To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses invested in technologies that enhance flexibility, agility, and mobility. Cloud computing, in particular, was instrumental during the pandemic in helping businesses facilitate remote work arrangements.
Even as more and more businesses return to traditional office-based setups, cloud solutions continue to become increasingly popular. In fact, more companies adopted cloud servers in 2021 — a trend that’s likely to continue, as cloud spending is expected to skyrocket in 2022. This trend may also indicate that fewer businesses will prioritize investing in on-site servers.
What are the limitations of on-site servers?
On-site servers are physical servers housed within the company's premises, which is why they're also called on-premises servers. They offer businesses a high level of control over their data and infrastructure, but this also comes with major drawbacks, such as:
Expensive upfront investment
On-premises servers require a significant financial investment in hardware and software, which can be challenging for small businesses. You must also have enough space in your premises for these machines and any auxiliary components. Additionally, on-site servers require a lot of power, as well as heating and cooling systems to run properly.
Dedicated support and maintenance
Like all machines, on-premises servers are susceptible to failure, so you need someone to troubleshoot and maintain them, and update their software regularly. This could mean hiring dedicated IT personnel, which will further increase costs.
Data loss during disasters
On-premises servers are vulnerable to disasters in your area. If such disasters were to damage these machines, you could lose all the data stored within. Data loss can paralyze your operations and lead to reduced revenue, lowered customer trust, and steep penalties if your business belongs to a highly regulated industry.
No uptime guarantees
You cannot be absolutely certain that your on-site server will be operational at all times. Servers can suddenly fail for various reasons, including hardware defects and cyberattacks, potentially leading to data loss. You could invest in redundancies, such as backup servers and uninterrupted power supplies, but these will cost you more money.
Why are businesses choosing cloud servers?
Cloud servers function similarly to on-site servers but are located outside of the user’s premises. Like other cloud solutions, they are accessible via the internet. These are the reasons many businesses are prioritizing them over on-premises servers:
Support for flexible work setups
On-site servers have very limited reach and can usually be accessed only from within a business’s premises, making them suboptimal for remote work. Storing data in on-premises servers would have caused businesses huge productivity losses during the COVID-19 pandemic when many employees couldn't work in the office.
Cloud servers, on the other hand, can be accessed anytime and anywhere through an internet-connected device, such as a laptop or smartphone. This makes them vital to successful remote work setups, which you should consider adopting for the following reasons:
- Twenty-five percent of all professional jobs in North America are expected to be remote by the end of 2022.
- Remote work can help your business save on rent, space, utilities, and other overhead costs.
- Several studies found remote workers to be more productive, with one research noting a 47% increase in productivity during the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
More consistent costs
Cloud servers are owned and maintained by third-party providers, who also take charge of troubleshooting, maintenance, upgrades, updates, and cybersecurity. The providers also handle the cost of power, cooling, heating, and housing the machines. You pay for what you use, which is more consistent than having to budget for large expenses during upgrade or refresh cycles.
Your data storage needs will change with your business, so you’ll either lack storage space as your company grows or end up with an underutilized on-premises server if your organization downsizes. This isn’t an issue with cloud servers, as you can easily increase or decrease their storage capacity as needed, ensuring that you’re paying only for the solutions you’re actually using.
Reduced risk of downtime
Cloud storage providers follow a service level agreement, which defines the level of service you can expect from them. This includes the assurance that you will always have access to the servers and the data stored within. To make this possible, cloud server providers employ various redundancies that you don’t have to spend additional money on. Power outages and Internet service disruptions are far less likely for cloud servers than for equipment hosted at your office.
Data backup and recovery
Because cloud servers are located off site, they are not susceptible to disasters that occur in your area. All data stored in them can also be backed up automatically and as frequently as needed, and they can be restored from any internet-connected device. This greatly reduces the risk of data loss and its negative consequences.
Cloud servers offer businesses the flexibility and agility they need to overcome challenges in the post-COVID-19 era. If you want to start using this technology or get the most out of your existing cloud servers, reach out to Fidelis and our experts will be glad to assist you. Learn more about managed cloud services and how these can help your business grow by downloading this free eBook today.