer have to worry about what data is stored on what workstation as you do in a peer-to-peer network.

Finding the right server

A few years ago SMEs used on-site or in-house servers to host their applications, file sharing, email, websites, etc. With the advent of various cloud options, a dedicated server became:

  • Costly to maintain; with high power consumption
  • Unreliable during natural disasters
  • Inadequate to support big data

However, these don’t make on-site servers redundant because even cloud hosting has disadvantages as well:

  • It only works when you are connected to the Internet.
  • There are ongoing data security concerns especially for those providers hosting their servers abroad.
  • There are potential hidden costs which are oftentimes overlooked by companies when they sign the contract.

These mean both have their strong points:

  • On-site servers have low latency rates so the transfer of data from one point to another is quicker than cloud servers which are dependent on your Internet speed.
  • On-site servers can be more secure because you have complete control over it unlike cloud servers which are hosted remotely.
  • Initial investment for a cloud server is low whilst on-site servers have high potential cost.
  • Cloud servers are faster to deploy than on-site servers.

With all these pros and cons, it seems like a tough choice between an on-site server and a cloud-based server. But you really don’t have to pick one over the other. If you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, you can adopt a hybrid solution where you use the cloud for certain applications whilst storing sensitive data on your on-site server(s).

In other words, you have the option to mix and match cloud solutions (public and private cloud) and dedicated servers to create your ideal environment. Then, you can just add products and services as you go. This extends the life of their existing hardware whilst you also benefit from the cloud.

To know more about hybrid cloud hosting, contact us.