Up to now, IT decision-makers have learned how to understand, choose, and implement IT infrastructure that resides and runs in their company’s own server room. They knew, for instance, if they needed a new email server, that HP and Dell are good brands. They knew that they needed to purchase Windows and Exchange licenses. They knew to hire someone knowledgeable to properly setup and maintain that email server. And if that server broke, they knew who to call to get it fixed.
But because of the rise of cloud-based services, companies no longer automatically put servers in their own buildings. They now have to consider using cloud-based services – applications and systems already set up in the “cloud” (the Internet), and run by people we usually don’t know or ever see. Cloud service providers promise that, for a monthly fee, they’ll provide all the IT function we need. A popular example is Office 365, Microsoft’s hosted email system. Instead of dealing with the complexity and capital cost of installing Exchange on a company’s servers, companies pay Microsoft to host it for a low monthly fee.
This means, however, that the decision-makers now need to weigh the benefits offered and decide which cloud services are best for their business. And because it’s a different and still relatively new way of doing IT, most in the industry have yet to fully grasp all they need to consider.
Here are some things to look at when comparing the pros and cons of onsite servers vs cloud-based services; they’ll help prompt questions when vendors come calling: