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Making purchasing decisions is probably one of the most difficult responsibilities a small business owner has to face. Many factors, such as reliability, resources required, service delivery and most importantly, cost, influence the decision to opt for one supplier or another. And when it comes to the one business necessity that no business can go without – data storage – this decision becomes exponentially tougher.

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When considering different storage solutions for your small business, there are many questions that need to be answered to ensure that you don’t end up paying for services and features you don’t need or come up short against those that are essential to your daily operations. The biggest question, perhaps, is should you invest in a physical, on-site server, or opt for a storage hosting provider? In this blog, we take a look at the elements to consider when making this decision.

First and foremost, identify the specific needs of your business

Small businesses are the driving force of the economy and owners of SMEs have an overwhelming pressure to perform. Thanks to technology – especially the evolution of the server – you are now able to achieve results and drive operations more efficiently than a mere 10 years ago. But the questions you need to ask when choosing a storage solution, centre on two elements within your small business: the needs of the functions and people. For instance, some questions you might like to ask are: What are you using storage for? Is it to save email and other critical documents (financial, HR), or do you need specific software to help save and manage versions? Does your entire workforce need access to the server? Are there restricted data sets that require authorisation? Do you have the physical space to house the size of the server you require?

Considering your options: on-site server versus storage hosting provider

Aside from the questions above, cost and scalability are the two biggest influencing factors when it comes to purchasing decisions. When you carefully dissect the main differences between installing and maintaining an on-site server and outsourcing your data storage and management, it’s important to look at the pros and cons. There were concerns about security when Cloud technology became mainstream, but while hacks remain an evolving threat, premium storage hosting providers have the best physical infrastructure and software in place to safeguard your business’ critical data.

Another frequently raised issue is the loss of control over your data when you outsource. While managing your data on-site does give you ultimate control, it also requires the resources (human and infrastructural) to manage and maintain your data. This route can end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Upscaling also requires a massive capital injection when you use physical servers. Cloud storage, however, offers a lot more flexibility, especially when your storage needs are aligned to business growth.  

Optimise data management and maintain ultimate control

One of, and perhaps the biggest, pros that Cloud storage solutions have over physical servers is that they offer businesses more flexibility and control over their data management. With the increase in bring your own device (BYOD) technology, the need to split data storage and manage access control and different versions is advancing so quickly that in-house IT departments are simply not able to keep up.

When taking labour, resources, space, capital investment and the limitations of managing an on-site server into consideration, it is clear that a storage hosting provider is beneficial for small business.

At Ignite, we understand the complexities and demands of managing data in a small business environment. Our storage hosting provides a cost-effective, scalable storage solution, and the added expertise and security protocols are in place to ensure you get the most from your valuable business information.