It is crucial that your business has the IT infrastructure necessary for success in today’s technologically-centered world. In order to create this infrastructure, you need a server (at least one, but possibly many more). The server hosts and stores all your information, apps and programs, connects separate PCs together into a single network and more. You have a couple of choices here, including the option to use a cloud server or go with a physical server. Which is right for your needs?
Once upon a time, before the advent of the cloud, physical servers were the only option. Businesses large and small were forced to spend money on these machines, and the staff to maintain them. Once the cloud debuted, it was too expensive for many smaller businesses, and they were forced to continue using physical servers. Today, the cloud is much less costly, but it might make sense to stick to what you know. Physical servers do offer some benefits.
For instance, you are in complete control of your information and the security in place to protect that information. You can also upgrade your server, add another one, and expand in other ways whenever it suits you and to whatever degree you want. It’s sort of the ultimate in terms of scalability.
However, physical servers do have some drawbacks. The most obvious is the cost – they’re not cheap. And not only will you need to pay for the hardware and software, but you’ll need to pay for the IT staff needed to manage and maintain it, as well. That can be quite the investment, and may be far too much for a small business struggling to get started.
Cloud servers offer pretty much the same functionality as physical servers. The primary differences are 1) they’re not located on your premises and 2) they are not maintained by your IT staff. That means a couple of things. First, you won’t have to shell out the cash to buy a server out right. Second, you won’t have to pay for the IT staff needed to manage the server, either. Even upgrades and software installations are handled by the server provider, not by your business.
So, it should be obvious that a cloud server has the potential to save your business some cash. For a smaller company, this can be a “make or break” part of the equation. Most cloud servers are also easily scalable, so you can start off paying for just basic services and then scale up as your business grows and your needs change (and your cash flow improves, of course).
With that being said, cloud servers are not without their potential problems. There are several of which you should be aware. One of the most obvious is that you’ll need a stable, high-speed Internet connection. Because the server is not located on your premises, you must connect to it by Internet. Second, there’s the question of security. With a physical server, you are in charge of your security. With a cloud server, that’s not the case. This means it is vital that you make an informed choice when it comes to a provider and ensure that they use 256-bit encryption, along with other crucial safeguards.
When everything is said and done, both physical and cloud servers have their benefits, as well as drawbacks. For small businesses with limited cash flow, a cloud server is likely the only option that will work. For larger businesses, the option to use either cloud or physical servers, as well as a combination of both is available.