While there is a lot of talk going on in storage land and the IT world with regards to cloud computing and cloud database management, there are still some clear benefits with owning and controlling one’s own database as a business. Although external data storage may provide extreme flexibility for a company with staff and clients in different locations, or to reduce costs for IT infrastructure and software licensing, having control of the database system itself still offers significant security benefits.
Where Exactly is My Cloud?
One of the problems with outsourcing storage and database software tools is the fact that a client doesn’t really know where that external database is situated. While the client works with a cloud provider via the Internet, and pays for access as well as the database tools by subscription, the provider may very well be outsourcing the system maintenance and storage to a third party. In many cases this infrastructure control could very well be on the other side of the world where operation costs are far cheaper. As a result, a client who has proprietary or sensitive information stored in a cloud database could easily be sending all that data to a country with no respect for copyright, identity protection, or electronic fraud rules. That can present a serious risk for a business originally entrusted with the sensitive data.
It May Be a Clunker, But I Own It
Have you ever seen one of those bumper stickers on a car that says, “Don’t laugh. It’s paid for,” on the back of an old car? Database ownership works the same way. While a business may not have the best, high-speed enterprise system to manage all of its electronic data, if it works then the company’s need is served. Too often with IT companies are bombarded with marketing that says if they don’t upgrade to the latest tool, in this case cloud databases, they will fall behind. 90 percent of this salesmanship is exactly that, selling. If a company has a system that already works, there’s no sense getting rid of it.
With a database system in an office, staff can file and retrieve various data categories quickly. Replacing an entire paper folder system with a database storage approach allows a business the ability to free up physical space, protect data from accidental loss if it’s backed up properly, and improve office productivity with better information management. All of these benefits can be had with an outsource database system, but owning the software and equipment avoids the security risks mentioned earlier.
Businesses should not be so quick to consider offloading their owned database systems given the above. While there can be significant cost savings by not having to worry about IT staff on the payroll, IT infrastructure, and software licensing for each desk, offloading makes a business vulnerable and dependent on third party for the company’s own information. That can backfire if the business runs into problems with the storage provider. Instead of taking on these issues after the fact, a company considering such a database resource transition should evaluate the pros and cons carefully before taking a first step. Doing so may highlight how retaining an in-house database system may still be very much the better course of action.
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