Hosted vs Cloud-Based Solutions: Which Is Better for Your University?

Busy students on campus working on projects and storing data on cloud

As a decision-maker for your university, we’re sure you hear a lot of chatter about the cloud. If your institution is looking for a better way to store and manage its data, you may be wondering about hosted vs cloud-based solutions.

Should you go through the migration process to the cloud or will hosted solutions work? As an IT provider with decades in the education sector, we’ve put together this guide to hosted vs cloud-based so you can make a better decision for your university.

What You Need to Know About Hosted Solutions

A hosted solution is similar to a traditional IT setup. Your IT infrastructure—servers, storage, networking equipment—is housed in an off-site facility and managed by a third-party provider. This means you’ll have to pay for storage, servers, maintenance, and more to keep it running.

Hosted solutions work well for universities that need to access large amounts of data, such as research institutions. Users access the data through direct network connections or VPNs.

The Benefits

  • Cost-Effective: While you do have to maintain hardware, hosted solutions can be less expensive in the long run. If you plan on your institution growing steadily in the future or anticipate big changes that will lead to large amounts of data processing, hosted solutions will be more effective.
  • Reliable: They’ve been around a while because they work! Because hosted solutions rely on people being in a location to care for and manage the hardware, they can provide a more reliable connection than the cloud.
  • Secure: Hosted solutions are often more secure than cloud-based ones. With on-site personnel, you know who has access to the data and can contain certain cyberthreats.

The Drawbacks

  • Limited Customization Ability: With hosted solutions, you’re limited in terms of how much customization you can do. It’s difficult to make changes on the fly or quickly adjust settings since all updates must be done manually by a technician at the hosting facility.
  • On-Premises Maintenance: If something happens to your hardware, you’ll have to wait for a service representative to show up onsite and diagnose the problem. This can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Difficult to Upgrade: Moving up to newer hardware isn’t as easy with hosted solutions. You’ll have to pay for new equipment and migration costs, so it’s important to consider your future needs before making a decision.

What You Need to Know About Cloud Solutions

A cloud solution is a way to store and access data over the internet. Your data is stored on servers that are owned and managed by a third-party provider. This means you don’t have to worry about storage, hardware maintenance, or software updates—it’s all taken care of for you.

You have access to your data anytime, anywhere, and can quickly make changes or add new features to your system. Plus, you only pay for what you use, so there are few upfront costs or additional maintenance fees.

The Benefits

  • Flexibility: Because the cloud doesn’t come with any on or off-site hardware, it’s much easier to make changes according to your needs. If you need more space or an upgrade, you can do it within minutes.
  • Scalability: Universities often need to scale up or down quickly. Cloud solutions make it easy to add or remove users, storage, and computing power on an as-needed basis.
  • Security: Many cloud providers, like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, also come with advanced security tools and software. The cloud comes with different security challenges than hosted solutions, but they also have major software companies constantly working to combat those challenges. 

The Drawbacks

  • High Initial Costs: A migration to the cloud will be an investment, depending on your data and IT infrastructure. You’ll also have to pay for storage and computing power every month.
  • Platform Dependence: If you’re using a cloud provider like Amazon or Microsoft, your data is locked into their platform. This can make it difficult to switch providers if you ever need to. However, an IT provider can work you through that process and the options you have to avoid full platform dependency.

Hosted vs Cloud-Based: Which Is Right for Your University?

When it comes to hosted vs cloud-based, it really depends on your university’s needs. If you need a reliable connection and want more control over security settings, then a hosted solution might be the right choice. 

However, if you need scalability and flexibility in terms of maintenance and upgrades, then going with a cloud solution may be the better option.

Keep in mind that as education becomes more reliant on remote work and access, the cloud is the best option for remote students. That will be an important trend to consider—an IT provider can help you identify other trends and changes that might affect your decision.

ANC Group Can Implement the Storage Your University Needs

At ANC Group, we specialize in helping universities find the right IT solutions for their needs. We can help you determine if a hosted vs cloud-based storage solution is best for you and create an implementation plan that’s customized to your needs. 

Schedule a consultation and get started with our experienced team of IT professionals!