Technology is changing more rapidly than ever before, and as such, the decision to keep data on-site or outsource it is becoming more and more relevant. While many companies may decide to keep their storage needs in-house, a wide range of businesses simply do not have this capacity or they choose not to take on this responsibility.

The reasons for this vary, however, the point is that some companies would absolutely benefit from storing data off-site. It is at this point that these companies must decide between cloud services, colocation or a combination of the two.

Cloud or colocation: Which is best for your company?
To begin, it is important to define cloud storage and colocation so that an informed decision about their differences can be made. Cloud services are where a cloud provider gives a company the ability to remotely access their resources and stores everything in the own data center environment. 

While this limits the hardware options a company can choose from, it gives the added bonus of keeping the responsibility of all system upkeep firmly in the hands of the cloud provider. Companies with a weak IT infrastructure or even those wishing to keep their IT department focused on a limited number of internal goals would absolutely benefit from cloud services and should put some serious thought into considering their usefulness.

Colocation, on the other hand, is where companies purchase and bring their own equipment to an outside data center with the added bonus of sharing power and other hardware needs with fellow tenants. Basically, this option is like renting an apartment and having other companies with similar data management needs as roommates. Colocation also allows for companies to have their data stored offsite, which gives an extra amount of security in terms of disaster recovery and business continuity.

It is these specific benefits that have lead consulting firm Vanson Borne to predict that colocation is going to be the biggest outsourcing approach over the next year. While there are many advantages to colocation, companies should understand the responsibility of this sort of data storage arrangement.

Colocation requires that companies purchase all their own hardware, and as such a deep knowledge of these systems is typically needed in order to choose the correct equipment necessary for their specific needs. Thankfully, colocation experts such as ISG Technology have a wide understanding of these infrastructures and can help clients with their colocation needs. 

Obviously, any company that is deciding between these two options needs to think long and hard about its data storage needs. Does the company need to focus more on internal IT needs than it does the management of data storage hardware? Or does the company not want to use another company's server to store data? Perhaps some data can be stored with a cloud service provider while other data is best kept within hardware owned by the company. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, as well as to combining the two in a more hybrid arrangement. There is no "better" option because every company's needs differ, and as such, each company needs to come to the understanding of which option is best for its specific requirements.