For some businesses, the public cloud is adequate, but others may need the extra security measures of the private cloud. 93% of the UK’s leading computer security experts have expressed concern about the security that public cloud systems have.
With so many online hackers and crime gangs moving their work online, you must ensure that your data is kept safe and secure in a cloud storage option that works best for you.
Here is a simple cloud hosting guide to help you on your way.
What is the public cloud?
The public cloud is essentially computing services offered over the public internet, which are available to anyone who wishes to use them. These are offered by third-party service providers and can include applications, virtual machines or storage. Often, they are free such as GoogleDrive, Microsoft Azure or Dropbox, although there are also some paid options either through pay-per-use or subscription, which have more functionality or capability.
The public cloud is ideal for small organisations without a dedicated data centre, or for those with predictable computing requirements, such as a specific number of users. However, public cloud hosting is a great option for scaling your business. As the business expands it is possible to change the subscription.
It is a cost-effective option as updating the systems and maintaining them is the responsibility of the third-party providers limiting the need for organisations to employ specialists within their teams. The third-party suppliers are also responsible for the data security which automatically analyses the system for any anomalies although this doesn’t mean that each organisation cannot put additional security measures in place.
How does public cloud hosting work?
The public cloud works like a shared server, where your data is stored alongside the data of other subscribers.
As the hardware is used by numerous subscribers, it means the cost is shared across the subscriptions which makes it a cheaper option than purchasing the hardware in-house. You don’t share disk space, so therefore other subscribers’ activities won’t affect the speed or processing power of your subscription.
To access public cloud hosting requires individuals or the corporation to sign up to the product and register individual users – either free or paid subscriptions – which can simply be increased as your business grows.
What is the private cloud?
The private cloud, which is also known as the corporate cloud or internal cloud, has similar capabilities to the public cloud, in the sense that it comprises computing services offered via a third party which is delivered via the internet. The main difference is that the private cloud can also be delivered via a private internal network.
The private cloud is more secure and has individual user set-up, meaning it is only accessible by selected personnel.
There are three types of private cloud.
- The virtual cloud, which is a walled-off environment within a public cloud.
- A hosted cloud where the servers are not shared with any other users. This means it is only occupied by a singular organisation (tenant).
- A managed cloud which is a private system managed, configured and maintained by the provider. This is an ideal option if an organisation does not have internal IT personnel.
The private cloud is a perfect solution for organisations with an operational data centre if they are within a highly regulated industry or government agency or have a very strong security requirement.
How does private cloud hosting work?
Whereas the public cloud offers services to multiple organisations within the same server, the private cloud is dedicated purely to one organisation. This single-tenant environment ensures that tenants don’t have to share the resources with anyone, and therefore provides an extra layer of security.
Organisations can host their data on their own hardware within their organisation, or by using the hardware of third-part suppliers. However, both private and public cloud hosting require an appropriate operating system to function and data will be accessible from any device with this OS and an internet connection.
What can private cloud providers do?
If you decide to use a private cloud service you will have a choice of services that the private cloud providers offer which include;
- Managed cloud services where the entire private system is managed, configured and maintained by the service provider.
- A fully bespoke service using a combination of cloud applications and infrastructure tools catered to the requirements of your business.
- Some private cloud providers can offer a development platform.
- Data storage and data security solutions.
- The tools to create virtual servers.
- Tools to create an inventory of all your datacentre or cloud-based applications.
Private cloud vs public cloud
The main differences between the public and the private cloud are that;
- The public cloud is widely available to everyone (multiple unrelated tenants).
- The public cloud is hosted on a shared network.
- The public cloud is owned by the vendor, and therefore the user has no responsibility for the infrastructure, maintenance or updates.
- The public cloud is completely run by third parties so there is no capital outlay for the organisation.
- The public cloud has limited options for customisations whereas the private cloud is fully customisable.
- The public cloud easily scales along with your business.
- The public cloud offers on-demand resources according to your current requirements.
- The public cloud is low maintenance as everything is managed by the vendor.
- The private cloud is explicitly configured for one organisation, and users are individually configured to access it.
- The private cloud offers more control to the users.
- The private cloud is hosted on a private network.
- The private cloud provides the company with more control over who has access.
- The private cloud has higher IT overheads as there is potentially a capital cost to set up and maintain hardware systems.
- The private cloud offers more scalability than having hardware onsite.
Pros of the public cloud
- Cost – Making use of public cloud storage services, especially the free ones, can save a business a great deal of money as they don’t have the cost of buying and maintaining hardware and IT infrastructure.
- Speed -There is no delay in access with the public cloud as once a login has been set up, the product is immediately available.
- Efficiency – All staff within the organisation has access to the same product and therefore, can share documents easily with no complicated infrastructure set-up required.
- As the product is owned by the vendor, they offer all the maintenance and installation as well as housing the servers.
- Growth – With the public cloud, there are rapid scaling capabilities as there doesn’t need to be any software/hardware purchases to change the configurations. Therefore, the service can grow or shrink to match the company’s needs.
Cons of the public cloud
- Security – Whilst the public cloud, if set up correctly can be as secure as the private cloud, the latter enables individual set-ups which gives the tenant the power to control who has access.
- Cost – For medium to large organisations, the costs of licenses can grow exponentially as the number of users increases.
- Lack of Control – Tenants have no control over the infrastructure, which for some industries may mean they do not meet regulatory compliance.
Pros of the private cloud
- Bespoke – The private cloud is catered specifically for an individual organisation (single-tenant) which means it can be completely bespoke.
- In-house – The private cloud can be run completely in-house through the company’s data centre, although it is possible to use third-party data centres if necessary.
- Secure – Private cloud storage is often considered to be more secure as there are strict access parameters set on which users have access. This may, therefore, be considered more appropriate for specific types of data or business procedures.
- Control – The sole tenant has control over regulatory requirements.
- Flexible – The private cloud storage can readily meet unpredictable business, and IT demands as it is bespoke and often managed in-house.
Cons of the private cloud
- Personnel – Such a system generally requires an in-house IT team to set up and maintain the infrastructure.
- Costs – In addition to the salary of IT personnel, there are the costs associated with the set-up, infrastructure and maintenance.
- Cloud solutions are often subscription-based, so these costs need to be considered as well.
- Maintenance – The cloud service is only as good as the hardware that it is being directed through. Should the internal server be poorly maintained or is overburdened, this will affect the reliability of the private cloud system.
- Limited Access – Users may have limited access to public cloud solutions due to high-security processes required for the private cloud.
- May also be limited on mobile devices which makes this solution potentially inconvenient for remote working.
- Limited Growth – Scalability is limited according to the capability of the organisation’s data centre.
CIS’s cloud recommendations
If you are a small business with a limited number of employees, CIS would firstly recommend that you evaluate your business and prioritise the most important needs from your cloud solution. I.e. if your business deals with highly sensitive information, security would be a high priority for your cloud solution.
Scaling capabilities, speed and cost are vital features for businesses who are looking to expand their operations. Fast implementation alongside a lower cost would suggest that a growing business would benefit from using a public cloud solution; however, this is dependent on how big the business is to start with. The cost factor to a business becomes exponentially larger when the number of users increases.
Any large organisation should look favourably at private cloud storage; this is because private cloud solutions are bespoke to fit your specific requirements. Other added benefits of the private cloud include heightened security and control, which are both crucial elements for large businesses that process a vast amount of data.
The Private Cloud vs Public Cloud debate is one which does not have a clear winner as there are pros and cons to each, and it essentially boils down to the type of business and the specific IT requirements of each organisation.
For further information about what cloud service would be right for your business speak to the team here at CIS https://www.cisltd.com/contact-us/