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Cloud vs. On-premise File Sharing for Business: 4 Practical Issues to Consider (1/3)

01/21/2015 / 0 Comments

In our previous blog post on cloud vs. on-premise file sharing for business, we explored how understanding the advantages and features of these approaches can help you keep your sensitive business data out of the hands of cybercriminals and attackers.

In our second and final installment on the topic of evaluating cloud vs. on-premise file sharing for business, we explore four practical considerations in identifying the right file sharing and storage solution for your company or organization.


1. Accessibility

The biggest difference in accessibility between a cloud-based and an on-premise or private cloud solution for business file sharing is the ability to support offline access through a company intranet.

If your business prefers to run your file sharing service offline, through your company intranet, or if there are any concerns about the reliability of your Internet connection, an on-site installation of a file sharing solution can allow you to access, uploading, and download files directly through your servers and without connecting to the Internet. With the right solution, users can even authenticate their authorized access to your file sharing system without an Internet connection and by using your intranet.

This approach is relatively rare, but a properly engineered solution will provide support and flexibility for this kind of deployment, thus allowing you to decide exactly how you prefer to operate your file sharing solution.


2. Performance

When you choose a cloud-based file sharing system for your business, most vendors will host their solution and your data on high-capacity, reliable, and responsive servers like Amazon’s S3 infrastructure or similar architecture from other data hosting companies. This ensures that your data are always available and that you can enjoy fast downloads and uploads and get the dependability that you need for your business.

The underlying infrastructure does not impact data security as long as the file sharing solution is properly engineered. If it uses cryptography that protects user access with PKI authentication and does not store or transmit data without encryption, then you can be assured that your data are safe. Cloud hosting merely ensures that your files and data are conveniently and quickly accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

The advantage of installing and running a file sharing solution on your own servers is that performance over a local network is typically faster and better than anything you can get from a cloud hosted alternative. This is because an on-premise system, running on your own architecture, reduces the total number of users that the file sharing service might share, and you have the freedom to tailor the performance and capacity of your solution to meet your needs. In the end, with only your users accessing the system and with a direct network connection rather than a remote Internet connection, you should be able to achieve faster performance and greater reliability than relying on the cloud.


3. Hardware

One of the advantages of a cloud file sharing solution is that there are usually no specific hardware requirements, and most solutions will offer compatibility with Windows and Mac desktop operating systems and iOS and Android mobile operating systems. There are also no hardware requirements in terms of hosting and running the solution on your own servers. A third party vendor can provide and maintain all hardware, systems, and servers to deliver your hosted solution.

In the case of private cloud file sharing, some on-premise solutions have specific hardware requirements, especially in terms of having compatible in-house architecture and systems in place. However, an ideal solution will offer total flexibility with no specific hardware requirements and variety of options for supporting existing databases, free databases, ready-made or turnkey virtual appliances, and a full range of operating systems and database solutions, from Windows, Linux, and any OS supporting Java Runtime Environment, to databases solutions like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Derby, and PostgreSQL.

With the right solution, you can avoid headaches, hardware requirements, and compatibility issues, whether you choose to deploy a solution in the cloud or install file sharing on your own servers. The key is evaluating your options and making sure that you make the right choice for your business needs and IT capabilities.


4. Cost

In terms of cost, cloud file sharing systems are a popular choice for many businesses because the short-term costs are lower. There are no up-front capital investments required, and the service is usually provided based on a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) contract, along with your plan selection and your usage requirements.

Thus, you can enjoy the convenience of cloud-based file sharing and storage for less than $100 per month if you have relatively few users and your usage requirements are fairly low. If you have large-scale needs, then the costs will almost certainly be higher, but, even over the span of a few years, the service may be less expensive than an on-premise solution.

However, monthly SaaS costs are ongoing and perpetual, so there are incremental costs, and if you end up using a service for a period of years, your costs may be higher in the long run. With some enterprise SaaS contracts, there may also be termination or cancellation fees if you decide to end your service agreement with a vendor, so this could add unanticipated costs if you decide to make a change.

In contrast, a private cloud or on-premise solution requires up-front capital costs for licensing, full integration support, and any hardware that may not already be in place or that you want to upgrade before installing your solution, but there are no incremental costs. Once the system is installed and operating on your servers, a good provider will provide free ongoing support and will not charge any incremental fees for licensing or software upgrades.

If you want the control of operating your own private cloud and an on-premise file sharing solution, on your own architecture, and behind your firewall, with administrative tools and reports, then the up-front investment in an in-house solution is the ideal choice. A reputable and high-quality vendor will work with you to assess your needs, develop an integration plan, and then execute that plan while delivering top class support and file sharing security that you can trust.


Getting Expert Advice and Consultation

Our security engineers can provide insight and assistance in deploying secure cloud or on-premise file sharing with PKI authentication to protect your business data. Contact us today to request a free consultation and to learn more about our SecSign Portal solution, which delivers secure file sharing for business.

To request your consultation, please visit our Contact Us page and submit your request, and one of our representatives will be in touch with you within one business day.


About SecSign Technologies

SecSign Technologies is a sister company of SecCommerce Informationssysteme GmbH, a pioneer of cryptography solutions with more than 16 years of experience in developing data encryption, public key infrastructure (PKI), electronic signature, and smartcard technologies. Our security experts and cryptography engineers have developed, deployed, and maintained systems that have successfully protected confidential business data and user access for numerous major corporations, including IBM, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, Fujitsu, T-Systems, BMW, and Audi.

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