Results of a poll conducted on cloud adoption for 2016 suggest that over 4 out of 5 businesses or roughly 84% of enterprises in the UK use at least one service in the Cloud. This is a healthy adoption rate that has been happening in the last 5 years from 40% in 2010 to 78% in 2014.

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This trend provides valuable insight that the Cloud helps business organisations achieve goals and objectives as well as workloads. Moreover, more than 50% of respondents in the polls stated that they will move their business entirely to the Cloud at some point.

But, the question remains – is cloud hosting the best way to go or is dedicated hosting also a viable option? We examine the advantages and disadvantages of different hosting options for your business.

Advantages of cloud hosting

  • No physical infrastructure

The primary edge of cloud hosting is that there is no need for physical hardware at all. This means you don’t have to shell out capital to buy physical servers nor are you faced with finding space for equipment. Cloud users benefit from economies of scale as the cost of procurement is shared among subscribers.

  • Pay only for what you need

When your data collection, storage and protection are in the cloud, you only pay for the volume of server space that you use. This eliminates paying for idle time which can be used by the company for other lucrative activities.

  • Flexibility

As your needs and requirements grow, you have the flexibility to scale up your resources. For example, you can upgrade RAM or disk space easily with a few clicks.  Software integration is also automatic.

  • Accessibility

Accessibility is also a main benefit of using cloud hosting as anyone in your firm can work anywhere, anytime. The ability to pull out and use data on the go increases levels of productivity that would not otherwise be possible with a dedicated server.

  • Backup and recovery

It is also easier to store, backup and restore data in the cloud than on a physical device.

Disadvantages of cloud hosting

  • Data breach

Information in the cloud is vulnerable to data breaches since you do not have full control of security. 70% of businesses who were polled in the Cloud study cited data security concerns.

  • Uptime dependent

In addition, you are highly dependent on uptime for your activities to run and if there is plenty of downtime, you lose valuable time and potential clients.

  • Slow to no technical support

Technical support is often slow and the waiting period is long, up to 48 hours.

Pros of using dedicated servers

  • Control of resources

Full control of your resources is the main advantage of using a dedicated server for your business data. You can tailor it to your requirements as you see fit.

  • Full security compliance

If you have extremely sensitive data that you want to protect, you can build in stringent security measures and avoid third party infringement. In the long run, it can become a cost-effective solution for companies that do not rely on uptime to fully function.

  • Not dependent on the Internet

Since you are not dependent on the Internet to access data, you can just go to the office and start working.

Cons of dedicated servers

  • Capital expenditures

It requires capital outlay to pay for hardware and infrastructure.

  • Requires space

You will also need to assign space in a room as well as hire IT support.

  • Less flexibility

If your data requirements change, it is not that quick or easy to upgrade RAM or CPU and is also dependent on vendors’ supply and technical support.

The Best Approach

To maximise the benefits of both cloud and dedicated hosting, using a hybrid cloud may be a feasible solution. It consists of a private cloud (hosting where only one organization has access) and a public cloud (shared by other users on the network). Typically, sensitive data is in the private cloud while general information can be stored in the public cloud.

This seems to be a prevalent trend with a majority of businesses affirming that they will be working in a hybrid IT environment now or sometime in the future. While it is true that no model is a perfect fit for all businesses, companies that find the right balance between private and public cloud will have an edge over their competitors compared to those who solely use dedicated servers. Overall, 56% of respondents in the Cloud Industry Forum Study said that Cloud services offer a ‘competitive advantage’ to their organisations while 22% foresee one coming.