If you’ve read about cloud computing for you businesses, you’re well aware of the strategic benefits it offers, from improving data security and disaster recovery to scaling resources for your business when they are needed. But as you dig deeper, you’ll come across mentions of the terms “public cloud,” “private cloud,” and “hybrid cloud” — it’s important to know the difference before you settle on an option for your organization. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between public and private cloud computing for your small to midsize business.
What Is a Public Cloud?
Many of you are likely using a public cloud already. Is your business using Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite? These are applications delivered via public cloud. Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. With a public cloud, all of the computing resources — such as servers, hardware, software, connectivity, and security — are owned and managed by a third-party cloud service provider.
This means that you aren’t responsible for managing your cloud hosting solution. Instead, your data is stored in the provider’s data center, where they take care of all management and necessary maintenance. You share hardware, storage, and network devices with other businesses or cloud users.
Pros of public cloud computing:
- Cost effective: you don’t have to worry about the costs associated with hardware, software, or maintenance — and you only pay for the amount of service you use
- Scalability: easily add or subtract resources as needed to support your changing workload
- No maintenance required: reduces business costs and downtime
- High reliability: the service provider sets a high standard for uptime and maintaining their equipment
Cons of public cloud computing:
- Security risk: Although cloud providers implement some of the best security protocols and technology available, your data is still at risk from hackers. It’s important to consider access management and who has access to each resource and service.
- Less flexibility: the shared nature of the public cloud places restrictions on the customization of resources and infrastructure
- Downtime: The stability and capacity of your internet connection is key to accessing cloud services, however what if the cloud service provider happens to have downtime? Read your SLA carefully so you know what to expect from the provider. In addition, consider developing a disaster recovery plan for if, and when downtime occurs.
What Is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is similar to a public cloud in that it provides resources and support, but there is one major difference between the two. Private cloud hosting solutions reside on the intranet or hosted data center for one single business or organization.
Private cloud architecture can be physically located at your business’s on-site data center, or it can be hosted by a third-party cloud provider. Either way, the private cloud environment and its associated computing resources and infrastructure are managed on a private network. The hardware and software are used only by your organization, rather than being shared with other businesses. Private clouds are sometimes preferred by organizations that maintain sensitive data or that need more control over their data management in order to meet specific compliance requirements, such as government agencies and financial institutions.
Pros of private cloud computing:
- Scalability: you decide on how much equipment your organization needs to buy or rent.
- Flexibility: your organization can personalize the cloud infrastructure to meet specific business needs
- More control: greater flexibility over your network means more control when dealing with highly sensitive data
Cons of private cloud computing:
- Costs: if you maintain your own private cloud, the start-up expenses will be higher due to equipment purchases
- Ongoing maintenance: building and managing a private cloud means relying on expert IT staff, as well as plenty of regular maintenance.
And What About Hybrid Cloud?
Finally, there's the option of hybrid cloud computing, which combines the benefits of both the private and public cloud. You can utilize the increased security measures of the private cloud, along with the accessibility and scalability of the public cloud. Because there are so many different variations and options to choose from when it comes to hybrid cloud, it’s best to meet with an IT professional to discuss your specific business needs to get the right fit for you.
In the end, choosing the best cloud option for your organization comes down to your business goals, data, and how much control you need over your infrastructure. We will help you choose the best option for your business. When you reach out to our team at CoreTech, we’ll discuss your IT needs and how they align with your business goals to determine which cloud computing option will best streamline and protect your organization for future success.