In the private cloud vs public cloud debate, companies need to understand the differences behind each solution and what they have to offer. Both private cloud and public cloud bring their own strengths, and also some potential downsides. But how the two options stack up depend on what your business needs in a cloud solution. We’ve put together a list of primary factors to consider as you assess your requirements for a move to the cloud.
Some companies are hesitant to relinquish control over their data and network resources. In a private cloud environment, you don’t need to. You can architect your cloud to retain full control over nearly every aspect, giving you exclusive authority of everything from changing employees’ login access permissions to determining how frequently you back up your data. This level of control means your in-house staff need to have the experience and time to ensure your cloud environment is managed correctly.
Public cloud requires that you turn much of that control over to your cloud provider. They’ll oversee most of the administrative and maintenance tasks for you, but you may have access to a dashboard that allows some limited functionalities—adding new employees, archiving or retrieving datasets, and analyzing usage and other metrics. Public cloud providers also generally make it easy to scale the size of your cloud through the administration dashboard, so you’re able to control capacity even though you aren’t directly adding the resources yourself.
The topic of security and how it’s handled in private cloud vs public cloud offerings must be considered. Depending on your perspective, your enterprise’s needs and expectations, and the trends impacting your business environment, you may find one solution fits your desired security profile better than the other.
For companies that want or require very tight control over their security posture, or those that operate in sectors where regulatory compliance issues mandate specific security requirements, private cloud gives you the ability to run security protocols according to your own needs. You can implement protective measures based on your unique risk profile. Private cloud also allows you to have complete discretion over when and how security patches and updates are deployed.
With public cloud, your company wields less control over specific aspects of security and how the protection of your data and other network assets are handled. Measures such as security patches, firewall updates, and other defensive tools are deployed by the vendor according to their threat assessments and timelines, and you don’t typically have any influence on how (or how frequently) updates are rolled out.
The servers and other hardware that support a private cloud are often located on-premise, an attractive arrangement for companies that want to keep their environment nearby. That decision, however, means your organization needs to maintain the hardware – power, cooling, etc. – as well as find space to accommodate it. With your private cloud onsite, users are less likely to experience latency or other issues sometimes experienced when access is routed over the Internet to offsite resources. However, organizations with on-premise private cloud environments need to have a strong business continuity plan in place in the event local services are disrupted.
On the flip side, public cloud hardware is housed by your cloud hosting provider. They maintain data centers where the servers that form your cloud environment reside, and the hardware may be in a single location or stationed across multiple data centers according to the vendor’s allocation strategy. Because the cloud solution provider is responsible for both hardware and physical locations, your enterprise should be diligent in ensuring there’s a good disaster recovery plan in place if something happens to one of the vendor’s data centers.
The rate structures and expenditures for private cloud and public cloud solutions vary, and it’s important to consider the type of workloads and storage requirements your business is likely to have over the long term before deciding which cost strategy suits you.
The use of private cloud gives you tight control over your spending. If your usage patterns are predictable and unlikely to experience significant changes between peak and low use, then private cloud can be very cost competitive. You can select hardware and technologies that fit your requirements without buying features or capabilities that aren’t necessary. However, because private cloud is limited to a single organization, you’ll typically still pay for any capacity that goes unused.
Public cloud provides the ability to only pay for what you use. Companies can quickly scale up their resource requirements to accommodate business, seasonal, or other cyclic activity. When those periods of high use subside, you can scale down to minimize your expenditures. Because features and capacity are easy to add, you could find you’re paying for extra perks without getting value out of them.
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