Cloud-Based Hosting VS On-Premises

man holding tablet with cloud floating above it.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to fear moving to the cloud – yet, moving to the cloud is an increasingly popular choice nowadays. Although CIO’s and CTO’s view on-premises hosting to be much more secure, more organizations in the small to mid-size business realm are considering making the switch to the cloud to avoid an upfront investment and to enjoy the flexibility of a cloud-based model. This causes the question to arise ‘what is best for my business?’. To make informed decisions, business leaders should understand the difference between on-premises vs. cloud.


On-Premises Hosting

Often referred to as on-premises or on-prem, describes a business that keeps its server hardware, firewalls, operating systems, and applications in-house. This method comes with the responsibility of handling server maintenance, software licenses, integrations, backups, and hardware upgrades. Companies that choose to host on-prem, require an IT team on-hand to support, maintain, and fix anything within the environment to ensure the business stays up and operating accordingly.


Cloud-Based Hosting

Hosting data in the cloud is the polar opposite to on-premises hosting. In a cloud environment, a 3rd party vendor offers off-site data hosting solutions. The hosting provider is responsible for all things associated with implementation, maintenance, and securing of hardware, servers, and firewalls. Because cloud-based hosting is managed by a 3rd party, businesses are able to pay for services as needed and have the option to scale accordingly. In recent years, cloud computing has become a popular choice for numerous reasons including increased remote accessibility, server redundancy, business scalability, disaster recovery, and enhanced security.


Other Factors to Consider

The obvious distinction between on-prem and cloud hosting is where the data is located. However, there are other factors to be considered when deciding between on-prem or cloud-based hosting.



An on-premise environment requires the business to pay for the costs associated with their server hardware, maintenance, updates, and software. But, in the cloud, businesses can pay on a monthly basis for the resources they need, leaving things like maintenance, security patch updates, and upgrades to the host provider. In short, cloud hosting offers the better value proposition.



As previously mentioned, businesses that elect to go with on-prem hosting are responsible for the server and operating system maintenance, as well as software upgrades and security patches. This can be very costly and time-consuming, which becomes nothing more than a headache for employees and business owners. Businesses using a cloud hosting service avoid these associated costs as the provider absorbs them.



On-premise hosting doesn’t enable remote work – which we all know is crucial in today’s climate. According to a Zippia, 92% of American’s work remotely at least one day of the week. Users can only use their servers, data, and virtual desktops while in the office. While hosted cloud environments allow employees to access their data from any location whenever they want. In turn, cloud hosting offers more flexibility for businesses in the modern era.


Data Recovery

When it comes to data restoration, migrating to the cloud seems to be the way to go. There’s greater risk for hardware to be damaged or data to become compromised from external factors or even natural disasters. However, data stored in the cloud resides in secure hosting centers and are protected with layers of security and backups.



This tends to be the biggest fear factor for CIO’s and CTO’s when debating between cloud-based and on-prem for its critical infrastructures. In the past, it was thought that cloud-based hosting could never become as secure as on-premises environments. But, with numerous Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 3rd parties offering security solutions such as Security Operations Centers, Security information and event management, and endpoint detection and response, cloud-based environments have become much more secure. For businesses worried about continuity in the event their data becomes compromised, cloud-based solutions offer flexibility that on-prem solutions simply can’t.


So, which is it? On-premise or Cloud-based?

There are many similarities between on-premise and cloud-based hosting, making the decision not always easy. Ultimately, small-to-midsize businesses with limited capital and other resources should elect to go with on-demand and cloud-based data hosting.

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