Storage Wars: On-Premises vs. Cloud File Storage


On-Premises vs. Cloud Storage

Which storage solution is best for your organization?

On-premises or cloud storage? Maybe a hybrid solution? Or is multi-cloud your best route?

Whether you’re a small consulting firm or a Fortune 500 tech company, you have files worth storing and protecting. And no matter how nice a meticulously ordered file cabinet looks, today’s age of digital dynamism requires those files to be available on any device, in any office, on any continent.

Why are companies moving to the cloud?

Many companies are adopting a cloud-based infrastructure, and that number is predicted to rise even more over time. However, there are several reasons why businesses small and large require on-premises storage over cloud storage.

For storing important files on a large scale, things get a little more complicated when cloud computing enters the equation. Email file transfers and physical drive transports are both clumsy and antiquated. So the lightweight permeability of a cloud storage platform is a no-brainer for businesses, right?

Not so fast: comparing on-premises and cloud options for file storage can quickly lead to more questions than answers. Can the cloud’s reputation for security be trusted in an era of hacks and leaks? Can you accurately approximate and budget for the storage needs of your rapidly expanding business five years from now? And perhaps most importantly: do you want to be part of the $26.5 billion lost annually due to IT downtime?

If you already know your next migration move, plan your migration with these 7 best practices. But if you’re unsure where to start, check out these key differences between on-premises and cloud storage solutions.

Comparisons Between On-Premises & Cloud

Cloud storage services have sound benefits – they’re cost-effective and enable employees to access their content anywhere and from multiple devices. But it can be difficult for some businesses to justify a complete migration to the cloud from their existing on-premises storage system. Continue to review some of the pros and cons of on-premises vs cloud storage solutions.



Working with on-premises solutions on a long-term basis can be resource-intensive, as they require a significant amount of energy and maintenance to run at full-performance. Though keep in mind, it’s the enterprise’s responsibility to maintain the server and software & license updates. Therefore having an on-site IT team (creating an extra cost) is crucial. Also, prepare to maintain your on-premises environment for the 3-5 years they typically last for.

Additionally, scaling up on on-premises file servers can be costly, as additional physical hardware must be purchased and maintained.


Unlike with on-premises, it’s the cloud storage provider who takes on the bulk of maintenance, software updates, and general troubleshooting. With no need to invest in hardware or maintenance, SMBs and enterprises can reduce costs by using a cloud service for file storage and sharing.

Cloud storage services are typically “pay as you go,” allowing organizations to scale as necessary without the need for additional hardware space and maintenance costs.



Most industries dealing with sensitive data have relied on dedicated file servers for the security, privacy, and performance requirements not often promised by outside vendors. Today many cloud vendors can meet those security requirements, but cultural ideas remain that only on-premises solutions offer true security.


While data storage in the cloud has typically been thought of as less secure, cloud vendors have innovated to fend against threats like malware and DDoS attacks. Even with promises of high-level security, the perception of a lack thereof is one of the largest reasons organizations fear the cloud.



Regardless of industry, many companies are subject to compliance with other mandates, such as GDPR or the CCPA. These dedicated file servers ensure that sensitive records are kept on-site in accordance with compliance mandates.


Cloud storage alone makes it difficult for companies to meet the security requirements of compliance mandates, like HIPAA for example. But for companies that do use cloud storage, be sure to review your cloud service’s security model to guarantee it is in compliance with regulations.



Customizing and scaling out company storage and file sharing needs can result in a longer implementation process. On the other hand, with on-site private network storage, users can access their documents and download large files with little to no latency.

Depending on the size of the datacenter, server downtime can have a significant impact on business operations and revenue.


Implementation and build-out can be done quickly with cloud storage service providers, which is particularly helpful for non-specialized industry companies.

Depending on internet speed and where the servers are located, organizations can experience high latency when retrieving files stored in a public cloud. Cloud storage services have a track record of higher stability and a lower level of overall downtime.

On-Premises vs. Cloud: Infographic

With this infographic, we wanted to dive into the more detailed, technical perks and drawbacks of on-premise and cloud storage. We also wanted to remind you of a third option; one that may be able to unite grounded thinkers and those with their heads in the cloud.

Consolidation to a single, more cost-effective cloud storage service may seem appealing for organizations looking to enable users with the flexibility that cloud collaboration provides. However, moving large volumes of mission-critical data is simply impossible for many large enterprises. For these businesses, a hybrid approach of synchronizing their existing on-premises storage with new cloud services is ideal.

Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions

While the word “cloud” may inspire mental images of dark stormy skies and Cumulus puffs, the adoption of enterprise cloud storage doesn’t need to be quite so black and white. The benefits of hybrid cloud architecture provide businesses the speed and security of on-premise storage, as well as the long-distance versatility and reliability of cloud platforms.

Though some may point out that hybrid cloud models have a few logistical issues of their own, with the right type of painlessly installed, problem-solving middleware file synchronization software like the type we’ve developed at DryvIQ, businesses can seamlessly store files and still remain on the cusp of technological modernity.

On-Premises vs Cloud Storage Infographic

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