Nearly everyone takes advantage of cloud computing for at least a portion of their processing and hosting needs, sometimes without even being aware that certain information is in the cloud. While many individuals still push back against cloud data hosting in favor of traditional, personal servers, there are compelling reasons to consider both the pros and cons of using a personal server vs the cloud prior to choosing. The resistance against cloud computing can usually be attributed to fears about security and a lack of clarity on how the technology works. There are solutions for every user and need, with options such as secure hybrid cloud hosting computing environments, on-premises server, private clouds in the business or home via networked machines, and public cloud platforms such as Swizznet. To maximize user performance, security, system recovery, and data stability, it is important to examine multi-platform solutions for hosting.
Personal, on-site servers offer high security standards, but may require technical expertise. If the user is knowledgeable, an on-site server can be an efficient way to host data. However, the equipment may be cost-prohibitive, and systems are susceptible to loss, damage, and outages due to local events such as storms or floods.
Managed hosting is really a mirror model of a traditional server room, only the server is not on the user’s property. In this model, a service provider (often a server farm) leases a dedicated server or several servers to a single client. The equipment remains on the property of the provider. This solution offers a lower cost than a personal on-site server and has a high level of data security. Remote servers are typically just as susceptible to disaster loss and periodic downtime due to natural causes such as power outages. However, they are a convenient choice for individuals who may lack the technical expertise to administer a server in-house.
Cloud hosting solutions use a network of remote servers over the internet to host, store, process, and manage data over shared processor resources. Thus, every client of the provider network accesses different amounts of resources at different times, allowing the servers to load balance those processing needs efficiently. Cloud computing offers the lowest cost to the user and can provide a safety net against catastrophic loss of data due to natural disasters. However, some users may have data that is not suitable for cloud hosting due to specific security or contractual requirements. Each cloud service’s security standards should be read and understood completely prior to contracting any service.
Another important factor to consider when selecting a cloud service is to verify the service’s DDos protection, mitigation, and technical approaches to the impact of distributed denial-of-service attacks on the connected network or networks. Of course, websites that carry a high traffic load may need to move to a personal server unless the cloud service is scalable.
Deciding between a traditional or hosted server and cloud computing services may be a question of security needs and cost parameters. However, for most individuals and small businesses, cloud hosting provides the greatest value for system up-time, convenience, and recovery speed.