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4 Differences Between Cloud and On-Premises that Every Organization Needs to Understand


Transitioning from on-premises solutions to the cloud isn’t a magic bullet. Although the cloud is often viewed as a necessary eventuality, the cloud isn’t foolproof. A whopping 77% of cloud professionals report feeling unprepared to deal with security threats in their cloud computing environment, according to a 2024 study from the Cloud Security Alliance. The reality is that organizations cannot expect the cloud to solve all of their problems. When an organization is contemplating or preparing to transition from on-premises to the cloud, it’s critical to understand the differences between each operating environment. Let’s explore four key differences between cloud and on-premises environments that every organization should be aware of:

  1. The cloud will reduce and shift responsibilities for the in-house team: One of the most important benefits of moving to the cloud is the ability to reduce the workload of in-house teams. By definition, cloud services are not hosted on-premises meaning that specialized, offsite teams do all IT maintenance, troubleshooting, and upgrades. Consequently, the role of in-house teams is reduced. Also when migrating to the cloud, the in-house team’s responsibilities shift from the infrastructure level to the data level. Rather than just trying to keep the system up and running, the team can shift its focus to adapting and customizing cloud technology to achieve the company’s business goals.
  2. The cloud is generally more secure than on-premises: When organizations consider migrating to the cloud, they are often concerned that their sensitive files and data will be less secure. The opposite, however, is actually the case. Cloud providers employ highly specialized teams whose full-time jobs are to prevent security breaches. By contrast, when in-house teams manage on-premises environments, their attention tends to be split many more ways, and they have access to fewer resources and expertise. Thus, the cloud is, on the whole, more secure than on-premises data centers. Furthermore, even when a cloud data center is breached, the blast radius is reduced because the threat actor cannot move nearly as far laterally in a cloud environment – or gain nearly as much privilege escalation – as in a traditional data center.
  3. The cloud makes it easier and safer for experimentation to happen: Every organization wants a sandbox to develop new features and test enhanced functionalities. In on-premises environments, in-house teams often struggle to separate their development environment from their production environment. Development and testing resources often live right next to production resources. By contrast, the cloud makes it easier and safer to create separate areas to support these functions. Moreover, experimentation in the cloud is further enhanced by several unique benefits. For example, testing can be scaled up or down to meet an organization’s load requirements. Also, testing in the cloud can easily be done anywhere, from any internet-connected device. Finally, the cloud offers a range of features to help reduce the risks of human error during sandbox experimentation.
  4. The cloud is uniquely prone to be improperly configured: When IT and security teams manage on-premises environments in-house, they tend to have a strong command over how these environments should be set up, maintained, and updated. The cloud, as a third-party system, is less familiar to in-house teams. Consequently, the cloud is uniquely prone to improper configuration. In other words, it is absolutely possible to improperly configure the cloud when you don’t know what you are doing – and for these mistakes to have real-world consequences. Indeed, cloud misconfiguration can expose companies needlessly to security breaches, insider threats, and ransomware and malware. The best way to guard against cloud misconfiguration is for companies to become familiar with what common types of misconfiguration look like, and to establish and adhere to strict security procedures across the organization.

The differences between cloud and on-premises environments are real and enormously consequential for organizations to understand. Before any company decides to migrate from on-premises to the cloud, this company should understand that the cloud both reduces and shifts an in-house team’s responsibilities, is generally more secure than on-premises solutions, makes it easier and safer for experimentation to happen, and is uniquely prone to being improperly configured.

To learn more about how to prepare your organization for successful cloud migration, please check out Ippon’s in-depth white paper,  “Assessing the Maturity of Your Cloud Strategy”. For more personalized support and guidance, please reach out to our cloud migration experts.

Post by Dennis Ruzeski
May 9, 2024 6:00:00 AM


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