Data Center vs. the Cloud: Should I Move My Business?

Data centers contain all of a company’s proprietary data and are an essential part of any organization’s network. Traditionally, data centers are located on-site and managed by in-house IT departments.

Yet, the emergence of cloud-based offerings has business leaders asking, “should I move my business to the cloud?”

Many organizations seem to think they should. A 2015 International Data Corporation (IDC) press release cited that cloud IT infrastructure spending will grow at a CAGR of 14 percent over the next five years, leading to an annual spend of $52 billion by 2019. IDC’s report determined that the expansion of cloud data centers is at the heart of this trend.

So, let’s take a look at how cloud computing differs from traditional data centers and what impact these differences will have on your business.

Data Center vs. the Cloud – Two Differences to Consider

Third-party Management

Cloud data centers are located off-site and are managed by a third party. This enables your organization to reduce the physical space required to maintain a network while simultaneously providing scalability and eliminating the need to purchase on-site hardware.

Plus, your vendor will supply more-timely software updates and more-thorough system monitoring, as well as the management of the infrastructure that supports your datacenter: cooling, electricity, cabling and networking.


The security dynamic that exists in the cloud differs from that of traditional data centers. Although your migration grants a third party access to your data, that same party provides a higher level of security to your network than what your in-house IT team can provide.

In the on-premise situation, you have to take care of the security of both the physical and electronic elements of your data center. When it comes to the cloud, physical access is only granted to the 3rd party, not to other clients, visitors, etc. Also with the cloud, digital security is usually based on a shared responsibility model, meaning they take care of the networking, storage and databases while you take care of the computing component.

Data Center vs. the Cloud – Three Questions to Answer First

Considering these differences, here are some of the important questions that your organization needs to ask first, in order to determine whether it should move its data center into the cloud.

How is your business growing?

Cloud computing presents an opportunity for growing organizations due to the ease of scalability they provide, i.e., you are no longer obligated to purchase additional hardware to adjust for expansion because the third-party vendor provides it.

Still, without proper planning, your organization runs the risk of overspending on this third-party vendor service.

Before settling on a cloud migration, therefore, your businesses should perform an objective self-evaluation. Assess your growth potential to determine whether you should buy services upfront to cover a potential expansion or contract for a pay-as-you-go service, which may include higher fees overall.

Are you equipped for development changes?

When it comes to transferring from your on-site data center to the cloud, your business may have to reorient development and operations processes in order to work within the constraints of the new system.

Specifically, coding, deployment and security may be an issue. Take a look at your infrastructure and product codebase, and make sure that your organization is prepared to rewrite them so that they work in conjunction with the technology utilized by your chosen cloud provider.

What is your data worth to you?

Despite the fact that data centers are meant to maintain your data for you, the fact is that it might be compromised in the blink of an eye due to a technical malfunction. This could lead to lost information as well as downtime for your company’s systems. What’s more, hackers are also looking to make money and wreak havoc on organizations by stealing their data.

Moving your data center to the cloud can provide extra protection against these risks.

For instance, your data can be backed up on multiple servers in multiple locations; consequently, if there is ever an outage in one location, your data will still be available from the secondary site.

Additionally, cloud-based data centers may also provide automatic security patch updates and network monitoring as part of their offering. If they do, hackers will have a harder time accessing your data and hurting your business.

Data Center vs. the Cloud – Conclusion

There are clear benefits to moving your organization’s data center to the cloud. The key to making sure it is worthwhile for your business is to conduct a thorough assessment in advance of any migration.

Understanding your organization’s growth potential and its ability to rewrite code (should the need arise) will ultimately determine whether the cloud is the right place for your data.