On-premises file sharing is a method of file transfer that relies on local servers. An on-site data center is fully managed by the organization’s IT staff, and files are shared through the local network.
Before the development of cloud file sharing in the mid-90s, on-site solutions were the only option for storing and sharing files. Today, enterprise-level companies have a variety of options for secure file sharing, including on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination of both.
More than half of enterprises leverage on-premises infrastructure for secure file sharing and storage. By 2024, an estimated 63% of IT workloads will remain on-site. There are several reasons organizations choose to stay on-premises, from regulatory requirements to performance controls and more.
This article will explore on-premises secure file sharing solutions, including both its benefits and potential security risks. We will also look at how to enhance on-site data security with WinZip® Enterprise.
Benefits of on-premises file sharing
Back in 2018, a Gartner analysist predicted that 80% of enterprises would shut down their on-premises data centers by 2025. While the article’s title, “The Data Center is Dead,” seemingly suggested that on-site solutions would cease to exist, recent industry research argues that on-premises solutions aren’t dying but evolving.
By 2025, Gartner predicts that 85% of infrastructure strategies will include a combination of on-premises and cloud file sharing solutions. Rather than expanding their existing on-site infrastructure, 62% of enterprises are increasing rack densities to manage their resources.
For any organization with an established on-site IT infrastructure, the shift to the cloud is happening slowly. On-premises data centers are fully customizable, giving business leaders complete control over the type of hardware and systems that make up the IT infrastructure, how they run, and who has access to them.
In addition, there are instances where on-premises file sharing is the best option, such as mission-critical applications. These are programs that must operate continuously because any downtime could lead to service disruption and financial losses.
By keeping mission-critical apps on-premises, organizations have greater control over data security. On-site IT teams can monitor and control security tools such as access controls, firewalls, and encryption to safeguard sensitive information.
Across business industries, enterprises leverage on-premises solutions for legacy systems. These highly customized systems have been running on hardware located on-site for years (if not decades). They would have to be retooled to operate in a cloud platform, which is a complex, time-consuming process.
On-premises secure file sharing doesn’t require internet access, increasing operational efficiency because workflows are not impacted by outages or slow connections. This stable network connection also delivers low-latency access to applications, which means there is minimal to no delay in storing or retrieving data files.
Disadvantages of on-premises file sharing
Of course, there are drawbacks and security issues that must be considered with on-premises file sharing and storage. For example, the ability to quickly access data on a physical network does not extend to offsite personnel.
To meet the rising needs of a distributed workforce, enterprises would need to look at third-party solutions for offsite file sharing. For example, a VPN extends the onsite private network across a public network (i.e., the internet).
Since the IT infrastructure is on site, enterprises require high levels of IT support and maintenance to keep things running efficiently. For a large data center, the average yearly operational cost is between $10 and $25 million. This includes spending on application maintenance, networking, cooling systems, labor costs, and more.
While on-premises solutions are highly customizable, they are limited in terms of scalability. An established, in-house data center has a certain amount of physical space in the company that can house the servers and associated IT equipment. These hardware and software components require continuous power supplies as well as cooling and ventilation systems to prevent overheating.
To expand storage and workload capacities, enterprises must purchase and install more equipment. Since onsite space, power, and cooling systems are typically designed to support a specific rack density per square foot, adding or removing components could impact these operational capacities.
This is not always cost effective, especially since enterprise-level servers can cost thousands of dollars each. In addition, increasing the size of on-premises technology is a complex process that requires considerable time and effort from an IT team, which leaves less time for other critical business tasks.
System reliability depends on server redundancy, in which a backup server can take over if a primary server is compromised. Every backup server takes up space, consumes energy, and needs to be kept cool, increasing on-site data center costs. While redundancy for on-premises file sharing and storage is cost-prohibitive, not having backup servers means that productivity suffers if a server is compromised.
How WinZip Enterprise improves on-premises file sharing security
When it comes to on-premises file sharing and storage, your files are only as secure as the people who manage them. This requires a host of IT skills, such as networking, database management, security, and hardware and software systems administration.
This combined skillset is increasingly hard to find due to a widening shortage of tech workers. Understaffed IT teams are more prone to human error, which is a primary contributor to data center downtime. Operational downtime costs enterprise-level companies an average of $700,000 per hour, meaning that even small mistakes can have expensive consequences.
Enterprises may need additional software or solutions to enhance and maintain their in-house security practices. WinZip Enterprise empowers IT teams with enterprise-grade tools to secure, manage, and protect on-premises file sharing and storage.
It’s also a highly customizable solution, enabling IT administrators to leverage features and settings that support the needs of onsite infrastructure. This simplifies security management processes, which are critically important for securing the data environment.
WinZip Enterprise can also find and flag duplicate files, which saves critical storage space in an on-premises solution. Another way WinZip Enterprise optimizes storage space is through file compression. These processes reduce files by 15–90% of their original size without impacting their quality. The compressed file also has a faster transfer speed, keeping productivity high and latency low.