Cloud hosting and on-premise servers are two different ways to host your website or, in the case of CMTS, application. Cloud hosting means your website or application is hosted on remote servers owned and operated by a cloud hosting provider. On-premise servers suggest that your website or application is hosted on servers you own and use in your data center. When it comes to deciding on on-premise vs cloud hosting, both are great options, but there are many factors that will guide your decision towards the best decision for your agency.

On-Premise vs Cloud

Price Comparison

The cost comparison between cloud and on-premise infrastructure for agencies revolves around various factors influencing overall expenses. Cloud services offer cost benefits by eliminating upfront hardware and software license costs. This allows agencies to pay smaller monthly fees and allocate budgets more efficiently.

Additionally, the cloud removes the need for hardware replacements, saving agencies from the substantial capital investments required for on-premise upgrades. With the pay-as-you-go model, cloud services enable agencies to pay only for their resources, offering cost-effectiveness, especially for agencies with fluctuating resource demands.

Furthermore, agencies avoid power, space, and cooling expenses by moving to the cloud, as physical infrastructure management becomes the cloud provider’s responsibility. Lastly, cloud services reduce IT maintenance costs, freeing IT personnel to focus on more strategic tasks and improving overall efficiency. Consequently, while the cost comparison depends on individual agencies requirements, most agencies will likely find that cloud computing is more cost-effective.

Security Showdown

Both options offer distinct benefits and drawbacks when comparing cloud hosting security and on-premise solutions. On-premise systems provide physical security advantages, as they are located within the agency’s premises, accessible only to authorized personnel. These on-site servers can be monitored closely with the help of badge readers, cameras, and monitoring systems. Control over physical access can be valuable for agencies with high-security restrictions and specific needs that require a hands-on approach. On-premise security also allows for a well-defined security perimeter, protecting against unique attack techniques. Additionally, equipment management and secure data disposal can be facilitated by on-site staff.

On the other hand, cloud hosting offers its own set of security benefits. Cloud providers adhere to strict security standards and have dedicated teams to secure infrastructure and protect data and resources. These security protocols relieve in-house staff from handling complex security tasks, allowing them to focus on other agency-related activities. Moreover, cloud security can save costs, particularly in meeting certain data compliance requirements and general maintenance. Agencies with distributed operations can find cloud solutions more suitable, enabling improved support for remote workers and greater flexibility.

Ultimately, the best approach to network security depends on each agency’s specific needs and circumstances. For some agencies a hybrid approach that combines both on-premise and cloud solutions. This could strike the right balance, allowing critical systems to remain in-house while leveraging cloud-based options for less urgent tasks.

Control & Compliance  

Cloud hosting offers less control than on-premise servers, as the provider owns and operates it. In an on-premise setup, agencies have complete control over their resources, services, and data, determining access and its fate. However, data resides in third-party servers in a public cloud environment, potentially leading to accessibility issues during unexpected downtimes that the cloud service provider must resolve.  This risk can be greatly mitigated by hosting through highly credible data centers, with strict uptime requirements, like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

On the other hand, managing on-premise servers also has drawbacks, particularly for those unfamiliar with server administration. While cloud-based solutions are user-friendly, some companies, especially those with high regulatory requirements, may hesitate to embrace cloud solutions because they prefer on-premise environments with complete data control.

Scalability Matters

Cloud-based solutions exhibit significant advantages when comparing the scalability of cloud hosting and on-premise solutions. Cloud systems can spread their workload across many servers, making them stronger and able to handle more oversized loads. On the other hand, on-premise systems might have limits on how many users they can support due to software constraints. One great thing about cloud-based systems is that they can easily adjust to changes in security needs. They can quickly update and fix security issues without causing problems for users. On-premise systems, however might need expensive upgrades and manual updates to stay up-to-date.

 Regarding costs of scaling, cloud hosting is more cost-effective because agencies only pay for what they need. This helps them better allocate their resources and avoid high upfront costs. On the other hand, scaling on-premise systems can be costly, with expenses for hardware, licenses, and changes to infrastructure, along with increasing maintenance and support costs.

In conclusion, cloud-based access control systems are a better choice for agencies in the long run. They offer flexibility, helping companies to manage their growth and success.

Disaster Recovery  

Both options have unique advantages and disadvantages when comparing on-premise disaster recovery (DR) with cloud-based DR. On-Premise DR offers benefits such as control over servers, and keeping agency data private without third-party involvement. Additionally, data stored on-site is accessible even without an internet connection, ensuring continuous access during critical situations. However, this approach has several drawbacks, including physical space and increased capital investment for building and maintaining hardware. The added maintenance, management, and IT support costs contribute to the overall expenses. Furthermore, on-premise DR cannot guarantee uptime, making data loss more likely during disasters.

On the other hand, Cloud DR presents advantages that address some of the shortcomings of on-premise solutions. Cloud-based DR eliminates the need for on-site hardware building costs and offers scalability that can align with the growth of the agency. Agencies only pay for the resources they use, making it a cost-effective option. The cloud’s flexibility enables easy access from anywhere and any device, ensuring seamless operations during recovery. Moreover, data can be backed up to the cloud as frequently as every 15 minutes, ensuring minimal data loss during a disaster.

Despite these benefits, Cloud DR does come with a few disadvantages. An internet connection is required to access agency data, which could pose a challenge in internet outages or disruptions.  This drawback can be greatly mitigated by putting redundant data lines in place, with the ability to easily failover to your secondary internet service provider when your primary is impacted. Entrusting a third party with data security may raise concerns for some agencies, as data privacy and protection are crucial.

The Right Choice  

Ultimately, the choice between on-premise and cloud-based application hosting depends on the specific needs and priorities of the agency. While on-premise can provide more direct control and offline access, cloud-based hosting offers scalability, cost-effectiveness, and convenience in data accessibility. Proper evaluation of these factors can help agencies determine the most suitable hosting strategy for their unique requirements.  

To meet agency requirements, CMTS offers both cloud hosted and on-premises options, designed to meet rigorous security standards at no additional cost. Please reach out to discuss any specific questions or concerns.