I never realised the deep attachment people could develop for their servers until I started writing about the cloud. That big computer sitting in the corner of the office, whirring away as it sends emails and stores files and backs up databases can inspire such emotions.
To a small business its server can represent security, continuity and potential. It’s a heavy load for one box to carry.
But what it doesn’t represent, in the days of cloud computing, is good business sense.
I have compiled a table showing the business case for a cloud server versus an office server. It is, to my knowledge, the first detailed side-by-side comparison of two products available in the marketplace today.
A cloud server wins out in almost every scenario; cost, security, reliability, expandability, and so on.
The table spells it out clearly enough but one aspect deserves further discussion. Security is often cited as the biggest hurdle for a business considering cloud computing but this is a furphy.
When you think about the threats that a server faces while sitting in an office – theft, fire, flood as well as hacking – it is relatively unprotected. The defences usually consist of the locked front door and a $1500 to $3,000 firewall.
Cloud servers typically run from heavily guarded data centres with redundant internet connections, power supplies (generators), and fire-defence systems. Traffic entering the data centre is screened by enterprise-grade security systems and monitored 24 hours a day by a team of IT security experts.
There’s also the security of your business data. Cloud servers can be backed up almost instantly by taking a snapshot and storing it in another data centre in another country, if necessary. Compare that to the USB drive plugged into the office server, still just as vulnerable to fire, theft and flood.
Business owners should stop seeing a server as the heart of their enterprise and instead understand its true nature: it’s a liability. A server must be maintained, upgraded, patched and its components replaced when they fail or are outgrown.
These are not activities that add to your sales or profits, they’re just costs. You can pay an IT company to do it for you but it will cost a lot more than the cloud. You also don’t get advantages such as near-instant backups, better security and near-instant replacement.
The server is not the heart of a business. The magic that makes businesses run is the collection of applications and the customer, transactional and inventory information they contain. It is safer and cheaper to look after these in the cloud.
In the interests of transparency, while the information in the cloud vs office server comparison table has been independently collected and collated by BoxFreeIT, Amazon is paying BoxFreeIT for the opportunity to provide readers with demonstrations of a cloud server through the contact form that follows it.
A longer article explaining BoxFreeIT’s position on sponsored content, a new advertising trend in online publishing, will follow.
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