Data. Whether you are a startup, a small- to mid-sized business, or a large corporation, data management can make you cringe. It is no secret that security is priority one, with hacked-data stories populating the news seemingly each week. There are plenty of options to manage your data center and data management needs, but how do you choose what is best for your company?
The first step is to understand what the difference is between a data center on premise, a cloud solution or a hybrid of the two. Certain applications and services may function best in the cloud, while on premise solutions are the optimum choice for other applications or services.
On Premise Data Center
When you manage your data on premise, it is most likely that you’ll invest thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars into hardware and software. The first step when looking at IT options is to evaluate your present situation and ask where you want to go in the future. The questions to keep in mind if you are contemplating adding or upgrading on premise infrastructure might include the following:
- Is the current infrastructure up-to-date?
- Where are you in the capitalization cycle of infrastructure purchases?
- Do you have sensitive data that is subject to HIPAA laws?
- Are you looking to decrease your staff? (For instance, IT staff needs.)
- Do you want to reduce your office space costs?
- Do you have the funds to purchase new or upgraded equipment?
If you are a startup, it is relatively simple to employ the wealth of cloud services and software available. Even established businesses will find advantages for utilizing cloud applications. Cloud solution advantages include:
- Having minimal infrastructure costs (capital spending).
- Being able to more easily budget costs when utilizing managed cloud solutions.
- Having availability 24/7.
- Attracting top talent with the option to work from home or coworking space.
- Accessing a wealth of applications are available that can be customized for your business or situation.
- Supporting field employees, such as construction or landscape companies, who can access files and applications via tablet or phone while on a jobsite.
- Utilizing cloud applications no matter what size business you have.
- Using sophisticated software that is automatically updated without purchasing a newer version.
- Adding backups to the cloud, which will make recoverability easier, should a disaster recovery situation arise.
- Knowing that data storage in the cloud allows for smaller data storage needs on premise.
With a hybrid solution, you will find that it is best to keep some applications and services on premise, while many others can be cloud-based. Whatever works best for your situation is the correct solution. For instance, you can spin the following to the cloud:
- Traditional file storage such as unstructured data files that can be moved to a repository in a cloud and access provisioned, similar to on-premise storage
- Because you are storing old files, they won’t be duplicated all the time during backups
- Email moves to the cloud, which allows access when an employee is not in the office
- Microsoft applications such as Word can be moved to the cloud via Office 365
- Accounting software such as QuickBooks
- Encrypted data backups, in addition to any on-site backup you want
- Big data initiatives
Conversely, you will keep some of your data and applications on premise. For instance:
- Medically related such as x-rays and possibly other sensitive patient records due to HIPAA compliance regulations
- Active Directory for authentication to systems
- Perimeter firewalls and virus protection for individual computers
- Possibly older, industry-specific software that is no longer updated
It really is most likely, no matter the size of your company that you’ll end up with a hybrid solution, even if most of your technology is in the cloud or on premise. As with most business applications, what is best for one company may not be your best option.
About the author:
John Quinn is the principal and founder of Merrimac Solutions, which he started in 2005. Mr. Quinn has over 27 years of experience in sales and business development providing data center solutions, managed services, and technology. Merrimac Solutions provides innovative technology to growing businesses by sourcing and implementing enterprise network, managed cloud and data center solutions. Located in Aurora, Illinois, the firm was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in 2017. For more information, visit: www.merrimacsolutions.com or call (630) 585-6441.