The momentum of cloud repatriation, where organizations are abandoning managing their data and backups in the cloud for a more traditional on-premises storage approach, suggests companies are leaning more and more towards bringing their data back in-house.
This shift in thinking in the storage market is splitting consensus on how enterprises should manage their data—in the cloud or on-premises.
In this article, we break down the pros and cons of cloud storage solutions so you can make an empowered and informed decision on what’s better for your business.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage refers to data stored and backed up on remote servers that are managed by third-party service providers. The leading cloud storage providers include the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Storage, and Microsoft Azure.
Data stored with cloud storage providers is accessed online and only requires an internet connection. In the late 2000s, cloud storage rapidly gained popularity with mass data migrations to the cloud due to the following benefits it promised:
The Benefits of Cloud Storage:
Cloud storage facilitates seamless scale. As your storage needs evolve and grow, procuring larger databases is easy, removing the need to invest in more hardware.
Most cloud storage providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing models. You only pay for the storage you use, helping ensure you’re not wasting resources on storage capacity you’re not leveraging.
Your data in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere with only an internet connection. There is no need for complicated intranets. This is a major advantage, particularly for organizations with remote and global workforces that rely on centralized collaboration.
Security and Disaster Recovery
Security and disaster recovery normally fall under the purview of the cloud storage provider, eliminating the need to invest in and manage those crucial elements internally. A common practice third-party vendors also deliver is automatic backups so that there are copies of your data as a form of contingency in the event of cyber-attacks or natural disasters.
Maintenance is another component that is outsourced to the cloud storage provider. They handle all the upgrades, patches, and infrastructure maintenance, thereby lightening the load and demand on your internal resources.
The benefits are undeniable and significant, however there are critical disadvantages to cloud storage solutions that have grown to a point where they are overshadowing the benefits this approach offers, driving companies to return to on-premises storage solutions.
The Disadvantages of Cloud Storage
The cons of cloud storage solutions are primarily based on security, control, and most recently, rapidly increasing costs that are spiralling out of control.
While security is outsourced to cloud-storage vendors, taking that burden away from organizations, this can also be a heavy disadvantage, particularly for companies that handle sensitive data and operate in heavily regulated industries. Data control and security is not contingent on internal policies. Instead, it’s managed externally by a third-party cloud storage vendor according to their policies and protocols.
Just like the security disadvantages that cloud storage presents, a lack of control also impacts compliance. Many organizations in different verticals must adhere to a host of data retention regulations. A good example is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that outlines specific guidelines stipulating that personally identifiable information (PII) in the healthcare and health insurance sectors must be retained for a period of 6 years from their creation date or from the date a policy was last modified.
Therefore, sub-optimal control of your data can severely impact your ability to be compliant and may increase the risk of non-compliance and costly penalties.
Like any third-party service provider, external vendors are subject to their own IT challenges and disruptions in service. The disadvantage of this occurring – compared to on-premises data management and storage – is that you’re dependent on the cloud storage provider’s SLAs (service level agreements) and agility when addressing sudden outages, connectivity issues, or downtime.
The biggest disadvantage of cloud storage solutions are the rapidly inflated costs of storing and backing up your data with third-party providers.
According to Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Index, nearly half of all respondents reported that they’re planning on repatriating some applications to on-premises storage centers to mitigate rising cloud costs. 85% of all respondents also reported that managing cloud costs is now a challenge.
With thought leaders and reputable digital publishers like Forbes joining the active conversation with pieces entitled, Cloud Costs May Bankrupt You: Here’s How to Fight Back, the writing is on the wall: the various and compelling benefits of cloud storage solutions are being overshadowed by the rapidly growing size of their invoices.
The result? Cloud repatriation to bring data back to on-premises data centers with cost-effective and reliable hardware.
In the next article of this blog series, we’ll take deep dive into the pros and cons of on-premises data storage solutions as well as cloud repatriation. You can decide which is better for your organization, business objectives, and needs.
Summary: The Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage Solutions
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