SoftwareOne logo

4.5 min to readCloud Services

Three differences between on-premise and cloud security

Ravi Bindra
Ravi BindraCISO
A woman's finger is pointing at a colorful screen.

Among many, cloud environments have a reputation for being less secure than on-premise environments. However, this isn’t a completely accurate judgement. While organisations are justified in their trepidation when considering a cloud migration, the cloud’s security is not inherently second-class. Rather, the challenge in securing a cloud environment is based in fundamental differences between on-premises and cloud environments.

Key differences when securing cloud and on-premises environments

If organizations would like to implement a secure cloud solution, they would benefit from evaluating the natural differences between cloud and on-premise environments. If IT teams do not understand the contrast between security in the cloud versus on-premise environments, the entire organization will be at risk of breaches and other security threats. Keep reading to learn three key facets that every organization should consider when securing their cloud deployment.


When using an on-premise solution, organizations enjoy a very high level of control over their data. This control can be enhanced by leveraging the right processes and applications to enable greater visibility. As long as an organization’s on-premise environment has sufficient visibility, IT teams will be able to control every security tool, deploy customized tools, and adjust the security infrastructure when needed. Although an on-premise environment offers a generous amount of control, this means that your organization is ultimately responsible if something in the data center breaks or otherwise stops working.

On the other hand, IT teams have much less control over public cloud offerings. Many security tools designed for on premises data centers cannot be ported to the cloud, and coding these tools to become compliant is extremely complex. As a result, many organizations are forced to resign to commercial tools – creating a gap in visibility and control. Although organizations utilizing the cloud must relinquish some control, many public cloud providers exceed at effective cloud management.

Personnel Differences

While cloud-based platforms pressure organizations to resign control over their database environment, in turn they offer a reduced need for personnel. With developers owning a cloud environment, the burden of day-to-day maintenance is no longer saddled on IT. Instead, IT can focus on the best way to secure and optimize the existing cloud environment.

If a cloud environment is being utilized, organizations must focus on attaining rock solid cloud security. Currently, only 5 percent of cloud security failures are the fault of a cloud provider – meaning that 95 percent of all breaches can be attributed to the customers. This is why organizations must recognize and embrace the shared responsibility model. To mitigate this risk, inform your organization’s security team regarding cloud security, and contact a third party to conduct a cloud security risk assessment.

Scale of Security Tools

One of the biggest value points for the cloud is its scalability. While many organizations believe that the cloud’s scalability creates security risks via an increased attack surface, this isn’t necessarily true. When using a comprehensive security tool that is designed specifically for the cloud, the size of the security tool scales alongside the cloud deployment. This is due to cloud security tools being interconnected and API-driven. Not only that, but the entirety of the cloud is also able to be stored within a VPN environment for additional security. With VPN and API based security tools, your organization’s threat protection will grow at the same pace as the cloud.

On the other hand, on-premises security is more hands-on. Unlike cloud tools, on-premise security tools are not necessarily connected, and do not use APIs. Instead, these tools are much more static. Instead of being woven into the very fabric of the database’s environment, on-premise tools are perimeter based. While these security options will be sufficient for a completely on-premise deployment, they require regular assessments to ensure there are no security holes.

Key takeaways

The cloud can bring a range of significant benefits to organizations. As a result, IT teams must understand how the fundamental differences between on-premise and cloud environments influence security. If this information is not considered, then their organization will not be protecting valuable cloud information to the best of its ability. However, if this information is considered while designing a new cloud environment, organizations may enjoy a greater level of security than their on-premise solution was offering.

Ready to begin architecting your organization’s cloud? It’s important to know your unique risks and compliance requirements before taking any action.

A person walking down a hallway with a rainbow colored wall.

Looking for more?

To secure your cloud deployments, consider leveraging SoftwareOne’s Managed Security Services. Or, if you’d like to speak to a cloud services expert, contact us.

Looking for more?

To secure your cloud deployments, consider leveraging SoftwareOne’s Managed Security Services. Or, if you’d like to speak to a cloud services expert, contact us.


Ravi Bindra

Ravi Bindra

Ravi holds over 20 years’ experience as a cyber security evangelist, holding multiple leadership roles in the Swiss pharmaceutical industry, such as Global Head of Risk Management, Global Head of Architecture and Global Head of Security Operations.