Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds – Which is Right for Your Business?

organizing document storage in the cloud with onedrive and sharepoint

When businesses are considering a move to the cloud, one of the most important questions they need to consider is “which version of the cloud is right for our business?” The cloud is a blanket term encompassing multiple types of infrastructure, platform, hardware and software as a service applications. The three main categories, however, are public, private and hybrid clouds.

In today’s blog we’ll discuss these three types of clouds to help you determine which type of cloud might be the best fit for your business.

There are probably hundreds of service models that make up what we think of as the cloud, but these can be divided into several main categories: public, private, hybrid and multicloud.

What’s the difference between them? Here are some of the main points you need to know.

Public Clouds

A public cloud is defined as a technology service that is offered by a cloud service provider and accessible by users over the internet. The services of a public cloud – whether software, hardware like server space or other infrastructure – are “virtualized,” which means that they are available through an internet connection rather than being stored on a user’s machine. The cloud service provider owns, manages and maintains all the equipment necessary to deliver cloud access to its clients. The cloud services and applications offered by Google, Microsoft and Amazon are good examples of a public cloud.

Some advantages of the public cloud are that deployment to users is simple, and the costs to purchase, manage and maintain IT infrastructure are significantly reduced. However, there can also be a few disadvantages. Security can be one, because while each cloud account is password protected, they may share hardware and network space with many other users. Poor security practices on the part of one user can theoretically make other users of that public cloud vulnerable.

Because of this, business public cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 adhere to stringent security best practices to prevent security breaches and downtime. Microsoft has been at the forefront of developing security protocols like Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection in order to maintain the security of its cloud against ransomware and other security threats.

Availability can also be an issue. A few weeks ago, an outage affecting the Google Cloud highlighted some other vulnerabilities of public clouds. On June 3, services such as Shopify, Snap and Nest were affected by network congestion that caused these services to be unavailable for several hours.

For these reasons, most cloud service providers operate based on what’s known as a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. The SLA offers guarantees about uptime and availability that protect organizations from these challenges.

Private Clouds

Private clouds are those that are only available to a single organization or a specific set of users. What this means is that not only is the cloud application secure at the account level, the hardware and networks used to run it are also private, with servers, networks and infrastructure that are dedicated for use by specific organizations or individuals.

The obvious benefit of a private cloud is that it is more secure as there are fewer other organizations and individuals sharing resources. It’s also more expensive as it requires cloud service providers to make greater investment in hardware and infrastructure to support it. However, in industries where security is crucial, such as healthcare or financial services, a private cloud may be a better option for the business than a public cloud for some appliations.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds, as the name suggests, use a combination of public and private cloud architecture along with on-premises resources to meet the computing needs of an organization. Many of the organizations that Tolar works with are essentially running hybrid clouds, accessing their Microsoft Office 365 applications from a highly secure public cloud, while running other business applications on in-house servers or private cloud applications.

The benefits of hybrid clouds include flexibility and a balance of cost, security and ease of deployment that can be adjusted to meet each business’ needs.

At Tolar Systems, we help our clients understand how to balance the variables inherent in deciding whether a public, private or hybrid cloud architecture makes the most sense for their business. Contact us today and let us help you leverage the power of the cloud securely and cost-effectively.