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Tim Shaw asks whether businesses can still succeed in 2019 without the cloud

Without a doubt, the cloud is here to stay. Recent figures suggest that the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3% this year alone, reaching a staggering $206.2 billion by the end of 2019. But, while research shows that 20% of business processes have already moved to the cloud, the same study found that the remaining 80% are still running on-premise, mostly due to performance issues and regulatory compliance.

According to some sources, all businesses should be moving to the cloud now, taking full advantage of the benefits it offers before being left behind by those who have already made the journey cloud-ward. However, in reality, for a great deal of businesses, it’s not that straightforward. When it comes to business management software in particular, while the overall goal might be to go ‘full cloud’ eventually, it’s vital to take into account the needs and culture of the business before deciding whether cloud, on-premise or a hybrid solution is the best fit for your business today. With this in mind, what are the advantages of having business management software in the cloud and how do they compare to on-premise solutions?

If your business is currently weighing up the pros and cons of each, then you could benefit from one of our cloud technology events, where we run through the many hosting options available and address any security concerns. Register today for your free place at the event in our London office, or to watch the event stream online.
 

On-premise

The on-premise approach involves the hosting, maintaining and management of hardware and software on the business’s own premises, using the company’s own servers, IT infrastructure, IT staff and resources. For highly-regulated industries, on-premise solutions ensure that all data is on the company’s own servers, behind their own firewalls, putting them in full control of their data at all times. For many businesses, their current on-premise solutions are doing just what they need them to do at this moment in time, with in-house staff responsible for managing downtime, issues and upgrades, along with the associated costs that these inevitably bring. However, in an increasingly fast-paced global marketplace where all businesses are under increasing pressure to do more for less, the financial cost as well as resource required to manage all these things in-house, are pushing more and more businesses towards the cloud. This is least partially, with a view of achieving cost and efficiency savings while freeing-up IT staff to focus on more value-added activities.
 

Cloud

The whole concept of the cloud is that solutions are hosted by third party cloud providers, with customers given access to these solutions as and when needed, almost like a pay-as-you-go approach. For businesses, this means they no longer have to bear the cost of maintaining the associated servers and hardware, only paying for the resources used. When it comes to upgrades or updates, this is all handled by the service provider too, including scaling-up any solutions to keep pace with business growth and user requirements.

For many businesses, one of the main negatives associated with the cloud has been surrounding security concerns. While it’s true that with on-premise you have total control over all of your data and IT infrastructure, so advanced are the security measures put in place by many cloud service providers these days, that for SMEs in particular, the security standards in the cloud could well be more water-tight that those maintained on-premise. You can use a similar argument for compliance with regulatory requirements, with those opting for on-premise solutions maintaining that it’s vital not only for them to know where there data is at all times for compliance purposes, but that they’re also best-placed to keep up with compliance legislation. However, as cloud providers are responsible for the data and compliance for numerous businesses, many of these will have superior data monitoring capabilities than many in-house IT departments, as well as the added bonus of automated updates when it comes to legal and regulatory compliance.
 

Best of both worlds

What all these issues show is that it’s very much not a case of ‘one cloud fits all’, with businesses needing to take time to assess just which solutions are best for them. This is why more and more businesses are going down the hybrid route, using a combination of cloud and on-premise solutions as they represent the best fit for their particular business. A hybrid scenario features elements of different types of deployment models, including on-premise, private cloud and public cloud, tailored to suit the specific needs of the business in question and with more of a focus on what the technology can actually do for the business rather than prioritising how the technology is delivered.

There is no one solution that will suit every business, in the same way that no two businesses have exactly the same objectives, so it’s imperative to consider what your organisation needs and how best to achieve this. From an insider’s point of view, it’s not always easy to take an objective view of what’s best for the business, which is why many organisations are working with industry experts to not only define what exactly they want to achieve but to also explore the various ways there are to fulfil their goals. It’s only by considering all options that businesses can ensure they choose the right fit for their specific business needs, be that in the cloud, on-premise or a combination of both, optimising their IT strategy to fulfil their true business potential.





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