For all the talk about the inevitability of the cloud as
the future of communication and collaboration, nothing changes that one
critical question: Is migration to the cloud the best way
forward for my business? Here are some points to consider - many of
which have two sides.
Downside of Cloud
The "deal-breaking" element of the cloud solution really
boils down to trust. Various changing factors can affect the
trust-level with a provider and service-level agreements need to be
You understand every element of your business, which
problems to prioritize, and when and how you need to target issues. A
provider doesn't. And may not respond in a timely manner anyway.
This can be a problem for organizations using the internet
to access their cloud data. The more your company depends on
predictable, low frequency times, the more of a problem this could
Some countries restrict access to various types of
internet content. A global company operating out of different countries
can also experience bandwidth issues, causing other accessibility
Companies taking the cloud option may have to take
government regulations into account when deciding how sensitive data is to
be stored and used. Which government? And where? Good questions.
Upside of Cloud
From an up-front-costs perspective, huge savings can be
made by not having to run and maintain in-house servers, or pay
consultants. As a subscriber, there is potential to categorize these as
operational expenses for tax purposes.
This is what it's all about: Work offsite and stay in the
loop, with no need to set up a VPN. In effect, anywhere you have a
device, you have your office, with communication and collaboration
This is where your company gets to pick and choose from a
combination of traditional and cloud options. The promise here is a
seamless extension of on-premises data to the cloud.
A deployment that could take months from an on-premises
perspective, can be achieved with incredible speed and efficiency using
the cloud option.
Automatic updates, as opposed to upgrades, can make a big
difference, with updates taking place behind the scenes and not
interrupting your work day at all.
Downside of On-Premises
Firstly, there is the cost of hardware and storage,
including hardware and software maintenance; then licensing for necessary
features, talented support personnel and, of course, the electricity
Hiring and retaining talent can be a big issue, especially
where niche skills are required. The cloud option comes with top
talent in place - although not necessarily on-hand to deal with your
Customization can slow the eventual move to upgrades of
other software and systems. There is a slower cycle to release updates
and many changes involve heavy IT intervention.
Cost and cost-effectiveness is a real issue here. The
cloud option offers scale of services in a way that is powerful,
affordable and easy to accommodate.
Outages happen across the board, but with the on-prem
solution, it is up to you to deal with the issue or issues at hand and
get things back on track, regardless of costs, time, maintenance, or
Upside of On-Premises
Potentially, the long term costs of on-prem: annual
maintenance fees, one-time license fees, perpetual license models, are
generally lower than the cumulative recurring costs of SaaS software.
The oft cited break-even point is between two and three years.
Consider options and variables carefully.
You take responsibility for security, but you don't have
to worry about potential legal hassles from governments or providers.
What's yours is yours; you just have to be willing to take
responsibility for it and rigorously protect it.
What's this doing in this section? Well, not being reliant
on the cloud can be a big plus; particularly in areas where access
is not reliable, or in places where it may not be desirable for your
You deploy according to your needs; build or buy solutions
to tailor a complete system designed specifically for your business.
Buying rather than building can also negate some powerful downsides
in this area.
Let's end where we started. In business, as in life, trust
is key to so much. With on-prem you are compelled only to trust
yourself and your own people. If you can do that, you're in a very
It has been pointed out that current debates about cloud
providers can be compared to "back-in-the-day" debates about hosting
providers. Or, if you are able (and willing), to go back so far that
you find yourself wearing a Miami-Vice jacket, complete with padded
shoulders and rolled up sleeves (male or female), you may recall
heated debates about mainframe vs desktop.
The move to cloud may seem inevitable, and is being pushed
as such, but what history really teaches us is that each potential
way forward needs to be studied rigorously and debated thoroughly,
with current needs and future goals carefully structured as part of
a well-planned strategy. If you find yourself needing
help to form a well-planned strategy or find yourself mired in the
details of a new or existing on-prem environment, check us out here.
24 2016, 07:30 AM
I'm a British copywriter who spent over 10 years living
and working in Paris, France, before moving to America, getting
married, and joining the Bamboo team.