Published: February 2, 2021
In 2014, a French train company spent nearly $20 billion on new trains only to discover they were too wide for the platforms at the stations they’d need to service. It cost nearly $68 million to correct the problem. This is the perfect example of thinking you know what you need, but making a colossal and costly mistake about the method you choose to get you there.
Nearly every decision you make for your organization will have a lasting impact. This is the nature of choice. In the modern business world, many of those choices will have to do with technology. What makes those decisions difficult is that you often have to figure out what will best suit your current needs while also considering how your decision will move you into the future.
When you look at your current business software and start considering ways to upgrade it, you need to take a moment to reflect on a simple question: Where are you headed and what will help get you there?
With so many options and variables, understanding the technology landscape (both hardware and software) is fundamental to ensuring you’re not making the same technology mistakes that hurt so many businesses. You want to invest in the right technologies to support your business and its growth.
The most pressing decision most businesses face as they start looking into new software solutions is centered around one question: Should they adopt a cloud-based solution or invest in an on-premises server system?
- The Difference Between the Cloud and a Server System
- Ensuring a Secure Environment for Your Business & Customers
- Best Business Software Solution for Multiple Locations
The Difference Between the Cloud and a Server System
Understanding the difference between the cloud and a server system is vital to steering you in the right direction.
A server is what provides the space and resources you need to store and deliver your data, application, or website to the internet. It acts as the gateway for your customers (or employees) to access your organization’s services.
An on-premises server system means that your business houses the server as well as any hardware, components, and software required to run and maintain that system – typically in a data center (or another building owned by the company).
Further, your IT team will be responsible for all security, scalability, and compliance issues related to your industry. In addition to these issues, you’ll also be responsible for reliability, which includes redundancies built in to secure both your system and data. While this affords unprecedented control over your system, it also comes with significant costs in time, labor, and money. There may also be some technology or business growth concerns you may prefer to have handled by a partner so you can focus on your core business operations.
A cloud server is a server that is hosted by a partner or a cloud service provider (CSP). There, you can choose between a public, private, or hybrid cloud server, depending on your needs. The advantage of this set up is that businesses pay for what they use and are able to hand off security, compliance, reliability, scalability, and maintenance issues to their provider, though obviously some of that comes with a loss of control over the environment.
For many organizations and businesses, a public cloud server works if they are concerned about costs, but not specific industry regulations. On a public cloud server, many organizations share the space, which reduces costs, and enables application development as well as collaborative efforts.
Private cloud servers are used for a single organization or business and utilize a firewall to secure stored data. Private clouds are typically utilized by organizations that have the need to maintain high levels of security or to meet industry-specific regulations.
Hybrid cloud servers are a combination of public and private, but they permit the two servers to interact seamlessly. This allows businesses to harness the advantages of both infrastructure types, enabling them to meet security needs while enjoying the cost savings and scalability of a public cloud server.
Ensuring a Secure Environment for Your Business & Customers
Whichever type of infrastructure you choose, you’ll likely want to make that choice based on which one can provide you with the best security capabilities — the ones that match the needs of your business and its customers. In the first six months of 2019 alone, nearly 450 million records were exposed through data breaches. These numbers did not drop in 2020, and there’s no reason to expect the upcoming year will be different.
In fact, preparing for 2021 and beyond also means paying attention to a variety of other security measures for your business, which may impact your choice. Further, choosing your network infrastructure wisely will matter not just for security but for your transparency, control, reliability, and costs as well.
Cloud Security vs. On-Prem Security
When selecting the appropriate choice based on your security needs, you’ll want to consider several variables. The first of these is physical security. Obviously, in an on-prem server solution, your server stack is housed in one of your facilities, ensuring that you can control and monitor access. However, that very ease of access can create its own problems should someone be able to enter your facility. Unfortunately, there are a multitude of ways for bad actors to gain access.
The other advantage to an on-premise solution is that it allows you to fully customize your security protocols to meet the needs of your business or industry. Provided you have the IT staff to monitor and maintain this solution, it can be cheaper in the long run as the hardware will likely last you quite some time.
However, cloud service providers often have better physical security, especially when it comes to access control and outside threats like natural disasters. Similarly, because their equipment, software, and components are up to date and monitored full time, the likelihood of a vulnerability occurring due to oversight or legacy systems is very low. In fact, according to Gartner’s research, 95% of cloud security failures are due to end user error rather than a security failure on the part of the provider.
Further, for industries like banking, healthcare, and law, there are a lot of regulations and a need for support to help comply with those regulations. Fortunately, a cloud provider can quickly supply necessary security information to ensure compliance for clients or regulators.
Additionally, IT security experts and staff qualified to handle your on-premise IT security needs may be difficult to find. When coupled with the human resource needs, in terms of time and money, an on-premise solution can become costly.
Cloud Scalability and Reliability vs. On-Prem Scalability and Reliability
While not security issues themselves, scalability and reliability are certainly tangentially tied to your business’s ability to provide quality service to your customers and team. With so many options available in a fiercely competitive market of business software solutions, building trust is a key component in fostering customer relationships. If you’re concerned about customer data, you should be equally concerned about the reliability of the business software you purchase.
To ensure that your business builds trust, your customers want simple access, important data, and responsiveness in your software, application, or website. For an on-prem solution, this means factoring in the need to provide network and data security in terms of redundancies, specifically backup power, but also other components that prevent a single point of failure. You're looking at significant expenditures, with both CAPEX and OPEX to maintain.
When you add customers or users as your business grows, the increase in traffic to and from your servers means customers might also experience delays that directly impact their ability to conduct their business.
For example, if you're a trailer management company and your business management software experiences extended periods of downtime, your ability to manage your assets in your fleet is disrupted. This causes delays in providing your customers with up-to-date information about your units, such as your service history, FHWA inspections, and insurance certifications. Consequently, your customer's ability to maintain their daily business operations is directly impacted by your own downtime.
For that reason, you’ll want to ensure that your on-premise solution is scalable. You’ll need physical space to build out and add hardware as well as the environmental capabilities needed to keep your server room or closet cool. The numbers start adding up.
With a cloud solution, that scalability is built right in, and many cloud service providers offer a guarantee of 99.9% uptime as part of their service level agreement (SLA). This ensures that as you monitor your growth, you can add the bandwidth and storage space needed to provide reliable and fast access to the data and services your people need.
In short, both solutions come with advantages and depend on the needs of your business in terms of costs, security, staffing, and sometimes even space. While there’s a lot to consider here, regardless of the infrastructure option you choose, you want to make sure you choose a software solution that allows you to manage it all, across platforms, facilities, and networks.
The Best Business Software Solution for Multiple Locations
Regardless of the infrastructure solution you choose, you need a software solution that enables you to optimize and monitor the performance of all your teams by streamlining your operations and teams across one single software platform. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions deliver all of that functionality through either an on-premise or a cloud server.
Whether you’re looking to share data across multiple departments or facilities to make informed decisions or develop strategy, improve your communication and transparency across multiple locations, or monitor operations to proactively address bottlenecks in supply or deliveries, CAVU’s cutting edge ERP software provides a panoramic view of your business landscape that you can leverage to maximize profits.
Ideally, your IT decisions should be based on your larger needs and the direction you’re headed in. You’ll want to make sure your solutions fit your operations and align with your unique needs. Take that next step in investing in your ability to unify your organization and deliver what you need, where you need it, on time. Get in touch today.