26 Aug In-House vs Cloud – Which Will Suit Your Organisational Needs?
Whether or not you are considering a software overhaul, the question of whether to take your business in a cloud-based or in-house direction is incredibly important. If you are looking into new software development for your business, this could be the perfect time to switch over to the cloud. At the same time, if you are not interested in a complete revamp, you might just be wondering if moving to the cloud can save you money.
The answer isn’t black and white. It really depends on your company’s needs and current and future uses of technology.
The Cost Factor
The number one reason that people would either move to the cloud or not is most likely the cost. According to Business Insider, 84% of CIOs surveyed who moved to the cloud cut their application costs.
While that number in and of itself is pretty convincing, you want to make sure that your company falls into that category, and not the other 16%.
If you are a large enterprise with a perfect IT department that runs like a well-oiled machine, cloud computing could end up being more expensive in the long run. If your IT solution is already tailored to the exact specifications that your business needs, it might not be worth it for you to switch over to the cloud, at least not yet.
However, one of the main problems with in-house hardware is obsolescence. At some point, all of your hardware will need to be replaced. If your business is due for a hardware upgrade right now, let’s take a look at how the cloud might be a better or worse solution through a pro and con list.
In order for your company to reduce the monthly cost of cloud computing, you need to plan for the amount of resources that your company will need to use. If you reserve capacity in advance, cloud is going to be the less expensive solution. However, if you are unsure of your company’s needs and are forced to use more resources than you had anticipated, the cloud will end up being more expensive.
For instance, it’s free to upload data to Amazon Web Services’ cloud. The cost comes from the download of the same data. In a way, this binds you to the service. For this reason, in order to benefit from the cost advantages of the cloud, you have to ensure that you know the amount of resources that you will need.
It goes without saying that you should know your requirements when it comes to hardware too, because you don’t want your company to spend thousands on equipment that you don’t need.
Lastly, there are replacement costs to consider. How susceptible is your organisation to a potential disaster? This might seem dramatic, but with the cloud, you can’t physically lose your data. If something happens to your servers, whatever you lose is gone. On the other hand, cloud data can be backed up as often as necessary, automatically, ensuring that it’s kept safe at all times.
The Scalability Factor
In fact, with a proper plan in place, one of the biggest advantages the cloud has over in-house is its scalability. Because there is no need for onsite hardware, you can pay for more resources as you need them. This is especially important if you have a fast growing company, as it can be easy to quickly outgrow the office hardware.
With an in-house solution, you have to make physical purchases each time you decide your current capacity isn’t enough. There is also real-time scalability to consider. With the cloud, you can often scale up during peak hours and scale down during slower hours in order to keep your costs more efficient.
How important is uptime to your business? This depends mostly on what industry you are in. If your business is mostly online based and consists of web transactions, uptime is extremely important. Cloud-based services often have uptime guarantees, and in general, you are less likely to experience downtime.
If any repairs or upgrades need to be done to an in-house system, the whole system usually has to be temporarily shut down, whereas on the cloud, you can still access your data during the upgrade.
The Accessibility Factor
Cloud data is accessible from any place with an Internet connection, whether it is from a computer, a tablet, or a smart mobile device. Thanks to smart software development, it doesn’t matter if you have Windows, Mac, or Linux – anybody with the permissions can access the data, because that’s all it is, data. The vast majority of clouds use industry standards, which an in-house solution might not.
Again, this isn’t as important to some industries as it is to others. If your enterprise could benefit from mobile access to data, then cloud is the way to go. If, on the opposite, all of your business is handled on site; your business does not incorporate a bring-your-own-device policy; or you don’t have employees that work out of your headquarters, an in-house solution might be a better option.
Keep in mind, though, that if you lose Internet access, you might not be able to reach your cloud. Say the company that owns the database goes offline: this automatically means you won’t have access to your data. While this scenario is highly unlikely, it’s still one that can’t be lightly dismissed.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, switching to the cloud is more of a one-size-fits-most solution. There isn’t a general right choice or wrong choice. If your company would benefit from the scalability and accessibility a cloud-based solution allows, then by all means, jump on the cloud.