Category: Cloud and Managed Services

Public vs. Private Cloud Computing

cloud services

Cloud computing is, in essence, storing or using programs and data using the internet instead of an on-site system. But one cloud computing model may be vastly different from the next. The term covers a range of cloud models, types and services, each tailored to meet various technology needs for individuals and organizations.

While the variety in cloud computing services is vast, these applications are categorized into three different deployment types — public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. So what is the difference between private, public and hybrid cloud computing?

Below, we’ll discuss the key features of each deployment type and the advantages and disadvantages of each. With those features in mind, you can then choose what’s right for your organization.

What Is Public Cloud Computing?

Public clouds are the most commonly used cloud computing deployment type. In this model, a third-party cloud service provider owns, operates and manages all cloud resources, including hardware, software, servers and other infrastructure items. The services are then delivered to remote users over the internet.

In a public cloud model, all cloud users, also called “tenants,” share the same cloud resources. Each tenant’s data is separated and isolated from other tenants’ data, and they can use individual logins to access their data from a website or application. Public clouds are often used in cases where there are predictable computing needs. They can host web-based email services, office applications, storage services and testing environments.

While individual public cloud models can be used for a variety of purposes and can offer numerous capabilities and features, there are some characteristics shared across public cloud services. These key characteristics of public clouds include the following:

  • Subscription-based pricing
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • High scalability
  • Managed security

Public cloud examples vary by provider. General providers tend to offer great availability and numerous integration options, while smaller ones can provide more customization options for specific applications.

What Is Private Cloud Computing?

Private cloud hosting solutions are also known as internal or enterprise clouds. In this model, the cloud is proprietary and is dedicated to a single organization. The cloud platform may be hosted on-site in the company’s data center or in an off-site, third-party data center.

In a private cloud model, the company owns and manages its own cloud platform on a private network. Instead of having a third party own and manage the infrastructure, the business handles it all itself. This structure allows the company to have exclusive access to its own cloud platform. But the company is also responsible for managing, maintaining, securing and updating the data center.

Private clouds are highly customizable since the organization can make adjustments freely to serve its unique needs. It can also enjoy greater security since it does not need to worry about sharing resources with other companies. Companies using the private option can also apply any number of security features to protect their cloud platform.

While private clouds vary widely in their specific features based on the needs of the companies using them, some common characteristics include:

  • Need-based pricing
  • High customizability
  • Internal security

So what are the examples of private cloud applications? Most commonly, companies working in highly regulated industries that require tight security and handle sensitive data will use private clouds. Government agencies and financial institutions, for example, will often use private clouds to manage sensitive information.

What Is Hybrid Cloud Computing?

A hybrid cloud platform is effectively a marriage of public and private cloud computing. Hybrid clouds orchestrate on-premises and third-party resources by connecting an internal data center with a public cloud. The hybrid cloud then allows the user company to deploy data between the private and public clouds as needed.

As computing and processing needs change, hybrid cloud platforms let businesses scale up their private cloud infrastructure. They can move overflow into a public cloud instead of purchasing more equipment for their internal infrastructure. Companies can then select what types of data must stay internal and what workloads can be moved to the public cloud. This choice allows for greater flexibility and scalability while still maintaining security for regulatory requirements.

Some key characteristics of hybrid cloud computing include:

  • Use-based pricing
  • Improved scalability
  • Custom data management
  • Internal and managed security

A common example of a hybrid cloud is an organization using a private cloud environment for their workloads. It combines that with a public cloud resource to handle peripheral workloads following a spike in computing needs. Hybrid clouds are an excellent choice for companies with strict regulatory requirements or those that have fluctuating workloads.

Pros and Cons of Each Cloud Solution

Each cloud computing type has its own key features and characteristics. But what are their relative benefits and challenges? Below are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of each cloud type and what they mean for potential applications.

Pros of Public Clouds

Public clouds hosted by third-party service providers offer a range of advantages to users, including:

  • Cost savings: Moving resources to a public cloud allows companies to cut down IT costs. Public cloud services manage, secure and update their own hardware and software so your IT team doesn’t have to. All your company needs to do is pay for the service, which is often less expensive than typical IT costs.
  • Security: Most small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the resources they need to implement quality security protocols. A public cloud service can handle this for you, offering baseline security and regular updates.
  • No maintenance: Your IT team doesn’t need to maintain systems when you switch to a public cloud provider. The provider handles it all, freeing up your IT team to handle emergencies, updates and customer-facing issues.
  • Scalability: Public clouds offer almost unlimited scalability. When your workload fluctuates, you don’t need to invest in new hardware — your cloud service provider will scale up for you by allocating more computing resources toward your account.
  • Reliability: Vast server networks with automated failover protocols power public cloud services. Even when one server goes down, another takes its place, protecting your business from downtime.
  • Updates: Larger public cloud service providers update their systems regularly, taking advantage of the latest IT technologies to your benefit.

These benefits make public clouds an excellent resource for small to medium-sized businesses with limited IT budgets.

Cons of Public Clouds

While the public cloud offers many benefits, some of the potential drawbacks of public clouds can make it an unviable option for certain types of businesses. Some of the primary disadvantages of public clouds include:

  • Security and compliance: The multi-tenant nature of public clouds makes it a concern for businesses with strict regulatory and compliance standards. Multitenancy comes with a small risk of data leakage, and though this risk is minimal, any risk is unacceptable for regulated industries. Additionally, the security protocols in place for a public cloud may not be as stringent as needed for regulated industries handling sensitive data.
  • Changing costs: The cost of public clouds is based on use, but this can present a con for organizations processing significant amounts of data in the cloud. A public cloud is cheaper for most businesses. But large organizations handling massive quantities of data may find public cloud costs are significantly higher than what they would pay to establish and support a private cloud.
  • Limited control: Public clouds are managed by their owners, not by the users. While this relieves businesses of the need to manage their resources, this structure also removes their ability to control many aspects of their IT infrastructure, including their configurations, security protocols and failover algorithms. Businesses with highly specific configuration and control needs may want to select another cloud option.
  • Vendor dependency: Another concern with public cloud technology is the reliance on cloud vendor services. While public clouds offer incredible IT technologies like virtual machines and machine learning, businesses can start to rely on these services for their business operations. That reliance can make it difficult to switch to alternative providers or a private cloud later on.
  • Design restrictions: While many public clouds offer some level of customizability, these customizations can be minimal.

Some of these disadvantages do not present problems to certain industries or business types. But they can be a deal-breaker for businesses working in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance or larger companies.

Pros of Private Clouds

Now that we’ve looked into the pros and cons of public clouds, what are the benefits of private cloud models? Some of the most popular advantages of private cloud models include:

  • Customizability: One of the most significant advantages of a private cloud model is adaptability. Organizations establishing their own private cloud environment can customize the platform to meet their specific business needs.
  • Control: Private clouds allow businesses to make all the decisions, letting them control every aspect of their model. This ability includes control over hardware, infrastructure and configuration.
  • Exclusivity: Private clouds are exclusive to the companies that own them. With this ownership, the environment is dedicated to the company and inaccessible by other organizations, which helps reduce the risk of accidental data leaks.
  • Security: Companies with private clouds can apply as many firewalls, security protocols and configurations as they want. Increased security lets businesses meet stringent compliance regulations, which is particularly critical for regulated industries.
  • Efficiency: Private cloud platforms offer excellent scalability and efficiency. A private cloud is able to meet significant variations in demand, all while maintaining the system’s security.

These advantages make private clouds a top choice for highly regulated industries and businesses that need greater control over their IT resources.

Cons of Private Clouds

While private clouds offer numerous advantages in terms of compliance and control, there are some challenges that make it a less viable option, especially for smaller businesses. So what are the disadvantages of private cloud models? Some of the potential ones include:

  • High costs: The private cloud is the most expensive of the cloud types. Establishing a private cloud requires extensive investments in hardware and software, and maintaining the cloud requires sufficient personnel. You’ll also need staff to monitor and update the hardware and software regularly to keep up with changing business and security needs, which incurs additional costs.
  • Maintenance needs: Private clouds require considerable administrative and IT work to manage. You need to have a dedicated staff to ensure the maintenance of the private cloud, and regular updates need to be performed.
  • Limited mobility: Unlike many public cloud options, private clouds either limit or do not allow mobile accessibility. This limitation is usually due to the high-security measures in place, but it reduces the mobility of the system for remote users.
  • Scalability limits: A company’s infrastructure limits a private cloud model’s scalability. Expanding the cloud resources requires investing in additional infrastructure, which adds to the cost of maintaining the private cloud model.
  • Internally dependent reliability: Many companies with private clouds have failover protocols and redundancies to maintain reliability. But the resources a company has limits the potential of these measures. In the event of a massive outage or disaster, the private cloud may go down.

These possible disadvantages can make private clouds an exclusive option, as they are too limited for a portion of business ventures.

Pros of Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds present a unique option to businesses, combining the capabilities of the public cloud with the security and control of private clouds. Some of the major advantages of hybrid clouds include:

  • Policy-driven control: In a hybrid cloud, you control what data stays in your private cloud and what can be moved to a public one. Your organization can maintain a private cloud that houses sensitive data and assets while moving peripheral processes to public options.
  • Secure scalability: Hybrid cloud models allow businesses to scale utilization up and down based on day-to-day needs. With your data control protocols, you can easily scale your cloud solutions without introducing security risks.
  • Reliability: Hybrid cloud models allow users to distribute their services across multiple public and private data centers. You can then ensure systems stay up in the event of a failure, preventing costly downtime.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Like with a public cloud, users pay for hybrid clouds based on use, meaning users pay for the extra computing power only when they need it.

These advantages make hybrid clouds an excellent option for mid-size to large businesses that need a balance of flexibility and security.

Cons of Hybrid Clouds

While hybrid clouds get around some of the more common issues with both private and public clouds, this model still comes with its own set of challenges. Some of the common drawbacks of hybrid cloud models include:

  • Price: Like with public clouds, hybrid clouds can become expensive when heavily used. Switching between public and private cloud environments can also become difficult to track, making it challenging to judge utilization to compare with expenses.
  • Compatibility: In some cases, a private cloud may not be fully compatible with the public cloud used when trying to establish a hybrid model. Imperfect compatibility can then result in latency problems or lapses in communication between the two environments.
  • Maintenance: The owner company still needs to manage the private cloud component of a hybrid model, which requires dedicated staff and maintenance. That maintenance leads to IT costs in addition to the costs of the public cloud subscription.
  • Complexity: A hybrid cloud environment’s infrastructure can quickly become complex as the organization operates and manages a mix of public and private cloud architectures. Administrators need to stay on top of both architectures to ensure continuity in business operations.

Quality implementation and assistance from specialists in cloud computing technology can help mitigate some of those challenges.

How to Choose a Cloud Model

Learning about the different types of clouds gives companies greater insight into the options available, but it inevitably leads to the question of which to choose. Is the public or private cloud better, or would a hybrid cloud be the best choice for your application? When considering the different types of cloud computing models, think about your company’s needs and whether a specific model would support your business. Below are a few key factors to consider:

  • Budget: One of the first factors to think about is your company’s budget. Public clouds tend to be less expensive than private clouds, with hybrid clouds typically falling in between.
  • Size: If your company is relatively small, a public cloud provider should be able to handle your data at a decent price. Larger organizations tend to have greater processing needs that can quickly get expensive on public clouds. For these organizations, private or hybrid clouds tend to be a more cost-effective option.
  • Security: Specialized industries such as government, finance and healthcare have strict compliance requirements, especially when it comes to security. Public clouds offer basic protection but rarely at the level needed for compliance requirements. As a result, these industries typically need to use private clouds. A hybrid cloud is also an option, provided there is strict control over what data migrates to a public server.
  • Control: Public cloud models offer little to no user control over the hardware, servers, security protocols or failover algorithm used. If your organization wants control over these components, a private cloud is going to be the best option.
  • Workloads: If your business has relatively stable workloads with little fluctuation, either a public or private cloud will be a good solution. If your workload is more variable, either a public cloud or a hybrid cloud will allow for quick scalability.
  • Service-level agreement (SLA) management: Public clouds allow users limited negotiation on SLA terms. If you want complete control over SLA management, you will want a private cloud.

Cloud Solutions From Morefield Communications

Business information technology is quickly evolving, with every development introducing new opportunities. Cloud technology is just one of those developments, and it’s becoming a staple across industries of all types. If you’re wondering how your business can get started with cloud technology, Morefield Communications can help.

Morefield Communications specializes in cloud solutions for businesses of all sizes in Pennsylvania. We can help you by creating a tailored cloud solution plan specifically made to meet your business needs and goals. Our cloud services can include anything from data management and infrastructure to analytics and security protocols. On top of it all, we will help you integrate your new cloud services with your existing applications, facilitating a smooth transition.

Cloud computing is still a new concept for many businesses, but Morefield Communications can help you get started. For over 70 years, we’ve made it our mission to stay on top of the latest developments in information technology for businesses. When you partner with us, we can help you take advantage of those developments.

Contact Morefield Communications today to learn more about our cloud services and solutions.

KnowBe4 Free Course: WFH Internet Security

 

Free Course: Internet Security When You Work From Home

With this module we help you understand the challenges and how to stay safe and secure online while working from home.

By the end of this training module, you will:

  • Understand some common technology problems when preparing to work from home.
  • Understand basic necessary steps to take while preparing and securing your home environment for remote work.
  • Know essential best practices to implement for success while working remotely.

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Begin the course by clicking here: https://www.knowbe4.com/wfhinternetsecurity

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WFH: Keeping your team connected & your information secure

We are all realizing this is the new normal for a bit longer. At Morefield, we want to make sure that your organization can be effective and efficient in this new environment. We are working with all of our strategic partners to provide elongated free trials and special pricing of collaboration tools, remote working solutions & connectivity options to all of clients. Together we will come through this. Please let us know how we can help your organization weather the storm. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of the available options below.

 

What Can Morefield Help Me Implement Today?

Remote Working Tools:

  • Mitel’s MiCloud Connect
    • 3 months free
    • Web, audio and video conferencing, screen sharing, softphone, file sharing, messaging, SMS, mobile apps and more
    • Morefield discounted services rates to get your team up and running as soon as possible – 2 available options
  • Cisco Webex allows employees to stay connected to their teams and continue their business operations.
  • Zoom for Business – remote meeting solutions
  • Microsoft Teams can help maintain connectivity to aid in information sharing, even while working remotely, even if you work for a business that isn’t currently licensed for Teams.
    • Document sharing with One Drive, conferencing with Skype, messaging and sharing with Teams.
  • Discounted pricing available on laptops, desktop & workstations
  • Single number reach, cloud voice, and smartphone access use a single corporate number to be reached at the office, at their home office, or on their mobile device.

Virtual Learning:

  • Webex is providing special features for virtual learning education during this time.

IT Security:

  • Cisco Umbrella protects users from malicious Internet destinations whether they are on or off the network. Existing customers are able to exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers & new customers can access a free license.
  • Duo Security enables organizations to verify users’ identities and establish device trust before granting access to applications. Existing customers are able to exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers, and new customers can access a free license.
  • Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client empowers employees to work from anywhere on company laptops or personal mobile devices. It also provides the visibility and control security teams need to identify who and which devices are accessing their infrastructure. Existing AnyConnect customers can exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers, and new customers can access a free license.
  • Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints gives you a detailed assessment to find, stop and remove malicious content with effective tools that are simple to use. Get started now with our 2 to 4-week trial at no cost to you.

Physical Security & Resident Notification Solutions:

Status Solutions SARA system:

  • Notifications and alerts in or outside your facility
  • Digital Signage integration
  • Pre-recorded paging announcements
  • Resident tracking
  • Door lockdown/monitoring

Status Solutions CATIE:

  • Social connections for your residents are so important during this time. There is a free of charge web portal available from Status Solutions called CATIE-Web that allows your residents to receive community messages, while they stay connected to the happenings and services in your community. This can be set up remotely without the need to come on site. See https://www.statussolutions.com/catie-web-offer.

On-Premises vs. Cloud

on premise vs cloud solutions

What is better: on-premises or cloud? Many established companies wonder if it’s worth it to transition out of their on-premises technological infrastructure and move on to the cloud. In contrast, several newer companies wonder if they should invest their early capital in on-premises systems. To choose which option is right for your company, you need to be aware of the differences between on-premises and cloud-based services and infrastructure.

Anytime you do a cloud and on-premises comparison, it’s important to think about the needs of your business. There are trade-offs to whatever option you choose, so you should be fully informed before you decide how many on-premises or cloud services you include at your company.

There are several elements that go into on-premises and cloud systems. To narrow it down, you should focus on the differences between two core elements to your solution: storage and software. Both storage and software are vital to a company’s ability to function day-to-day. As such, there are several cloud and on-premises offerings for storage and software applications.

Cloud Storage vs. On-Premises Storage

Choosing to store your data on external servers or in-house servers is a major decision that companies must consider. As you look at the pros and cons of on-premise and cloud storage, you should be knowledgeable about their most important qualities.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

One of the primary ways the cloud interacts with your company is in the way it stores data. Unlike an on-premises servers with storage, cloud storage uses external servers managed by another company.

A primary function of any business is the ability to store data in servers. After all, servers are the lifeblood of your organization. They store your information, connect your employees and allow you to connect with others around the world. In the past, on-site servers were the only options available to you, but now, cloud-based servers are a viable option as well.

Cloud storage is a great option for many companies, as it provides cost-saving benefits along with functional ones like regular data backups and the ability to scale easily. Cloud storage is a great option for your company because it can:

  • Reduce IT staff’s responsibilities: As your cloud storage will be managed by another company, your IT staff won’t have to take the time to install new software patches or updates, freeing up their time for other tasks.
  • Eliminate capital expenses:While on-premises storage is considered a capital expense, cloud storage is considered an operational expense. Typically, on-premises storage requires a large initial investment to purchase equipment and install it in the office. As cloud storage is taken care of externally, there is no need for capital investment. Instead, companies will pay an affordable monthly subscription.
  • Adjust to your budget: To help companies keep their initial costs low, organizations regularly pay for cloud-storage on a month by month basis. No matter if you’re scaling up or scaling down, most cloud-based storage companies can adjust their prices to meet your budget. Additionally, cloud storage features can be adjusted, added or left out of plans altogether. This sort of flexibility is great for companies who expect change and don’t want to get locked into paying for services they don’t need.
  • Perform regular data backups:The cloud offers easier data backup than on-premises servers ever could. Cloud-based servers give users peace of mind because they know if their computer goes haywire or their local files are deleted, they can find the information again. This ability to access information that would otherwise be lost means your company can minimize the risk of losing critical information.
  • Adjust to your company’s needs: Cloud-based storage is built to scale. Need a few extra terabytes of data to store more data? Simply upgrade your plan with a click or two. Unlike a company’s own servers that would need to have new hardware installed, cloud-based servers can quickly be expanded to meet the needs of your company. For those companies growing quickly, it means that you’ll never have to worry about slowing down because your equipment can’t keep up.
why cloud storage may not be the best option

Why Cloud Storage May Not Be the Best Option

Though there are several benefits to using the cloud for your storage needs, it also comes with some drawbacks. Cloud storage may not be the best choice for your company because:

  • Internet determines user experience: When you use cloud storage, a fast and reliable internet connection is a must-have. A redundant Internet connection should also be considered if a majority of the workload will be hosted in the Cloud. If you have a slow connection, accessing your files or downloading them can be a tedious experience. For those who need to work quickly, a slow internet connection can provide a horrible user experience while they access your cloud servers.
  • Costs can balloon with little warning: The rapid scalability of cloud storage, while an advantage listed above, can also be a costly determent if left unmanaged.  Cloud services are consumption models, so the more storage your Company requires, the higher the monthly cost.  Companies should adopt policy and process to avoid the surprise of a costly invoice.  A single point of contact should be identified within the Company, one who is accountable for the Cloud relationship and lap-lanes should be established for consumption with anticipated cost increases when lap-lanes are exceeded.
  • Access is based on connection: A downside of relying on the internet to store your files is that an internet outage can totally knock out your access to important files. Losing access to your data during a connection outage can delay your operations and make it impossible for some staff members to be productive. While the reliability of the internet has come a long way over the years, companies need to be confident in their connection before they switch to cloud storage.
  • Litigation – search warrant: If your company is the focus of an investigation, law enforcement could issue a search warrant to your cloud supplier.  Forcing access to your Company storage without your consent to search for artifacts that support an investigation.  Electronic materials that are strategic to the Company operation, may not be appropriate for Cloud storage.  Companies should have written guidelines and acceptable use policy to accompany the cloud storage service
  • Data is less secure: Whenever you work with a cloud storage company, you are entrusting the management of your data to another party for them to manage and keep secure. Whenever  an outside-party is trusted with your company data, you run the risk of unauthorized personnel accessing it. To avoid this, you’ll want to ask about security practices and procedures of the Cloud company and how they encrypt your data while it’s in transit and at rest.

Advantages of On-Premises Storage

Unlike cloud storage, on-premises storage relies on infrastructure at your Company’s brick and mortar office to manage your data. You’ll own all of the equipment and you will be responsible for the lifecycle management. As you might guess, there are several pros and cons of on-premises solutions for data storage.

benefits of on-premises storage

Though cloud-storage has been all the rage lately, some companies still believe that on-premises solutions are best suited for their business needs. For example, many enjoy the greater security that on-premises solutions and storage give their data. On-premises storage is a great option for your business because it can:

  • Operate without internet:One of the major upsides to on-premises storage is that it doesn’t require users to have an internet connection to access data. Though most businesses rely on the internet to conduct business, there’s always a fear that the loss of a connection could harm productivity and make it impossible to access crucial data. On-premises servers will provide you with an internal network that is accessible anytime, no matter your internet connection.
  • Lower monthly internet costs: If your business doesn’t rely on the internet or cloud-based services, you may not need to pay for such a high-speed connection. For those with on-premises storage, the need for a strong connection with fast download speeds is reduced even further. Based on your needs, you may not have to pay for a more expensive internet plan if you don’t have to access the cloud to view files.
  • Provide greater security: Unlike cloud-storage, which is more vulnerable to third parties and prying eyes, on-premises storage is completely restricted from anyone other than authorized personnel. On-premises servers are not accessible to those outside the network, as they are not storing the data online. For companies who handle sensitive data, like those in the financial industry, on-premises storage may be a preferred option.
  • Offer control over server hardware:Some companies enjoy having dedicated servers within their building to handle all their needs. Instead of having to ask a cloud storage company to upgrade their storage plan or add new features, the company can simply do the upgrades themselves. Potentially, being able to modify the server’s hardware can give savvy companies greater flexibility and customization for their storage needs.

Why On-Premises Storage May Not Be the Best Option

Despite the many advantages that come with on-premises storage, there are some drawbacks companies should be aware of. On-premises storage may not be the best choice for your business because it can:

  • Require extra IT support: If you decide you want to use on-premises storage, you’ll also need to have IT staff to maintain and manage your servers. This could mean you have to hire new staff members or devote more of your current staff’s time to maintaining the servers. This extra support can add to your costs and reduce the efficiency of your IT department as they will have increased responsibilities associated with the on-premises servers.
  • Adherence to industry compliance: If your Company operates within a regulated industry such as Finance or HealthCare, the responsibility to abide by the governing regulations will fall squarely on your Company as you are the owner and operator of the servers and on-premise storage.  Compliance can require the attention of many employees, additional money for outside audits and potential fines if the infrastructure is found to be out of compliance.
  • Increase maintenance costs: Along with the initial capital investment required to purchase servers and other hardware, you’ll also need to continue to buy hardware, software and licenses to upgrade the system or repair it. Oftentimes, a piece of hardware will malfunction and need to be replaced. Additionally, in order to realize the most from your server investment, you will want to upgrade your equipment, which will likely be annually (at least), and will require an investment of more money.
  • Require a greater capital investment: When you first set up on-premises storage, you’ll have to invest a significant amount of capital to purchase the servers and other pieces of hardware to get it running. For companies just trying to get off the ground, this level of capital investment can be a huge disadvantage. Along with purchasing the equipment, you’ll also need to devote time and money to make sure it’s properly installed.
  • Increase the risk of data loss: Data is the backbone of your business. Losing it can be crippling, both for your efficiency and your reputation. With on-premises storage, a malfunction in the system or a compromised system held for ransom can cause you to lose your data permanently. While a cloud-based system will keep your data backed up, on-premises storage systems have all the data stored on an internal server, meaning you assume a greater amount of risk.  A best practice for on-premise storage, to avoid the loss of data, is to include an off site backup service that replicates the data to another site or media.
  • Limit your company’s ability to scale:If your company scales up and needs more storage space or other capabilities, it’s more difficult to scale your on-premises servers quickly. Unlike cloud-storage, where companies can simply pick a more expansive plan with a click, on-premises storage requires you to install new hardware and devote manpower to building the new systems.
why on premises may not be the best option

When you are comparing your options of on-premise and cloud storage, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each. As you are selecting your provider for the services, ask the right questions to make sure you get the best option for your organization.

Cloud-Based Software vs. On-Premises Software

Is on-premises or cloud better for your business? Whenever a company looks to add new software to their business, it’s important for them to know about whether cloud computing or on-premises software is a better option for their needs.

Advantages of Cloud-Based Software

If you’re interested in cloud-based software, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of advantages to using it. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Affordability: Generally, costs are lower for cloud-based applications. Instead of having to pay a large licensing fee upfront, you’ll have much lower monthly costs. Often times, these monthly costs take the form of subscription fees. Along with the lower initial costs that make them more affordable, the companies offering these subscriptions often include maintenance and support, saving you manpower and the financial cost of having to troubleshoot problems yourself.
  • Ease of deployment: One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is its ability to be deployed quickly without long installation processes. Customers of cloud software vendors will be able to start using the vendors’ application within minutes. Quick deployment gives companies an edge over the competition, and as such, is very popular among competitive companies.
  • Management services: One major aspect of cloud computing is the management services that vendors will typically offer clients. Instead of having to host the software or purchase hardware themselves, a customer can work with a vendor who will take care of it all externally, freeing up staff and reducing costs. The business won’t ever have to worry about upgrades or network monitoring, as the vendor will manage it all.
the advantages of cloud based software

Why Cloud-Based Software May Not Be the Best Option

As you can see, cloud-based computing has several benefits. However, before you sign up for it, there are a few disadvantages you’ll need to be mindful of, including:

  • Long term costs: One drawback to cloud-based software is that, in the long-term, subscription costs can end up costing more in total than if a company would have paid for a licensing fee from the very beginning. This is especially true if your organization does not rely on the latest version of software.  Cloud based software provides the latest version to the user and those development costs are reflected in the monthly subscription.
  • Less flexibility: Flexibility and customizability is often an issue for companies that use cloud-based software. The suppliers that provide software to companies via the cloud often don’t include widely customizable options. All consumers are provided the same off the shelf application.  The service is often designed for the industry rather than the specific needs of a company, meaning that customers may not receive a service that is convenient for everything they do.
  • Security concerns: Like the security issues that affect cloud storage, cloud software also has comparable problems with security. Though security has gotten better, the cloud can still be hacked into by outside forces that look to extract data from these online programs. If you go with the cloud, seek out suppliers who support single sign on and multi-factor authentication. Onboarding / offboarding processes should be adopted to manage employee access via a common company directory server.
disadvantage of cloud based software

Advantages of On-Premises Software

On-premises software comes with advantages that are sure to provide value to your business. The following are some of the top ways on-premises software can be of assistance:

  • Greater customization: Since you’ll handle all of the on-premises software yourself, you’ll likely be able to customize it much more than if you were subscribing to a cloud-based system. If your company has niche needs that aren’t regularly covered by options in the industry, then on-premises software may be right for you.
  • License purchase versus subscription: licensing models for premise system are usually tied to the host hardware vs. the employee.  A company has greater discression for reallocating licenses within this concurrent seat model.  It is usually a best practice to purchase 10-15% more licenses to accommodate growth during the lifecycle of the platform.
  • Greater security: Better security is commonly cited as the main reason businesses stick with on-premises security. Like with storage, it’s less likely that anyone will be able to access your programs and siphon data if you keep everything in-house. Additionally, it’s typically easier to install extra data protection tools to data and programs based on an on-premises system rather than a cloud-based one.
advantages of on-premises software

Why On-Premises Software May Not Be the Best Option

Even with the many advantages on-premises software provides, you’ll also need to take into account the downsides, including:

  • Long deployment times: One major issue affecting companies that use on-premises software is its inability to be deployed quickly. When you purchase a piece of software, you’ll have to configure the hardware, test the program to see if its working and then roll it out to every employee. This can be incredibly time consuming and can put you at a disadvantage.
  • Scalability: Another common issue with on-premises software is that it doesn’t scale as well as cloud-based software. For example, if you increase the number of users in a program, your IT staff will have to manually install the software or hardware to let your new employees use it. Additionally, old software can go out of date and saddle you with programs that you no longer have any use for.
  • Remote offices and mobile workforce: If your company has multiple offices or a large mobile workforce, on premise software can introduce new challenges in providing access to these remote employees.  Additional network or carrier services must be included, increasing the operational costs and overall complexity for the Company.
  • Upfront costs:When you decide to purchase software and integrate it into your on-premises system, you’ll need to pay a higher initial cost for the services. While these costs may even out over time, it’s likely that new, updated programs will hit the market, meaning you may not use a program long enough to make back the money you spent at the beginning. For companies that don’t have a lot of capital on hand, a cloud-based subscription may be better.
disadvantage of on-premises software

Do You Have to Choose One or the Other?

One major trend in a variety of industries is the use of hybrid systems that utilize both cloud and on-premises solutions. This means you don’t have to be exclusive with your usage of on-premises or cloud-based systems. Instead, you can use both for the most appropriate needs. For example, you might have some in-house servers for the most important data, while having day-to-day data in a cloud so all your employees can access it quickly.

Find the Right Solution With Morefield Communications

Whether you want on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions, you can trust Morefield Communications to provide them. As one of the top business technology companies in Pennsylvania, we know that reliable technology is crucial for businesses to succeed. Choosing Morefield Communications for your on-premises or cloud-based needs means you’ll be working for an organization that has over 70 years of experience in guarding sensitive data, making companies more efficient and providing top quality customer service.

If you’re looking to add more cloud-based services to your business, we have a variety of cloud solutions available to consumers, along with on-premises ones as well. If you’re unsure of what you need, contact one of our representatives to receive expert advice on how we can help.

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Managed Services vs. Professional Services

Most small and medium businesses don’t have the resources or the budget to set up a full-blown IT department. They may have one or two designated employees, but to truly reach their goals, they usually need to outsource IT.

By outsourcing technological pieces, a business can save money and time. It doesn’t need to spend the money and resources on developing an in-house option. These expenses can add up for a small business, especially one that might not even use technology all that much.

Many companies that don’t think they need IT help are behind the curve. We live in a technology-dependent world, where our phones are never more than 10 feet away from us. IT services are practically a necessity for any modern business — even ones that don’t feel they use technology much. The back end of security and servers is more complicated than many administrators realize, and ignoring it could mean you are just waiting for an incident to happen. By outsourcing IT, you can stay ahead of these problems.

One important consideration when outsourcing IT is whether managed or professional services are right for your business. What is the difference between managed services and professional services? We’ll go over the differences and the pros and cons of each approach below.

What Are Managed Services?

Managed services are the typical image of IT support. These are the guys you have 24-hour access to whenever a server goes down or you need help troubleshooting some software. They also perform maintenance tasks and keep things running smoothly.

Some characteristics of a managed service include:

  • Day-to-day maintenance: Managed services perform routine tasks like updates and tune-ups. These tasks are easy for employees to overlook since they might not directly relate to what they’re doing. A dedicated IT force, however, can ensure that your tech isn’t left open to security problems or slow software due to outdated programs. They may also take care of things like virus removal and disk management for any slow-moving computers.
  • Troubleshooting: Troubleshooting is usually where people first feel the need to contact their IT department. Managed services are typically on standby and reachable whenever you have an issue. Whether your login isn’t working or some hardware won’t connect, they may be available remotely or can pay you an in-person visit to solve the issue. Many offer online chats or phone calls, as well.
  • Security: Some businesses aren’t well-equipped to deal with attacks on their network, or may not have sufficient security. Small and medium firms may especially benefit from outsourcing this aspect. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Incident Report, 43% of data breaches involved small business victims. Every business needs strong security, and managed services can set up robust security systems on your network. Some IT providers will also assist with data recovery in case something were to happen to your information.
  • Administration: Managed services can set up an entire network and maintain it for you, taking care of the operational side.
  • Data backup: A crash can be a high cost for a business that is unprepared for it. Recouping lost information and rebuilding a business’ resources can be expensive and time-consuming. Managed services can protect you from this cost by performing regular data backups to keep information safe. A backup can also provide security in the case of a cyberattack.
  • Unified communications: Unified communications combines a variety of communication methods into one streamlined approach. By combining office phones, cellphones, instant messenger, emails and voicemails, you can have a more productive, simplified way of reaching employees and clients. A managed services provider can take care of unified communications, including setup and maintenance.
  • Onboarding: Since managed services are always available, they can take care of onboarding programs for new employees. Setting up logins and installing software are some of the tasks they may perform.
  • Network monitoring: Another major benefit of managed services is that they can monitor your network 24/7 for any problems. Even a small shutdown can result in major expenses for a business. Consistent monitoring ensures that your business can respond to these issues quickly and efficiently and prevent them whenever possible.
What are managed services

Managed services may bundle a wide variety of tasks into one, making payments simple and eliminating headaches associated with organizing vendors.

What Are Professional Services?

Professional services are more of an on-demand solution than managed services. IT professionals may be employed for one-off projects or short-term changes in a company. Think of expansions or new hardware rollouts. They may be involved in the process from start to finish, or in only one portion. Planning, design, installation and training are all aspects that professional services can take care of. Some also provide ongoing support, such as maintenance or troubleshooting, after the work is complete.

Though the projects can be incredibly thorough and comprehensive, professional services tend to be one-offs. An expanding business may need help upscaling their system, or a company looking for a new solution may require a consultant who knows their limitations and needs. These projects can be quite varied, but professional services address specific challenges posed to a company.

Some of the areas in which a company might choose to use professional services include the following.

  • Consulting: Expensive losses may be the result of an uninformed purchase decision or strategy, but many professional services can prevent this through consultations. They frequently work with organizations to find the best solutions and offer expert advice.
  • Cloud migration: Moving an entire system to the cloud is sometimes a monumental task and one that may be beyond the capabilities of a small organization. Professional services can step in and take care of the whole process. Transferring data to the cloud can offer a variety of benefits to companies of all sizes and is often cheaper than on-site storage. Scalability, seamless integration, networking and security improvements are a few of the ways that cloud services can help a business.
  • Deployment: New hardware or software deployment can be a complicated process with many moving parts. Professional services bring in the experts to take care of these rollouts. They may install and configure new solutions and help implement them. A smooth transition can keep a company moving efficiently and avoid unnecessary snags.
  • Advanced troubleshooting: Sometimes, problems are too difficult for a small in-house team. If an issue exceeds your capabilities, professional services can step in and help. You can utilize professional services on an on-demand basis as tech support, though it may become cost-prohibitive if it is a common occurrence.

What are professional services

A Comparison of Managed Services and Professional Services

The most significant difference between managed services and professional services is the time frame and scope of work. Managed services are on-going and typically work off of a contract. They can cover many aspects of an organization’s IT needs on a daily basis. Professional services are project-based and usually address a specific problem or challenge.

The right choice is different for each company and depends on the solutions they are attempting to develop. Other significant factors are the size, needs and capabilities of the business. Some businesses are much more tech-heavy than others, and some have a larger in-house IT team to lean on. In these instances, managed and professional services can offer different benefits to every organization.

Find the Right Solution for Your Needs

What is better — managed or professional services? The answer differs from company to company and situation to situation. To select the right option for your organization, you’ll need to identify what it is you need from an IT service. Do you want to beef up security or reorganize a network? Are you struggling with the idea of rolling out new hardware? You may want to consider professional services to help with a specific task. Are you looking to spend less time fighting with technical challenges during the workday or set up a 24/7 monitoring system for your network? Managed services may be what you need.

Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for from an IT service, you’ll want to consider the challenges associated with each one. Remember, you are entrusting critical components of your business to a third-party service, so you’ll need to make sure that they are trustworthy. Many years of experience and strong testimonies from satisfied clients can help you gauge the success of an IT group.

finding the right IT partner

Some of the pros of managed services include:

  • Preventative: Managed services help organizations avoid the “break-fix” mentality, which involves waiting to ask IT to step in until there is a problem. These problems can cost money and time to fix, but managed services give you an on-hand team ready to spring into action. More importantly, the steps that they take for maintenance and upkeep can prevent these problems from even happening in the first place. Network monitoring and regular updates can help keep systems secure and efficient, avoiding the need for emergency tech help. Since managed services tend to handle it all, you also won’t have to waste precious time deciding who to go to if there is a problem.
  • Ongoing: Managed services include 24/7 support and include continuing care for a wide variety of technical problems. You don’t need to wait for office hours or for someone to come to your building. Since the support is always there, you can call or message to get issues fixed as they come up. You also get the benefit of having a long working relationship with the company. You can develop trust and reliable communication with them, smoothing out the interactions.
  • Easy to budget: While you could factor in a revolving amount for various tech challenges that arise, managed services are easier to budget for, since they typically run under a manageable monthly plan.

The cons of managed services may include:

  • Excessive options: Depending on what needs doing, a long-term solution may not be the right choice. Maybe your smaller IT team can handle regular updates and maintenance, or you only need help with one rollout. If your team can handle the day-to-day just fine, managed services could be an unnecessary cost.
  • Restricted: On the other hand, some more specific services might not be included in your arrangement with the service provider. If you make frequent changes to your system or only need help once in a while, managed services may not cover all your needs.

For professional services, some of the pros include:

  • One-and-done: If you only need assistance for one project, event or problem, professional services may be exactly what you need. You’ll only have to pay once for their services, and you don’t need to worry about a monthly cost.
  • Focused: Professional services address a specific problem. It is more focused than managed services and may be more comprehensive. You can expect thorough assistance during as many or as few steps of the process as you need.
  • Versatile: You aren’t limited to standard IT issues. Professional services often address custom solutions. Experts can develop a solution to a variety of uncommon problems.

Finally, the cons of professional services include:

  • Future maintenance: With professional services, you may be on your own for future maintenance or problems. After the work is complete, professional services typically end there. You’ll either need to arrange for them to perform follow-up services or conduct maintenance on your own. You also won’t have someone monitoring your network after they finish the job.
  • Slower response: If you want to use professional services as a response to technical problems, it will likely involve a bit of a wait. The downtime may result in lost profits. You’ll have to spend time finding a company and getting them set up to solve the problem, making them not ideal for responding to network crashes or crucial incidents.
  • Plans: If using a professional service, you’ll benefit from knowing your project beforehand. If you have to change your strategy midway through the work, you may incur additional costs or time needed. Because of the scope of work, you’ll benefit from knowing what you’re doing at the outset.

In either solution, your IT needs are simplified. By combining your IT work into one company, you can avoid the hassle of making calls to multiple vendors and organizing the different services they each offer. You’ll get a more efficient and integrated solution.

You’ll also want to have a thorough understanding of what services a provider offers. Compare the benefits of each option to find the right fit for your organization.

Morefield Is Your Technology Partner

If you are in central Pennsylvania, Morefield can help you make smart technology decisions through a variety of channels. We are a local company with over 100 highly skilled staff members, certified in a variety of areas. Whether you have a small business with almost no IT experience or a large enterprise with plenty of technology in use, Morefield can help.

We can provide both managed and professional services, depending on your needs. With fast response times and over 70 years of experience in the industry, we offer quick, effective results in both categories. Whether you need someone to manage your day-to-day operations, spearhead a new hardware rollout or something in between, Morefield Communications is there. If you’re still not sure which approach is best for you or if you want more information about our services, reach out to a representative today!

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