The private cloud and public cloud are both frequently discussed topics in the technology field. You are not alone if you are not entirely sure what the differences are between the two. In an annual survey, it was found that 58 percent of bankers confessed that they did not know enough about the public cloud to be able to properly assess if it was worth investing in or not.
To get a grip around the private and public cloud, you can think of it like this: the cloud is basically moving the computing resources from your computer and housing them somewhere offsite, where they are managed by a third party and you can access them through the internet. Who they are managed by and how they are managed is what designates them as private or public.
This is a very simplified way of looking at it, however a business will need more information if they are to make an informed decision around investing in a third party provider in which to entrust its business functions or sensitive information.
What Is The Public Cloud?
Pretty much everyone in the modern world uses the public cloud whether they are conscious of it or not. If you are using Netflix at night to relax or Zoom during business hours then you are using it. Furthermore, most software as a service (Saas) resides in the public cloud. Think of how Microsoft 365 now powers Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and Word, and instead of downloading these programs to individual machines users can now access them from any device over the internet.
Other public cloud offerings are infrastructure as a service (IaaS) where the third party manages essential business networking, storage, and computing that are on-demand for the user. Platform as a service (PaaS) are also on the public cloud, where the third party manages a platform where businesses can be run.
Benefits of the Public Cloud
Essentially, computing on the public cloud democratizes the internet as the providers run at big economies of scale. This in turn gives the users many benefits:
- Unlimited scalability - Public cloud providers possess some of the biggest IT environments on Planet Earth, so businesses do not need to worry about limitations around non-cloud technology. When the company is ready to grow, pretty much unlimited capacity is available to them without a huge investment.
- Improved compliance and security - Cloud providers have the incentive (through their customers’ satisfaction and the reputation of their company) and wherewithal to make sure that they have the best talent around to ensure compliance and security is up to scratch. As a result of this, there are very rarely any breaches on the public cloud, any beaches that do occur happen through other data center environments.
- Low maintenance - As the third party is fully responsible for any failures or fixes with the technology, along with all of the regular maintenance and managing responsibilities, this frees up a business to focus on allocating the IT resources to other areas.
What is the Private Cloud?
As you might imagine, the private cloud is pretty much the opposite to the public cloud. This is where the providers limit access to their product to one or more businesses that they choose, instead of having it available for everyone like on the public cloud. Sometimes the third party's just used to house the data center for the customer and the customer manages the services themselves. In other situations the providers can offer management of the services and environment for the customer.
Benefits of the Private Cloud
There are many benefits to the private cloud:
- Location control - The user knows exactly where its data and services are located at all times, as most agreements state what primary and secondary locations they will be using.
- Low maintenance - Similar to the public cloud, there is no need for any equipment purchases or hardware upgrades as the hardware is managed by the third party.
- Reliability - When a company is moving from an on-premises system to a private cloud product, they get more environmental controls and power redundancies, which the third party will guarantee to them through their agreement.
- Migrations - Private migrations generally happen faster than their public counterparts, however this is not guaranteed.
Crucial Considerations for the Public Cloud
There may be some downsides when it comes to the public cloud for certain businesses so it is important to take these into consideration:
- Data location - As part of a business’ responsibilities, they should find out where the provider is keeping their information, as if it is outside of their particular country, they could be subject to some privacy and security risks.
- Migration - If a business wants to migrate to the public cloud, it cannot happen overnight. Depending on the different factors like size and the type of information that is moving, it can result in some downtime when the migration is happening.
- Connectivity - Files and information can be accessed from anywhere, however since the internet still needs to be used to access the information, it can carry a security risk.
Crucial Considerations for the Private Cloud
There are some risks to consider with the private cloud as well:
- Exit strategy - If you choose to leave your private cloud provider, a full migration must happen. This will not be easy and there is no straightforward way to move from the private to public cloud.
- Price - The private cloud is typically the more expensive option.
- Shared servers - Multiple customers may be sharing the same computing resources, so data separation must be discussed in the agreement.
- Data ownership - When data is being stored on servers that do not belong to the company, ownership of the data must be clearly stated.
Would you prefer the private cloud or the public cloud? Who do you think comes out on top between the private cloud vs public cloud? Clinked would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!