As businesses become more comfortable with the cloud and more familiar with its capabilities, they are gradually moving traditional IT to the cloud. Here are some of the main differences between traditional IT and the cloud, and the pros and cons of each approach:
Traditional IT vs. The Cloud
With a traditional approach to IT, the technology capabilities are housed on-site. The site, or company, purchases the hardware and software that are necessary to meet the technology needs of the business. Hired IT personnel take care of making any technology changes or upgrades, and perform any troubleshooting that needs to happen if something goes wrong.
The core difference between traditional IT and the cloud is location. Cloud services are hosted off-site. Employees at a company access the programs that they need via an internet connection. This core difference creates many additional differences between the two approaches.
Deployment of Cloud Services vs. Traditional IT Services
When you deploy a new service, traditional IT requires that you purchase a new program for that service. Your company pays an upfront cost, and then you own this program. Hired IT personnel then load the program onto the computers in the system, which can take some time depending on the nature of the service to be deployed as well as the size and schedule of your IT team.
How is deployment different with the cloud? Deployment of cloud services is taken care of for you off-site, so there is no need for IT experts at your company to spend valuable time on deployment. Typically with cloud services you pay a small monthly fee rather than paying a large upfront cost. Compared to traditional IT deployment of services, cloud deployment is faster and easier on the budget.
But what if you have already paid for traditional IT services? Cloud deployment gives you the option of moving your services to the cloud over time, so that you can make use of the traditional IT that your company has already has.
Traditional IT Upgrades vs. Upgrading in the Cloud
Similar to deployment, upgrading has its advantages in the cloud. While traditional IT calls for your IT team to spend a significant amount of time administrating an upgrade, upgrades take less time in the cloud. Cloud upgrades are done for you as part of the service agreement. Is your company using older, inferior traditional IT services? Are you delaying a cumbersome upgrade because of the cost and inconvenience that go with it? If so, then it is time to consider moving to the cloud.
Scalability of Cloud Services vs. Traditional IT Services
When you purchase a traditional IT service, you purchase what you need all at once. This involves some estimation and predicting on your part. What if your needs change over time? One of the advantages of cloud services over traditional IT services is the scalable nature of the cloud. The scalability or elasticity of the cloud makes it more appealing to companies who may undergo changes and need more, less, or different services in the future.
Traditional Data Storage vs. Cloud Storage
The need for storage has grown exponentially over the years. Traditionally, a company would need to accommodate for these growing data storage needs in-house. If your company has long-term relationships with clients that involve record keeping, such as a doctor-patient relationship or a relationship that involves financial record keeping over time, then space for storing data long-term becomes an important issue. With traditional data storage methods, space is limited. Moving your storage space to the cloud creates virtually limitless space for your data storage needs.
The Safety and Security of Traditional IT vs. The Cloud
One of the biggest objections to moving services to the cloud are the concerns about security. There is a misguided thought that when your services are cloud-based, they are at risk of being hacked and viewed by the public. Because people can’t see the actual space where data is stored, they worry about safety and security risks. This concern is human nature. We tend to fear the unknown. The reality is that in your business, your security is only as good as your least trustworthy employee and the alarm system that you bought to keep out “the bad guys.” The cloud is a controlled environment built with security as a top priority.
Traditional Backups vs. Cloud Redundancy
One concern with technology is how to keep our important information safe from being lost or destroyed in a natural disaster. With traditional IT, can you be sure that your company’s valuable information will survive the unforeseeable “what if” situations? This is a valid concern with traditional IT, and each company handles it differently. Whether your company stores data at multiple locations or in multiple forms, you need a safety net in place with traditional IT.
With the cloud, there is no need to worry about a natural disaster taking down the system. The cloud is prepared for any unknown with a safety net called redundancy. When you move to the cloud, you can be assured that your information will be stored on multiple secure systems in multiple locations so that no technology failure or natural disaster will destroy the information that is vital to your company.
The Cost of the Cloud vs. Traditional IT
When business decisions are made, cost is always a contributing factor. The payment procedure for cloud services is very different from that of traditional IT. With traditional IT your company purchases what you need upfront, and depending on what you are purchasing this can be a sizable amount of money. You then purchase upgrades for your technology services until it can no longer be upgraded. When your purchase becomes inoperable or extinct, then you need to make another large purchase.
The cloud changes the way that we pay for technology services. Rather than a large upfront purchase, you pay a monthly fee for the services you need. This is a more budget friendly way to pay for technology services. It changes your technology services from a capital expense to a more predictable operating expense for your business. Changes and upgrades are much easier and less expensive with this payment method.
Consider a Technology Audit
As you weigh the pros and cons of traditional IT vs. the cloud, there is a lot to think about. Your mental checklist may include your technology needs now and in the future. You may have moved some services to the cloud, while you also have technology needs that are being met with an upfront traditional technology purchase that you have already paid for.
As you weigh the pros and cons of traditional IT vs. moving to the cloud, a very beneficial tool to consider is a technology audit. The consultants at Opex are experts in the field of technology, and can advise you as to how the general pros and cons of traditional IT vs. the cloud are best applied to your specific situation. The knowledge you will gain from a technology audit will help demystify the cloud so that you can see clearly and make the best technology decisions for your business.