Everyone is talking about the ‘cloud.’ But before you move all of your data, records, and workforce management solutions off premises, consider the pros and cons of both.
There is no denying that the cloud has gained popularity in recent years. Currently, about 70% of organizations use at least one cloud-based HR application, although 40% still use at least one on-premise solution. However, many software vendors no longer produce or sell on-premise products/services, forcing some companies to look to the cloud.
Cloud storage is popular partly because it offers cost-saving opportunities, as well regular backups and the ability to scale easily. Among the other benefits:
- Takes burden off your IT staff. Cloud storage is managed by an outside company, so your IT staff is free to handle day-to-day issues and work with staff who have questions or need training.
- Does away with capital expenses. Cloud storage is considered an operational expense and requires no capital investment. Instead, you generally pay a monthly subscription.
- Easily budgeted. Most cloud-based storage companies are willing to adjust fees according to your budget. Features can be changed, added, or eliminated based on your organizational and financial needs. Most programs are flexible, and you can adjust them as your needs and capabilities change.
- Automatic backups. The cloud provides data backups that are performed on a schedule and much easier than on-premises services. This service is done without burdening or disrupting your system. It also minimizes the risk of critical information being lost or destroyed during backups or emergency situations.
Of course, the cloud isn’t perfect. For instance, costs can skyrocket with little warning, and data may be less secure. At the same time, access is based on internet connectivity, so you need to have reliable, high speed connections.
There are some pros of on-premises storage. These include:
- An internet connection isn’t necessary to access data.
- Lower internet expenses. If you’re not using cloud-based services, you may not need an expensive high-speed connection and the fastest possible download speeds. These can add to your monthly costs.
- Potential for greater security. Cloud-based storage can be more vulnerable to third parties and unauthorized access. You can restrict on-premises access to authorized personnel only.
- Control over server hardware. You handle all upgrades and changes yourself so you don’t have to ask for permission, request and wait for someone to make changes, or discuss or renegotiate rates or fees.
Some downsides of on-premises storage include: it requires extra IT support, you have to make sure that you adhere to industry compliance including all state and federal regulations, and it increases maintenance costs.
Looking ahead, expect the cloud to offer more features such as artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots. However, don’t be overly enticed by bells and whistles. Consider your needs, your staff’s capabilities, your goals, and other factors before making any long-term investments or contractual commitments. Whether you go to the cloud or keep your data on the ground, prioritize safety, usability, costs, security, and speed.