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Should You Choose a Traditional or Cloud Data Center?

Like so many other business considerations, the type of data center that you choose requires a lot of thought. What are your organization’s exact needs? What sort of information are you storing? Who—and how many people—need access to that critical data? What are your cost-related concerns? And how secure do you need your information?

Both a traditional physical facility and a cloud data center service can be scaled or customized according to your needs. Plus, both offer security options to keep access restricted and protect information from intrusion. However, the differences between them make the choice way more complex.

Traditional vs Cloud Data Center: Weighing the Benefits

In choosing to house your data on a traditional or even collocated server, you gain a degree of control over your own environment. Unfortunately, this can be a mixed bag. Information is kept physically and digitally safe from harm insofar as you can secure it. The downside is the associated cost and involvement that it may take, as well as the potential downtime you may still incur. Data is retained as a physical asset that must be manually managed, updated, and secured.

Conversely, organizations that turn to a cloud data center service give up some of that hands-on control, but can now focus on their actual business operations. Those users shed the conventional trappings of information management, instead outsourcing those efforts to a specialized provider that handles everything.

Again, there are benefits and drawbacks to each. In choosing whether to run a traditional or cloud data center service, you should consider your own organizational needs. What, after all, keeps your business running smoothly and safely?


In a traditional data center, physical concerns are always in the back of your mind. Information that is so critical to your business is constantly susceptible to the whims of nature. Fire, flooding, storms, and outages can disrupt (at best) or devastate (at worst), wreaking havoc on disaster recovery efforts. And this is to say nothing about human influence, whether accidental or malicious, internal or external. Just by granting access to certain personnel for routine maintenance, you potentially open your business data up to unforeseen risks.

By choosing to go with a traditional physical server implementation, you immediately put the onus on your team to keep your information and business functions safe. There needs to be a lock-and-key protocol for your systems. Concerns such as patch management and employee security competency are thrust to the forefront. Many times, these issues come way before other topics and decisions that need to be made.

This is one area that in which a cloud data center service can excel. Traditional disaster recovery concerns are reduced, as the nature of remote-hosted software on disparate, geographically diverse data centers means that the provider is the one to deal with operational, maintenance and headaches. This frees up your team to focus on many of the activities that help your business to thrive, all while not being bogged down by the latest threats.  In the event of malicious activity or outage, your business information is kept safe and accessible. Another benefit is the potential for numerous encryption options and other security features, all automatic assuming you opt in to the services offered. Make sure to read those SLA’s.

And for many businesses, having nonstop, secure access to their data is the only way in which they can thrive.


Traditional data centers require manual maintenance, and not just for security. Growing your data center in a physical sense requires more extensive investment in equipment, more focus on maintaining those servers, and more dedicated personnel (or, at least, more tasks for your team) as you look to take scaling to the next level. More maintenance, more administration, and more headache. Furthermore, expanding a physical data center requires securing more assets than ever, and doing so against an increasingly savvy potential attacker.

Unlike physical servers, cloud data center service models can be custom-built to support your scalability needs, no matter how big or small they are, or how much they change with time. Your service provider handles all aspects of growth. It provides the equipment, upgrade capacity, size, and scope to support your business needs—and all of it comes as part of a monthly subscription cost. This model extends flexibility in a way that you could never have with a traditional data center, allowing your organization to more easily meet their unique requirements—and purchase varying capacity over time as your demand changes.

Cost Efficiency

Let’s face it: whether you own (traditional data center) or essentially rent (cloud data center) services, it can get pretty expensive.

However, by turning to the cloud for your data center needs, you can free up your financial resources by only spending exactly what you need for coverage. Everything is outsourced; cost is limited strictly to the resources that you consume, with no additional expenses related to buying, upgrading, or maintaining equipment. Your provider handles everything, and you pay only your subscription fee. Despite these considerations, a cloud data center is not necessarily for everybody.

Deciding what is best for your organization can be difficult, and the stakes can be high.

Ultimately, your team’s business decision should be based on many different factors: budget, scalability need, hands-on maintenance demand, and—more importantly than ever—cybersecurity. In today’s world, it is critical to have the personnel in place to handle oversight of your physical assets, if you want to manage them yourself.

For years, the problem with anything cloud-based is that it was more vulnerable to security issues. But in today’s world, with its strong demand for cybersecurity, most cloud service providers could not afford to stay in business without improving their security.

For most companies with elastic needs, today’s cloud data center service offers the best balance of protection, cost efficiency, scalability, and more.

Thank you for trusting us to help with your cybersecurity needs.

Contact us any time—we’re always happy to help.


Meet the Author
Adam Burke is Quest's Vice President of Sales and Partnerships.
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