Comparing cloud vs. on-premises data backup solutions: Pros and cons

Comparing cloud vs. on-premises data backup solutions: Pros and cons

A data backup system is a must for any business that stores large amounts of important data‌, especially with the rise in data breach and ransomware incidents. But what isn’t clear-cut is which kind of data backup solution will work best for your organization’s needs.

Here, we will examine the two major types of data backup, cloud and on-premises, and their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Cloud data backups

Cloud data backup systems store copies of your business's data in off-site data centers, which are generally managed by a third-party provider. Here are some of the pros and cons of using cloud data backups:


The benefits of cloud data backups include:

  • Scalability: Cloud backup solutions offer scalability that is virtually unlimited, allowing you to easily adjust storage capacity as needed at a moment’s notice.
  • Accessibility: Cloud backups can be accessed from any internet-connected device, enabling easy and secure access to data backups for remote teams.
  • Cost effectiveness: Cloud backup solutions typically operate on a subscription-based or pay-as-you-go pricing model, eliminating the need for significant upfront investment in servers and drives or long-term spending in maintenance technicians.
  • Redundancy and disaster recovery: Cloud backup providers often replicate data across multiple geographically dispersed data centers, providing redundancy and preventing data loss caused by hardware failure or natural disasters.


Some of the shortcomings of cloud data backups are:

  • Dependance on internet connectivity: Cloud backups rely on internet connectivity for data transfer and access, which can pose challenges in areas with unreliable, limited, or expensive internet connectivity.
  • Security risks: Understandably, many businesses have data security and privacy concerns with entrusting a third-party cloud provider to handle sensitive business. And, under the “Shared Responsibility Model” most providers uphold, there are no guarantees of data security on their behalf, so your cybersecurity must be up to the task.
  • Data transfer speeds: Slow data transfer speeds may occur with large transfers over networks with limited connectivity, prolonging backup processes and potentially impacting business operations.
  • Compliance challenges: Businesses in certain sectors must adhere to strict regulatory compliance requirements for data storage, retention, and security. Ensuring compliance can be challenging with cloud backup solutions due to the involvement of a third party, so some businesses don’t even bother.

On-premises data backups

On-premises data backup systems store copies of your organization’s important data on local storage drives or backup servers housed on premises. This traditional approach nonetheless offers distinct advantages, but of course, it has its cons too:


These are the advantages of the on-premises approach:

  • Total ownership: Businesses enjoy full control over their on-premises backup solutions and data storage environment. This enables you to tailor backup processes, retention policies, and security measures to your needs and requirements.
  • Ease of compliance: It’s much easier to guarantee data sovereignty with on-site backups that you have complete control of and responsibility for. If you operate in a highly regulated industry or under strict data protection laws, this alone could make on-premises solutions worth it.
  • High speed: On-premises backup solutions are capable of higher performance compared to cloud-based solutions due to their proximity and lack of reliance on the internet.
  • Availability: As on-premises backups do not rely on internet connectivity for data transfer and access, they are at less risk of succumbing to external factors, and will operate even if the internet is down.
  • Cost stability: If you have stable or predictable data storage needs, on-premises backup solutions may be more cost-effective over time. Cloud solution subscriptions can add up over time and never go away, whereas on-premises solutions require an initial investment that pays off better the longer the solutions operate.


The drawbacks of on-premises data backup encompass:

  • Capital expenditure: These backup solutions require significant upfront costs related to hardware, network infrastructure, and software licenses.
  • Difficult scaling: On-premises backup solutions have limited scalability compared to cloud-based solutions, as you can only scale as much as your location will feasibly allow. Scaling up storage capacity also requires more investment in new or upgraded hardware.
  • Management burden: Monitoring backup processes and managing hardware and software maintenance are required to ensure the efficient operation of your backup solutions. This diverts attention and resources from other business priorities.
  • Higher risk: On-premises backup solutions are vulnerable to hardware malfunctions, power outages, or physical disasters affecting the premises. This risk often necessitates investment in redundant backups.

Learn more about data backup solutions and which type best suits your needs by talking to one of our experts. Contact us today.

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