As the importance of technology to every business grows, decision makers will find it hard to avoid the ‘cloud debate’, whether it’s at work, at a conference or reading the news. Stories of improved agility and economies of scale, vie with cautionary tales of security breaches and data thefts.

But as far as I’m concerned, the right answer for most organisations doesn’t have to be a ‘cloud or nothing’ solution. It is important businesses don’t see their current on-premise solution as outdated and understand that a combination of Cloud and on-premise might deliver the best outcome. This is always dependent on the current IT infrastructure and the applications and resource that is required to run the business. That’s where having a quality IT partner to advise you is key!

For most businesses, there is confusion about the advantages of the Cloud, with some still not trusting the potential ownership and security issues surrounding hosting and where data is stored. Many businesses remain wary of data leaving the security of their premises, particularly in the legal and financial sectors.

For those doubtful of cloud-hosted solutions, they have to realise not everything has to go into the cloud. A hybrid solution could be the answer, where hosted cloud services can be combined with an existing on-premise solution to deliver an efficient tailored service.

In some cases, Cloud cannot play a part in an infrastructure at all simply because of the way in which the organisation operates and the resources it needs.

Hosted solutions, help free-up management time and that of in-house IT teams, allowing them to focus more on their core activities, along with projects that move the business forward, rather than a broad range of time-consuming operational issues. It’s enabling businesses to put invaluable resources to far better use.

Cloud solutions are very powerful in most cases, helping organisations become more versatile, agile and able to rapidly deploy services when needed at minimal cost. There are cases however when Cloud just isn’t an option!

The term Co-Location encompasses business that wish to retain their existing server infrastructure, but locate it in a data centre like ours. They have the peace of mind that their data effectively never leaves their servers, which allows them to focus on exploiting their technology investments to the full and worry less about the day-to-day operational aspects.

A hosted infrastructure allows a business to work seamlessly across devices and locations, boosting efficiency and productivity. This desire for any device, anytime, anywhere connectivity is what the hosted environment was designed for. But when a business wants their hardware and data onsite, outsourcing the management function to firms like ours will compliment the work of existing in-house IT teams.

It is important businesses know where their data is at all times. They should undertake due diligence checks on their chosen provider, examining more than just the technical details and really digging into the financials and who owns everything, right down to the bricks and mortar of the building where the infrastructure resides. Does the building belong to the IT company that will be providing the service? If not, there are extra levels of risks for the end user. Facilities management companies have gone bust in the past and will do so in the future!

I recommend businesses approach the issue with an open mind and consider all the options, fashionable or otherwise. Then choose a reputable, ISO27001: 2013 compliant partner that understands both Cloud solutions and on-premise managed services.

Added peace of mind comes with hosting in the form of improved resilience. Hosting is very effective in service replication, helping get businesses up and running after a serious interruption to their activities. In the event of a disaster affecting one location, a business with hosted solutions can simply relocate staff and continue operations relatively untouched.

Businesses need to be flexible and not afraid of choosing Cloud or on-premise, or indeed a combination of the two. If it is right for your business and allows you the versatility and security you need to move your business forward, then forget what others may say and do it in a way that suits your organisation, that lends itself to the appropriate applications that are the life blood of your business and do it with a partner that specialises and supports all the options, whilst using only their own infrastructure and resources, regardless of the mechanism in which IT is delivered.

Clive Taylor, Operations Director, Quiss Technology plc