There are two ways of conducting Internet business: with open-source technology or with the use of private servers.
The protectionists and security-conscious may believe that private servers are the only way to go, but not always. No doubt, there are pros and cons to each. If money is no object and you think you can keep up with the need for continuous upgrades, then maybe a private server is right for your project or business. There are indeed some secure features that make it somewhat fail-safe. But let's face it. Nothing is a sure thing in the digital age. A black hacker's determination and kick-ass computing skills will always run circles over yours.
Open-source technology gives you the world at your fingertips. You have an instant network of resources to collaborate and partner with, and the cost is minimal for unlimited storage. That said, the biggest risk is choosing the wrong network, which could go out of business at any given moment and all your stored information can be lost.
Here is a breakdown of what each computing method brings to the table:
- It's expensive to set up.
- It must be maintained and upgraded.
- If the network goes down (for example Go Daddy), then all of your customers and employees will be frustrated and turned off if you don't have an on-call tech to fix the problem as soon as possible. It can turn into a terrible public relations moment. (See Canadian government payroll system and Obamacare launch.)
- The system can become obsolete very quickly. (Technology based on specific operating systems, such as Windows Vista)
- The door is locked and thus gives you a limited view of the world. (You live in your own technological bubble.)
- You are isolated from other technological advances and the global community.
- There are administration hoops that make the user/friendliness of the system in question.
- You are using other people's money by tapping into their system.
- Upgrades are included, and usually often.
- The opportunities are endless because you have unlimited and unfettered access to the global community, which means you can just as easily do business with someone in Kazakhstan as you can with someone down the street.
- Everything is within your personal control. Once you learn a platform and how to access it, there are no administration hoops to jump through. You control what you do, say, see, and hear.
- You have endless storage for everything that is digital for free or a nominal fee, once you fill a certain space requirement.
- There is a bevy of technicians and security staff on hand 24/7 so if something does happen, your technology is only down for a small window of time.
- Security is continually updated and enhanced to stay ahead of the hackers.