Cloud-based network vs local network: what’s more stable?

When you’re running a business, you’ve got two main options for your technology network: cloud-based or local.

A local network, for those uninitiated in the IT world, is the traditional way to store and use data. It relies on a server in your network that is connected to devices throughout your business. Local network storage is controlled by you and your IT staff, and you have physical possession of your data and files because you have the physical server onsite. No internet connection is needed to access a local network.

In summary, a local network is like an old-school filing cabinet. It’s right there in your business, you just need the key to open it.

Cloud-based networks, on the other hand, have all but dethroned the old local network systems. If you’re familiar with Google Drive or Dropbox, you’re familiar with the cloud. Cloud-based networks use an internet connection to store, process and disseminate huge volumes of data that you can access anytime, anywhere – so long as you have an internet connection and the required logins.

Unlike the filing cabinet example, there’s no truly appropriate old-school metaphor for the cloud… except, you know, actual clouds.

If you’re trying to decide whether your business should move to a cloud-based network, it can be difficult to understand the pros and cons. Both clearly have their unique benefits, but it’s important to consider which option will be more stable in case of a risk scenario – because risk management in business is everything, after all.

At Xenex we believe that nine times out of ten, a cloud-based network is the way to go from a stability perspective.

To illustrate our point, we’ve come up with a list of possible risk scenarios and explained how cloud outperforms local networks every time.

Check it out!

Break-in
If there was a break-in or any sort of property damage at your office, your local network server could easily be damaged. For a cloud-based network, there’s minimal hardware in your office – only what’s needed to enable connectivity to the Internet and therefore to the cloud infrastructure. That’s because cloud infrastructure is hosted in huge data centres located in secure buildings that require biometric scanning to access. It’s pretty hard to break into or damage a data centre! Cloud: 1, local: 0.

Data breach or loss
With a cloud-based network, you’re not responsible for maintaining a high level of network security. That’s your provider’s job. It’s also their job to back up your data. In the case of a cloud data breach or of data loss – which are both extremely rare – you could be affected but you wouldn’t be liable for the problem. It would be the provider’s problem to fix and potentially compensate you. That’s a win for business owners, who would otherwise need to spend time and money securing and backing up their local network.

Power failure
In the case of massive power failure, your data is safe in the cloud. Data centres are connected to redundant power grids to ensure they receive power if one of the grids fails. The data centres also have automated backup generators that kick in if everything else fails. With a local network, you’d be offline until the lights come back on.

Fire
Data centre fire protection systems are specifically designed around electronics and therefore designed to protect electronics in case of an emergency. Data centres aren’t usually heavily staffed either, so the full fire response regime can revolve around protecting servers. A local network server is only as safe as your own fire protection systems!

Natural disaster
Cloud infrastructure can span across multiple zones or areas, meaning in the instance that a data centre is completely unavailable in the case of disaster, the servers can continue operating in the other zones unaffected. The same cannot be said for local networks.

Network failure
Multiple internet links run into cloud infrastructure enabling redundant (backup) paths back to the customer network. This means a network can continue to operate, even if a connection or internet provider experiences an outage. As a business owner, you can run as many internet connections as you like between your business and the cloud infrastructure, so you can be sure of connectivity if any link goes down. Cloud: 6, local: 0.

Server failure
Cloud server infrastructure is designed in a clustered environment. That means a group of servers can act as one and allow for failover in the instance that one of the server hosts dies. In a local network, you wouldn’t be able to justify the cost or the level of equipment needed to pull this off. Another bonus of cloud-based networks is that you’re again not liable for maintaining server infrastructure – any server problems are the provider’s problem and their problem alone! That’s one less headache for you.

Based on these risk scenarios, we can confidently say that cloud beats local when it comes to stability. So if you’re looking to make the switch, reach out for a chat – we’d love to help!

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