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Keeping Data Safe: The Pros and Cons of On-Premise vs. Cloud


As the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks evolve, the potential risks of not properly securing your organization’s data increase every year. Consider the fact that a single data breach can cost millions of dollars and take years to rectify. Plus, nearly half of all companies that experience a data center outage never reopen, an indication of just how vital data security has become in our digital age.

Meanwhile, the sheer amount of data produced every year is skyrocketing; most enterprises will be juggling 50 times the data by the year 2020. Faced by this reality, many organizations are rethinking their data security strategy entirely.

Today, nearly 70 percent of organizations use cloud-based cybersecurity services. But is this the right approach for your organization, or should you stick with more traditional, on-premise security? To determine which option is right for you, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of on-premise vs. cloud computing.

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Limitations of On-Premise Security

On-premise cybersecurity has several inherent limitations, which are important considerations for any business.

On-site maintenance

With on-premise security, your IT team is completely responsible for maintaining the system, implementing updates, managing patches, upgrading the software, and performing routine maintenance. At organizations of all sizes, even small enterprises, this continual upkeep requires a lot of dedicated time and resources that could be spent on other key tasks. Many businesses simply can’t afford the level of in-house expertise required to combat today’s data security threats.


On-premise IT infrastructure usually lacks redundancy and effective failover because these capabilities quickly become cost-prohibitive for more organizations. This means that your in-house cybersecurity tools are vulnerable to hardware failure, software glitches, and so on. Without redundancy and failover tools, your security systems may experience downtime and leave your data exposed—a prospect that is unacceptable in today’s harsh threat landscape. Having a dedicated IT partner can help reduce the burden on the in-house IT team to maintain data security. Service providers offer a higher level of reliability, with most service level agreements guaranteeing 24/7 and 99.99 percent availability.

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Myths of Cloud Security

Even though cloud-based data security has become widely used, it still brings with it several common misconceptions.

Cloud-based applications are not secure

In reality, the cloud is extremely secure—and, in most cases, more airtight than on-premise servers and hardware. This is true for several reasons. First, dual-factor authentication has emerged as a best practice for cloud service providers. Multi-factor, random authentication is becoming the norm for gaining access to cloud services, which is usually not the case in on-premise networks.

Another reason the cloud is secure is because providers are staffed with highly technical personnel who are experts on cloud computing. Data security is a significant part of what they do every day of the week—much like IT vendors. Cloud service providers offer a high level of experience and expertise as well as a singular focus on these core competencies. The same probably can’t be said for most in-house IT teams, who are responsible for a wide range of tasks and unable to focus primarily on security.

Cloud security is expensive

Cloud-based security is the newer, higher-tech option, so it costs more, right? Actually, cloud security is much more cost-effective than having to use local servers, personal computers, dedicated personnel, and the licensed software to achieve the level of cybersecurity you need. This perk is particularly important for mid-sized businesses that typically can’t afford all the features that enterprise-class organizations can.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the above points, keep in mind any unique conditions that have an impact on cybersecurity at your organization. These include the types of data your business handles as well as encryption and compliance.

For example, if your organization processes consumers’ financial information, it must adhere to the PCI standard. If it handles healthcare data, it must stay HIPAA-compliant. These and other rules and regulations, including ISO and NIST, demand a robust cybersecurity platform that will protect sensitive data.

If some of your data must be encrypted or your business is subject to specific regulations, you will likely benefit from partnering with a cloud-based cybersecurity provider that can guarantee the highest level of security, rather than attempting to move forward with your own, on-premise infrastructure. With a trusted partner, you can rest easy knowing your data is highly secure while freeing up your own IT resources to focus on other key business initiatives.

Ready to learn more about on-premise vs. cloud data security? Contact us to discover the best approach to storing and securing your data for your specific business needs.

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