Can cloud hosting replace traditional file servers? 

Cloud hosting has well and truly arrived into the mainstream. While it is replacing roles filled by traditional server architecture, can it replace traditional file servers for storing and sharing files in your company?

The reason many small to medium businesses have a file server or are renting server space, or have built out their internet infrastructure, is to share and store files. In more recent times, as workers have become mobile, servers have, with reasonable success, shared files with employees who are either at home or on the road; success has come despite this often being an add on function or afterthought.

Sharing, collaboration and mobility are at the very core of what Cloud hosting is all about. Although a reasonably new innovation, these strengths have already seen Cloud hosting take a reasonable share of the file hosting and file sharing functions once reserved for traditional server settings.

However, in some quarters, a genuine reluctance remains to trust files and security to this somewhat mysterious ‘cloud’.

So which is better for you?

Traditional file servers: the facts

Ownership = control - File servers have been loyal servants of businesses since networking first began. Whether you own or rent your server, you own all of the contents. This gives you control. A hosting company cannot erase your data. They can’t pull the plug on you. The integrity of your data cannot be compromised.

Configure to suit - Depending on your server type (dedicated, shared, self-hosted) you have the freedom to configure the server to meet your needs. You decide who can access files and from where, as well as how credentials are assigned and how may files you want served. That’s real flexibility.

Inflexibility - Traditional file servers, whether dedicated, shared, on-premises or co-located, can be difficult to maintain and secure. They can also be difficult to scale up and down as your business changes. This means you could be paying for more server than you need during quiet times, or find yourself short of space during periods of peak activity.

Cloud storage: the facts

Loss of control - When you choose to use a public cloud server you give up some control. In exchange, you no longer need to worry about buying server space, security is managed for you, and many of the usual responsibilities that come with traditional servers, including provisioning file space, are no longer yours. Instead, your cloud provider determines how access is granted, and who can access the server and from where. Security is also very carefully managed. You can also change your services to suit the fluctuations in your business; some cloud settings even have auto-provisioning.

Cybercrime - As technology becomes savvier so too do those who commit cybercrime. Could your cloud host fall victim? If so, what would be the consequence for your business? However, it’s important to remember, most cloud service providers’ security experts are more prepared and better trained than your own IT team when it comes to cybercrime, hacking and malicious attacks.

The verdict

Traditional file servers and cloud storage each have their benefits and their disadvantages. What’s right for your business depends on your needs. If you have a need for privacy, extra security or a special server build, as well as an IT budget, then perhaps it’s a file server. If you’re comfortable relinquishing some control and like the idea of reducing costs, then cloud could be right.

Still not sure? Surety IT can help.

About the Author

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.

Call us today on 1300 478 738 or email to discuss your requirements.