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8 Reasons To Use Cloud Over On-Premises File Sharing

by | Last updated November 22, 2023

There’s a common misconception with on-premises file sharing, with some believing it is more secure due to data access being contained in a single environment. However, this is not the case (more on this further down the page).

Contrary to popular belief, cloud-based file sharing is just as, if not more secure than on-premises solutions. This becomes especially evident as more professionals opt for remote or hybrid work arrangements. Cloud transfers offer many advantages, including scalability during high-traffic periods, reduced costs, and improved collaboration with external parties.

In this post, I will delve into these points and more, outlining eight reasons to choose cloud-hosted file transfer over on-premises alternatives.

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What is On-Premises File Sharing?

On-premises file sharing (also known as “on-prem”) is a file transfer method that is reliant on local servers. It has been around for pretty much as long as the internet, thanks, in part, to the introduction of file transfer protocol (FTP) in the early 1970s. 

On-premises file sharing remains popular today with the likes of Aspera and Signiant, especially among organizations that don’t need to quickly transfer large files to external recipients. Or, those who are wedded to more traditional IT approaches.

But for those who need a more flexible (and cost-effective) way of moving large files great distances, the wide availability of public cloud servers and cloud-based managed file transfer (MFT) has become immensely valuable.

Why is On-Premises File Sharing Still So Popular?

On-premises file sharing gives organizations complete security, performance, and customization control over data, systems, and workflows. FTP workflows are relatively well-known by many IT professionals. On-premises file sharing can even have faster transfer speeds when sharing files internally and over short distances.

But these traditional file sharing techniques make less sense when transferring large media files externally. Or, for organizations without the time or budget to set up, maintain, and scale complex on-prem environments. 

That’s because when transferring video or other large files, cloud systems are now cheaper and in many cases faster than their on-prem counterparts. They’re certainly more flexible. They can even be a more secure file transfer solution.

Indeed, while on-premises file sharing isn’t going anywhere, if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the future is in the cloud. Organizations must have the flexibility to find efficiencies where possible. Here are eight ways companies can do that by using cloud transfer over on-prem when it makes sense.

Eight Situations When the Cloud is a Better Solution Than On-Premises File Transfer

 1. When you need to quickly send large files externally

On-premises file sharing uses a point-to-point (P2P) network to accelerate files within its ecosystem. The sender and recipient both have desktop software from the on-premises provider, which creates a direct path between the two to exchange files.

When it works, it’s fantastic! The problem is the slow and cumbersom setup process. The actual act of file transfer is fast but trying to onboard every user to the proprietary software, bring in IT to open up new ports, and host training workshops is a hassle (and quite expensive).

Imagine having to set up each client or contractor with mandatory software just to move files?

Cloud-based file transfer doesn’t have this problem. These platforms are built to be accessible and easy-to-implement by all parties.

And while some on-prem advocates balk at the idea of internet delivery being as fast as P2P, it’s entirely possible. Cloud solutions like MASV use private, high-speed networks like AWS to accelerate files beyond what the public internet can do. You essentially get the same, direct connection between sender and recipient, without the time-consuming technical implementation.

2. When you need to ease network congestion

The convenient thing about cloud-based file transfer is the ability to scale networks to meet increased traffic. For instance, if everyone in your organization is rushing to meet a deadline for an upcoming product launch, there will be significant spikes in file transfer activity.

Cloud services are infinitely scalable with a few clicks — or even automatically. On-premises file sharing doesn’t have that flexibility. On-prem servers cannot scale up to meet higher demand. They also don’t have great monitoring capabilities, making it difficult to track transfer activity among large numbers of users.

That means too many users, sending too much data, on infrastructure that can’t handle that much traffic. Cloud file transfer can help alleviate some of the network congestion.

3. When you need to save on expenses

Anyone who has ever had their own server knows that on-premises file sharing requires significant CapEx.

Along with hardware purchases in an era of disrupted supply chains, you also need expensive IT expertise on hand for installation, configuration, updates, security, and maintenance. That’s not even counting other on-prem expenses such as:

  • Physical space (a server room)…
  • Software licensing fees…
  • Energy costs…
  • A storage backup system…
  • A fire suppression system…
  • Upgrades for when your system grows obsolete or if you need to scale capacity.

Cloud file storage and transfers usually have monthly subscription fees or a pay-as-you-go payment model, making them a cost-effective alternative. Instead of paying for server and other capabilities you may or may not need, you only pay for the required storage and bandwidth at that given moment. Many major cloud platforms offer automatic discounts based on monthly usage or prepaid resources.

Cloud providers also take care of all updates, security, performance issues, and troubleshooting.

Although the costs of cloud platforms can add up — especially if you’re working with a ton of data. Or your team isn’t up to speed on cloud cost optimization best practices. Regardless, it’s still much more cost-efficient to rent cloud space and tools rather than spend tons of money on infrastructure you’ll just have to replace or upgrade every few years.

4. When you need to be secure

Recent data breaches at self-hosted file transfer platforms GoAnywhere, IBM Aspera, and MOVEit demonstrated the risks of using your own servers with large file transfer services. That’s because adding software applications to an on-prem system means adding outside code, dependencies, and potential vulnerabilities to your infrastructure, essentially rendering any security benefits of a self-hosted system moot.

And while on-premises systems may feel more secure because of their physical proximity, in reality it’s nearly impossible to beef up your infrastructure anywhere close to that of major public clouds such as AWS (without going broke, at least).

Public cloud providers work with governments, militaries, and other organizations with the most extreme data protection requirements imaginable. That means public clouds are incentivized to provide the most advanced security controls possible.

To that end, public clouds have several security advantages over on-prem servers, including:

  • Built-in identity and access management (IAM) tools, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Monitoring, logging, testing, and auditing tools that provide deep visibility into potential issues or threats.
  • Automated encryption, patching, updating, and incident response tools.
  • Automated back-up and redundancy systems in place.
  • More resources and time to keep physical data centers secure.
  • More resources to spend on disaster recovery (DR), including event-driven automation for remediation if something does go wrong.

Adding the same or even similar level of security controls to an on-prem systems is wildly cost prohibitive and will subject your company to the law of diminishing returns as you invest more and more capital.

5. When you just need a solution ASAP

On-prem servers aren’t just expensive to purchase, implement, secure, and maintain. They’re also subject to long sales cycles, endless licensing agreements, and months of installation, configuration, tweaking, and testing.

That means it can take months after your initial purchase before an on-premises file sharing system is up and running at full speed and capacity. 

Scaling on-prem systems with additional compute power, memory, and other capabilities is also notoriously expensive and slow. Scaling these systems means longer sales cycles accompanied by additional CapEx, IT expertise and labor expenses, and constant monitoring from someone on your team. You might not even need the extra capacity by the time it’s ready.

In the case of cloud file sharing, you can look up your preferred vendor, sign up for an account, and start sending files right away in minutes.

On a similar note, the slow pace of on-premises operations is also why more and more people are opting to use virtual workstations for their performance needs.

6. When you need to save on training (and aggravation)

On-premises file sharing typically relies on outdated, creaky GUIs and command-line interfaces that can be intimidating (or downright unusable) for non-technical folks without hours of training.

Cloud-based apps and services, however, are made to be user-friendly. With cloud, transferring hundreds of gigabytes is a simple matter of dragging and dropping the file into an intuitive user interface.

7. When you need to work remotely

We’ve all heard it numerous times at this point: the cloud is the “backbone” of remote work. That’s because keeping all your data on a local server requires workers to be on site. While VPNs can help, they’re often slow (especially for global workers), relatively costly, difficult to patch, and unreliable. They’re also not very secure in that any infected endpoint can easily compromise corporate systems once connected via VPN. 

Even with organizations requiring people to go back to the office, many employees are choosing to stay remote permanently or opting for a hybrid work model. For these reasons, any org should strongly consider cloud over on-premises file sharing. Remote work isn’t going anywhere.

8. When you need to be competitive

Many on-prem systems are simply old and unable to keep up with the pace of change. As mentioned above, on-premises file sharing can be augmented to meet performance requirements — but these additions often lead to additional complexities that hamper innovation and the timely delivery of new features.

Indeed, introducing any new features or additions almost always takes much longer to implement and fine-tune.

On the other hand, cloud services are far more nimble. They regularly push new features and patch updates, often times doing so automatically. They also work well with other cloud tools. MASV, for example, integrates with over 20 different cloud storages to ease the path between file transfer and storage.

Cloud vs On-Premises File Sharing

On-prem is preferred by many organizations who want tighter control over how their files are shared. However, as we’ve discussed, the cloud is more than capable handling most on-premises workflows. To recap, cloud-based file transfer might be right for your organization if you need to:

  1. Send large files to external resources.
  2. Save on expenses (server room, IT infrastructure, maintenance, etc.).
  3. Beef up security with remote teams.
  4. Account for sudden spikes in high traffic.
  5. Move quickly with sign up.
  6. Get your staff up to speed quickly.
  7. Foster remote collaboration.
  8. Keep the pace of innovation.

And perhaps the best part? Because cloud services don’t require substantial up-front cash outlays, it’s easy to give these tools a try without worrying about long-term commitments or vendor lock-in.

When On-Premises File Sharing Won’t Do, Trust MASV Cloud Transfer

MASV’s cloud-based large file transfer is one of these tools.

It’s the fastest, most reliable way to transfer massive files (up to 15 TB with a single file) to clients or collaborators anywhere in the world with an internet connection. No time-consuming installations, configurations, or tweaks are required. Literally sign-up and start sending files, today.

Our platform is built on top of Amazon’s global network of AWS servers for swift, secure, stable transfers that are proven to be the fastest in the industry.

MASV upload and download speed compared to Aspera and FileCatalyst.

Our transfer platform also includes the following security measures for on-premises stalwarts hestitant to make the switch to cloud:

  • MFA and single-sign on (SSO) user access management.
  • Encrypted file transfer (TLS 1.2 and AES-256) on in-flight and at-rest files.
  • Password protection, file expiry and download limits, file tracking.
  • Automatic malware scanning and checksum verification.
  • Regular code scans to identify vulnerabilities within dependencies.
  • Crypto key requirement for admin logins.
  • Regular staff security awareness training

Sign-up for MASV today and send 70 GB worth of data on us, on a flexible Pay-As-You-Go plan, with rates as low as $0.05/GB.

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