Cloud storage

Cloud computing vs. on-premises: a comprehensive guide for creatives teams

The way we work is changing rapidly as companies move their teams from the office to remote and hybrid work environments. This transformation is compelling creative teams to reconsider how they collaborate on tasks and projects. In response, many recognize the need to prioritize technologies that ensure they can continue creating high-quality product together from wherever they are without interruptions.

In the past, when everyone worked in the same building, on-premises computing was the go-to solution for media assets management and collaboration. However, as teams expand to include diverse talent from all areas of the world, maintaining day-to-day workflows has become increasingly challenging.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to cloud-based systems for many companies. Cloud computing offers easier connectivity for remote teams and enables organizations to adapt quickly to changing conditions.

If you work with distributed teams or are considering a shift to the cloud and want to learn more about the benefits of on-premise versus cloud computing, look no further! Here’s a basic overview and additional insights on how to work remotely without interruptions using a cloud collaboration tool like LucidLink.

What is on-premises? 

On-premises (on-prem) computing refers to using a computing model where everything is hosted in-house. Within this model, the technology may include backup, security, communication, software, hardware, or other infrastructure that an organization maintains in its physical location. This could mean hardware on an office server room or a complex network of data centers providing storage, processing power, and other services.

On-prem computing

Using on-prem technology gives your business direct control over the hardware and software you use. That also means that your organization is responsible for making sure that hardware is maintained, rapidly serviced in an outage or other emergency, and kept up to date. Commonly known as a technology refresh, this ensures that computers used within your company across teams are upgraded consistently to align with what is state of the art.  

In the past, it was more common to see video production teams utilizing on-prem technology as their best solution for collaborating on large media files. However, this becomes challenging  when a team member is out of the office or you’re trying to share files with colleagues and contractors located in different regions. Most often, in these cases, teams face the troubles of dealing with slow VPNs or the cyclical struggle of having to sync and download files to various devices and hard drives. 

What is the cloud?

Cloud computing refers to remotely hosting data, software, applications, hardware hosted at data centers, and other resources on the cloud instead of in-house. Generally, cloud solutions take away the burden of IT teams having to manage and upgrade technology on-site for an entire company since it’s fully managed by third-party providers. Cloud tools can pull data from multiple servers across the world and offer the flexibility of accessing and managing resources through a web browser or other interface—making location less of a barrier to collaboration.

What is cloud computing

Across various industries, the cloud is beneficial because it supports teams as they expand to include talent worldwide. Cloud technology enables media and entertainment (M&E) companies to collaborate with the best artists in the industry over the internet. 

Additionally, the cloud helps to improve efficiency by including features like integration with other software and automation technology for those essential but repetitive tasks. For example, cloud project management tools like Asana make it easier for teams to manage tasks and prioritize together in real-time. Creative cloud tools like Adobe Creative Cloud make it possible for creatives to retouch, composite, blend, edit, and work on media files together while providing them with centralized administration and licensing.

Cloud systems enable elasticity by allowing you to easily add or remove resources without buying or installing hardware. Most cloud providers offer a subscription-based model, allowing you to pay only for the resources you actually need and use. 

Cloud providers also offer their own security protections, like encryption, and can provide backup capabilities for data stored in their systems. Cloud providers also provide service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime and performance and can generally be accessed from anywhere with internet access. This makes the cloud particularly beneficial for remote and hybrid teams, organizations where people travel frequently, and creative businesses that often work with freelancers.

Similarities and differences between on-prem vs. cloud

Level of control

Level of control - cloud vs on-prem

On-prem technology and resources put your company in control over the continual maintenance of software, hardware, and systems, but that control comes with the need to power, cool, and pay support contracts for those computing resources. 

Cloud computing shifts a lot of those responsibilities to the cloud provider. The provider owns and maintains the physical hardware and keeps it connected to the internet. Cloud providers are responsible for most of the software. The customer is responsible for ensuring they’ve set up their cloud solution properly, taking into account the appropriate preferences for software and security updates sent by the provider. These updates typically can be set up to reoccur automatically.

Speed and scalability 

Speed & Scalability - cloud vs on-prem

On-premises computing offers fast data processing and network response times. However, it’s limited to in-house operations through a direct connection to your organization’s local area network (LAN). In contrast, cloud computing allows data and applications to be stored on remote servers accessible over the internet, enabling teams to utilize data and collaborate in real-time from anywhere. Cloud computing also offers scalability, flexibility, and accessibility—allowing your organization to easily scale its computing resources up or down based on your needs, without requiring expensive hardware upgrades.

Additionally, cloud storage is consistently fast, regardless of the amount of data stored—whether you’re using terabytes (TB)  or petabytes (PB)—while on-premises storage requires a more extensive infrastructure to maintain high speeds.


Costs - cloud vs on-prem

Since cloud tools generally use a pay-as-you-go model, companies can buy in based on their needs and scale up or down as requirements shift for things like usage, project size, storage needs, and company growth.

In accounting, the shift to cloud computing is often described as a shift from capital expenses—payments for investments in hardware like computing servers—to operating expenses, the regular costs a company pays in doing business. In this case, that’s subscriptions to access online software, computing power, and data storage. Since cloud computing systems are designed to be used over the internet, they’re configurable to access wherever you need them securely. 

While you’re not responsible for buying hardware or paying for utilities and network connections when using cloud services, you still want to understand how your company is being billed.


Security - cloud vs on-prem

When on-prem resources are managed in-house information security and privacy is an internal responsibility. Cloud tools provide their own security and backup credentials and often offer added security benefits above what companies can build and manage with on-prem resources. 

Overall, what’s most important when thinking about cloud security is making sure you’ve determined the level of protection your company’s data requires and the access controls that are best for the teams accessing it.

Understanding cloud storage

With on-prem computing, digital asset management often means a file server or a physical network-attached storage device containing important company files. If you work in a shared office, that storage may appear on your computer as a virtual drive that you can access as you would a local one. 

The cloud replaces on-prem file storage with space on a cloud provider’s systems. It lets you control who has access to which files. And it enables you to automate important tasks like backing up data so important files aren’t lost. One of the main advantages of cloud storage is its ability to give you access to your files from any device without the need for a VPN or external hard drive.

There are different types of cloud storage, each with its own intended purpose. Organizations that store data with a hyperscaler often face substantial egress charges, which are fees for moving or transferring data from the cloud storage where it was uploaded. Some, like Amazon Glacier and Microsoft’s Azure Archive Storage, are designed for infrequently accessed archival data. Sync-and-share systems like Dropbox and Google Drive are useful for small files but can be impractical for large, complex media files.

LucidLink filespaces is a cloud technology that lets you work on massive media files all in one place, just like you would on a local drive on your computer. It ensures you can pick up and begin editing right where your teammate left off at any time, no matter where you are in the world.

Understanding LucidLink filespaces

Working remotely can pose significant challenges for creative teams when it comes to sharing media files, which creates unnecessary roadblocks in an artist’s workflow. LucidLink empowers creatives to deliver their best work. 

For many creative professionals, whether in video, audio, or design, simple tasks like preparing files to pass off to another colleague, managing file versions, resolutions, and backups, or finding the right tools compatible with the file sizes and formats they work with can be a daily headache. And even worse, creatives are often stuck spending many hours daily in a repeating cycle of downloads. 

LucidLink eliminates those tedious challenges that bog down the creative workflow. Using our filespaces technology, you can store and access all of your creative team’s media files in one place, you’re able to work directly from your filespace. That means there’s only one single source of truth for files that everyone can rely on as they collaborate on projects. 

Additionally, since media files and data are streamed on demand from the cloud using LucidLink, your team can work together seamlessly without having to re-download or sync files.

If you’re a videographer located in Berlin using Adobe Premiere Pro to edit your latest project, you can save your project at the end of the day, and the post-production team in Los Angeles can access it and continue editing where you left off. That’s the magic of LucidLink. It makes creative collaboration easy and fits your existing workflows with tools like Adobe Systems, Avid Pro Tools,, DaVinci Resolve, and more. 

LucidLink offers a simple-to-understand, one-price, no-egress model that makes operational expenses straightforward to budget for in a linear manner. That’s it! Filespaces is built to work with any amount of storage, including multi-terabyte multimedia projects.

It really is that simple. If you want to learn more about the technology behind LucidLink, let us give you a quick demo or sign up for a free trial