Almost every day, someone asks us our opinion on whether it's better to use the cloud (a collection of servers and server farms that are hosted by someone else) instead of an on-premise server.
Our answer is typically something like this:
Benefits of on-premise:
- Typically faster
- Allows for more control over your network
- Potentially cheaper over time
Benefits of Cloud
- Cheaper at the start
- Comes with flexible pricing which can scale up and down
- Most of the time, the cloud still functions after a natural disaster (like an earthquake)
Despite these benefits, there are several downsides to the cloud worth mentioning. If the government decides it wants your data, for instance, it may be given without your knowledge. This is a very murky area… It is unclear how different governments and their various agencies specifically get access to sensitive, cloud-based data. Using an onsite server prevents this from happening.
What's more, the cloud can still experience downtime– even though it is widely believed to be outage-free. It can also be insecure.
That's not all you need to be aware of, either. This last issue is an interesting one, and it's something we just spoke with a client about recently. The cloud can be a much larger target than an on-premise server. While most major cloud providers have tremendous security resources, their data is so valuable that hackers try even harder to access it.
While we don't like to point fingers at major cloud providers, as they are often the victim of cybersecurity attacks, it is worth looking at Citrix as an example. Citrix (News - Alert), for example, just announced GoToMyPC password issues. All of its passwords need to now be reset due to a security breach.
Their exact wording is, “Unfortunately, the GoToMYPC service has been targeted by a very sophisticated password attack.”
The bottom line is, this is a big time cloud vendor, and it was hacked. Even though Citrix is a tech icon having been a leader in the field for decades, they got hit with a sophisticated attack and were unprepared to deal with the repercussions.
So look at Citrix as a reminder that using the cloud does not guarantee a safer network environment. There are many great reasons to choose the cloud, and Citrix, but if you're looking for a truly secure network it will require taking advanced protective measures.