Are Onsite Data Centers or Cloud Storage the Best Way to Protect Data?

Jan 25, 2023 Blog Article

Is the onsite data center soon to be a thing of the past? Organizations continue to move toward cloud infrastructures to reduce costs, increase functionality, and enhance security. 

Fredrik Forslund

Fredrik Forslund As Vice President and General Manager of International Sales, Fredrik brings over 20 years of experience in IT security. This includes most recently leading Blancco's data center and cloud erasure initiatives and before that, founding SafeIT, a security software company focusing on encryption and selective data erasure. With a keen eye for streamlining corporate IT security efficiencies and maintaining compliance with data privacy legislation, he is regarded as a thought leader among customers and partners.

The Argument: Safety in the Cloud vs. Safety in Onsite Data Centers

While cloud use continues to grow, that does not mean onsite data centers will disappear completely. 

According to Server Watch, the breakdown of computing loads between infrastructure type remains relatively balanced: 40 percent sit on public clouds, 31 percent on on-premises, and 29 percent in hybrid environments. While the cloud continues to grow, there is certainly part of the computing population that prefers the known comfort of on-premises systems. 

While cloud computing has proven itself secure – Gartner argues that 99 percent of foreseeable cloud breaches will be due to user error – some customers prefer to keep their most vital data on premises, feeling a greater level of security with that arrangement.  

On premises facilities provide owners complete control, allowing them to modify, expand, or consolidate their footprint as they see fit. Staff can access servers at any time, and they can tailor implementation to maximize security and uptime. There is also full data access control for organizations that must meet regulatory requirements. 

Cloud has grown in popularity because of its economy of scale, ease of use, and ability to outsource. Organizations that use the cloud can free technology leaders to focus on more big-picture strategic tasks instead of spending time on routine services that can easily be gotten elsewhere.  

So which one is it? Even with the Covid-19 pandemic increasing overall cloud use and serving as a key use case for its viability, some organizations will still hold on to on-premises systems. Will onsite data centers be disappearing, or are they destined to stick around out of necessity? And what’s the best way to protect your information across the full data lifecycle? 

The Pros & Cons of the Cloud

The truth is that both onsite data center storage and cloud storage have pros and cons, which is why so many companies choose hybrid cloud solutions—a mix of these two options. 

By 2025, Gartner projects roughly 15 percent of enterprise storage capacity will be deployed as hybrid cloud IT storage-as-a-service (STaaS), reaching 50 percent of total capacity by 2030. Hybrid cloud as an operational deployment model for StaaS did not fully emerge until 2021. According to Gartner, no major storage vendors were offering StaaS in 2020, but almost all were just a year later. 

When debating cloud vs onsite data centers, here are some pros and cons of cloud storage you’ll want to consider: 

Onsite hardware/capital expensesLimited by the speed of your internet connection
Grows with your company’s infrastructureThird-party services have access to your sensitive information
Easily scalableUnexpected downtime can limit access to your information
On-demand solutions sometimes allow you to pay for only the options you wantAdditional service costs may outweigh the benefits, especially for smaller firms

And here are some pros and cons of storing data onsite in your own data center(s).

Gives you physical controlRequires monetary investment in infrastructure and hardware
Keeps sensitive and critical data onsite; no third parties have access to that informationRequires space, as well as a dedicated team, costing you additional money
No internet connection required to access dataMay be more susceptible to data loss during disasters, depending on how often you migrate data offsite

The storage method depends on business needs, but whatever you decide, you must ensure your sensitive data is protected. 

Securing Data Throughout Its Lifecycle

To protect the data throughout your infrastructure, you must have security measures, such as encryption and firewalls, in place. You also need to take a hard look at what data you need and how any unnecessary data could slow you down or raise additional costs. Securely erasing this ROT (redundant, obsolete and trivial) data in active or static environments can help you reduce costs and lessen your attack surface. 

As we’ve seen many times over, organizations that fail to properly erase unnecessary data find themselves at enhanced risk. The data no longer provides any tangible or business value, but organizations have become accustomed to holding all data as long as possible. With enhanced “right to delete” regulations and consumer protection rules now in place, businesses must take action to erase this no longer needed data. This is true if the data resides in the cloud or an on-premises data center. 

Blancco Data Center Solutions help organizations securely remove this unnecessary data with an auditable process that produces a tamper-proof certificate for every erasure, whether you have a private data center, use colocation services, or leverage virtual environments. Secure data erasure is especially important when removing storage assets from your secure data center facility.  

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