Dedicated vs. Non-Dedicated Servers – What’s best for me?

More and more business today is being done in the cloud. While this offers amazing flexibility and accessibility advantages, everything you use in the cloud still needs to be physically stored somewhere, and that’s the role a server plays in your system.

There are two types of servers you can use; a dedicated server or a non-dedicated server.
Google's server farm in Douglas County, Iowa

What’s the Difference?
A non-dedicated server means your server is “hosted” in a shared environment with other, separate organizations.  A dedicated server is your organization’s own server and only contains your data.

Why would my organization choose one option over the other?
The answer to this question really depends on the classification level of your data, the governance rules of your organization and your country’s data sovereignty laws.

That’s really not as complicated as it sounds.

Data classification is all about how sensitive your data is and, therefore, the level of information security required for keeping it secure and limiting the ability to access that data. The main consideration should be based the level of sensitivity and the impact to your organization and clients should it be disclosed, altered or destroyed without authorization:
·         Public Data – little to no risk should the information be accessed.
·         Private Data – a moderate level of risk should information be disclosed.
·         Restricted Data – serious impact should there be any unauthorized activity.

Governance refers simply to the outline of the structure that decides how your data is classified. There are a variety of factors that will impact the creation of your governance structure and data model, based on the kind of information your organization keeps and the expectations for that information’s security.

For example, a financial institution would class most of its data as restricted, since it’s comprised of confidential and highly sensitive information about its clients. A disclosure could lead to serious issues such as identity theft, so they would need to choose a dedicated server. Whereas, in contrast, an advertising agency may have some confidential information about its clients and employees, but, by and large, there is no inherent risk to any one person or the general public should information be disclosed. Thus, using a non-dedicated server would serve their overall purposes.
Colored pipes bring water in and out of an Oregon data center.

Data Sovereignty is the laws of the country in which your data and server are located. For example, some countries will openly allow data to be accessible globally, so working in the cloud is acceptable and a shared server option is viable. However, in other countries this is illegal or can only be allowed by permission from the government, so dedicated servers are needed.

Something else to keep in mind; for countries like the United States, current laws, such as The Patriot Act, allow the government to access your data at any time for any reason regardless if your server is dedicated or non-dedicated.

If you have additional questions about servers, feel free to reach out to our Support Team by email or by phone at 1.866.239.0991. And be sure to check out our website for upcoming webinars to learn more about SmartSimple functions and features.

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