Public Cloud vs Private Cloud
Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud - let us help you decide on the best option for your business.
Thinking about making more of your business’s processes virtual? There are several types of cloud computing to choose from.
When deciding which cloud solution provides the right kind of IT environment for you – and the differences between public and private clouds – it is important to understand your organisation’s needs and priorities.
Public cloud environments are managed and maintained by a service provider, who makes resources available to the public through the internet. These resources may vary across service providers, but can include storage capabilities, applications, or virtual machines. Most cloud vendors offer a subscription or a pay-per-usage model.
Why choose a public cloud?
There are many benefits to choosing a public cloud. The pay-as-you-use pricing, lack of maintenance and update costs, as well as lower energy costs from no internal servers means that a public cloud solution can save your business money.
As a public cloud is managed by your cloud service provider, they are responsible for the management and maintenance of the centres where your business’s data is stored. This saves time, as well as frees up your staff to focus their attention on more revenue-generating activities.
A public cloud also offers improved security. A common misunderstanding about public clouds is that by not controlling and housing your own data, it is less secure than traditional IT infrastructures. This is not the case. In fact, many data breaches can occur from within and often as a result of human error (you can read more about this topic here).
Quality cloud vendors come with a team of highly skilled and experienced IT professionals who know how to protect your cloud infrastructure and will carry out regular penetration testing. In a public cloud, your data is stored behind an enterprise-class firewall, in a secure facility and with multiple levels of security.
Other advantages of a public cloud include protection against hardware failure, as well as scalability, which enable companies to deal with sudden surges in demand.
What are the drawbacks of a public cloud?
Public clouds can offer less flexibility than private clouds, which are designed just for your business. Your cloud vendor will make choices about your cloud’s infrastructure which you cannot always change, and you will be dependent on the responsiveness and quality of the vendor.
While public clouds can be more secure than most SME IT infrastructures, it is important that you choose a credible cloud provider. For businesses which operate in highly regulated environments and frequently handle sensitive data, a private cloud solution may offer more customisation and higher level of security.
Also known as an internal or enterprise cloud, private cloud environments operate solely for a single organisation. They can reside on a company’s intranet or hosted data centre, where all data is protected behind a firewall. Private clouds can be run by the company’s own IT department or data centre, or can be outsourced to a third-party service provider. Private clouds are not available to the public.
Why choose a private cloud?
Private clouds solutions offer many of the benefits of a public cloud (see more benefits of cloud computing here). They are also able to deliver a higher level of security and privacy for sensitive data. This is achieved through a company’s firewalls and internal hosting, which ensure that sensitive data and operations are not accessible to third-party providers.
Private clouds further offer total control and flexibility. You can design your cloud’s architecture to suit your company’s specific needs and preferences. You can also closely monitor who is granted access to the cloud and there is no risk of being affected if a cloud provider shuts down. Internet access does not have to be enabled and data can be isolated within the cloud’s infrastructure.
What are the drawbacks of a private cloud?
While private clouds offer a high level of security, the security becomes your responsibility (or the third-party service provider if you have decided to outsource your cloud’s management). It is therefore important to have a team that is trained and experienced with IT security to benefit fully from the secureness of a private cloud.
The exclusivity of a private cloud also means upfront costs – especially in relation to automation technology. To get the most value out of your cloud, you will need to manage and maximise its use as under-utilisation can become a cost to your organisation. Speak to an expert about how you can get the most out of a private cloud solution.
Hybrid Clouds are another option available to businesses. This offers the best of both worlds in terms of cost optimisation, scalability and agility of a public cloud, with the control, compliance and security of a private cloud.
An example of where hybrid clouds excels is with testing. Using test data, businesses can develop and test environments in a public load, meaning they only need to pay for the environments needed. Sensitive data can be kept on the private cloud, guaranteeing compliance and conformity.
Choosing between public, private and hybrid clouds
The first question you should ask yourself is whether you can safely host your data in the public cloud. If the answer is yes, then a public cloud may be a good option for your business. However, if your business frequently handles sensitive data (i.e. credit card or bank information, medical records, intellectual property or personally identifiable information) and you have compliance standards to meet, a private or hybrid cloud may be better suited.