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What Is Cloud Repatriation and Why Are Businesses Doing It?

Jenna Bunnell

December 19, 2023 - Guest Writer

As many as 70 to 80 percent of companies are moving at least part of their data back from the public cloud every year.

At first glance, this may seem to indicate that businesses are seeking out ways to reclaim control of their information and take back data stored on the cloud. There is, though, so much more behind this decision.

So, why are some businesses choosing to move operations back in-house? Let’s take a look at the potential benefits this may have for an organization, as well as some of the drawbacks. 


What Is Cloud Repatriation?


Cloud repatriation, also known as reverse cloud migration, is when data is moved from the cloud back to your own infrastructure. Essentially, this reverses the process of moving all information to the cloud. The infrastructure may be on or off-premises, and either held by the business or in a datacenter. The physical servers then become responsible for holding business data previously stored on the cloud. 

It’s widely known that cloud services are beneficial for many businesses, particularly startups that can’t afford the resources to have any infrastructure for data. For this reason, many businesses across the globe are still choosing to move their organization to the cloud. 

However, some companies have taken the decision to reverse this move, and bring data back home and in-house. This is not an easy migration, and the business must be sure that this is the best move going forward. 


Why Are Businesses Moving Back from the Cloud?


So, why are businesses choosing to move away from the cloud and back to physical infrastructures? There are several factors contributing to this phenomenon.


Firstly, some businesses are not satisfied with their cloud hosting provider and may feel like they experience too many IT issues and increased downtime. This can drive them to turn away from cloud providers and take it back to on-premise infrastructure. 


Other businesses simply want to regain control of their data. They might feel as though using the cloud gives them less flexibility and limited customization options for their business. Data security can also be a worry, as in some rare cases cloud hosts can be victims of a data breach. This puts the business’s and customer’s data at risk. 

What Are the Benefits of Cloud Repatriation for Businesses?


Here are some of the key benefits of cloud repatriation for businesses:

  1. Better Security

Some businesses are opting to move away from the cloud due to security fears. One of the benefits of cloud repatriation is that the business itself gets to manage and maintain the security of its on-prem system. What’s more, this system is completely private to the business.

There are certain risks associated with keeping data in the public cloud. To start, a huge amount of businesses share the same cloud infrastructure, meaning errors and exploits could be likely. It can sometimes also mean the security lacks transparency, as you aren’t directly in charge of it, so you don’t know exactly what controls are being used to keep data safe.

By repatriating back to an on-prem system, businesses can take a more hands-on approach to security. Implementing a system that has been approved, tried, and tested by the in-house team, and is compliant with industry standards, could decrease the risk of a security attack


  1. Less Downtime

Downtime can be seriously damaging for businesses. If the public cloud falters and fails to perform, it can have a knock-on effect and negatively impact your business’s performance. If the cloud doesn’t meet your standards when it comes to performance and you find your business is suffering as a result, that can be a sign that you should consider repatriation. 

By moving to an on-premise system, you are not guaranteeing perfect performance every time, but you have the chance to be more hands-on when it comes to fixing any issues. Moving data closer to the business can be the answer to this problem. 

  1. More Control

Companies tend to become dependent on their cloud provider once they are locked in with them. This means it’s hard to move to another provider if they are dissatisfied. However, once they do invest in cloud repatriation, they can regain control over their business and its IT environment. 

Workloads can be moved to an on-prem system, which can then be monitored and maintained by the business with no disruption from outside parties. It gives total freedom to manage, customize, and configure business information. 

What’s more, using the cloud means you are limited to software: you can only use cloud systems offered by a few hosting providers. With on-premises systems, you have a much greater choice of hardware and options to customize the system to work for you. 


  1. Potential Cost Savings

In the long run, it can be cheaper to invest in hardware to start. Many cloud systems give businesses different tiers to choose from, and they then pay to use their systems over the course of a year. Don’t forget, though, that businesses are already usually forking out for multiple other tools and subscriptions, like enterprise collaboration tools and project management software.

These costs can rack up, especially if the business has been using the cloud system for years and years. In the end, organizations may find it’s cheaper just to buy their own hardware to begin with.

The Challenges of Cloud Repatriation


Now, let’s look at some of the challenges that can be associated with cloud repatriation. 

  1. Complex Migration Process

As you may expect, the migration process of moving all your private business data off the cloud can be pretty complex as well as time consuming. It needs to be planned precisely to ensure as smooth a transition as possible back to the on-prem system. This also needs to be at a time where it will cause minimal disruption to the business.

This process needs to be done with care, and so it is a must that you have a special migration strategy in place, one that allows you to repatriate from the cloud in the quickest amount of time, but that is still safe and effective, and doesn’t miss any crucial steps.

  1. Data Transfer

As part of your cloud repatriation process, you need to be mindful of data transfer. First, establish where you are moving your data to. If it’s an on-premises system, ensure it’s set up and ready to go when you begin to remove the data from the cloud. This can be challenging as no matter how carefully you transfer data, the business may experience some downtime. 


  1. Upfront Costs

Another challenge of cloud repatriation is that it comes with expensive upfront costs, because you have to invest in a good hardware system. If, for example, you were used to the ease that comes with a cloud based phone system, you’ll now have to be prepared to invest more money in a physical phone system. This means choosing a system that you are sure will work for you, as it can be a hassle having to switch to another.


What’s more, you then need to pay for maintenance of the hardware system. If you don’t have an in-house technician, you may need to pay for one to come out each time to conduct checks and maintenance. This can end up being costly.

  1. Loss of Flexibility

A cloud system comes with somewhat unlimited flexibility. You don’t need to rely on a team being at the office to manage your hardware – instead, you can trust that your information is safely stored in the cloud no matter where you are in the world. You can’t get the same flexibility with an on-prem system, which can be limiting for some businesses who prefer to use remote access solutions, such as RealVNC.



Cloud Repatriation for Businesses: Next Steps


The decision to migrate your IT operations back to an on-premises system is never an easy one. It involves completely moving all business data to another system, which takes time and effort and can temporarily disrupt your organization. 

If you are struggling with your cloud provider, perhaps consider discussing your concerns with them and seeing if they are able to help in any way before you make the choice to take your data elsewhere. And, if you do decide to move to another cloud provider, ensure you vet them thoroughly and check that they have all the features that your business will need.

Ultimately, should you decide that cloud repatriation is the only route, remember to prepare your on-prem system and include highly skilled IT personnel every step of the way. The move should be smooth and cause as little disruption as possible. In the end, you should benefit from a secure infrastructure that you’re happy with. 

What Is Cloud Repatriation and Why Are Businesses Doing It?
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What Is Cloud Repatriation and Why Are Businesses Doing It?
Find out more about what cloud repatriation is and why businesses are doing it. We explore the benefits and challenges of this process.
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