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What is the cloud and what are the differences between public and private cloud for business

June 29, 2020 / CATERINA BASSANO

What exactly is the cloud? If you have ever felt slightly frustrated because you consider yourself a tech savvy individual but can’t quite figure out what the cloud is – you’re not alone. The truth is, there is much unnecessary confusion around the concept; most people don’t fully understand the definition of cloud computing, and what exactly the cloud entails. But fear not, we can explain what it means and more importantly, what the benefits are and why it’s important for businesses.

In a few words, the cloud refers to all services that vendors offer to companies and consumers over the internet. Is this concept too broad? Well, cloud computing is incredibly broad. Think about online storage for your music, files stored in an online network, a company’s own business software that works online, web hosting, large transfer files… All of that is and happens thanks to cloud computing.

As a collection of purpose-built servers that are meant to perform one or multiple services ranging from storage, computing, database, web and email, and more – cloud computing presents a number of key benefits for any type of company, small or large.

Now more than ever, businesses are considering cloud-based solutions for their data requirements. A huge benefit of cloud-based hosting for companies is the cost-efficiency associated with outsourcing data operations, as the cloud helps to optimise energy costs and scalability. But there’s much more.

Apart from cost savings and scalability, businesses using the cloud can benefit from increased security and flexibility, as they can rent IT applications and services as required, instead of having to buy hardware and software assets outright.

Another advantage is the universality of access to IT resources, which is enabled for any authorised users on authorised devices using an Internet connection.

Public Cloud Vs Private Cloud – Which Cloud is right for your business?

When looking at cloud computing alternatives, the first question is usually whether your company should opt for public cloud, private cloud, or even a hybrid service. We at Euro Systems have the expertise and solutions in hand to provide specialist advice and help you to implement the right alternative – but first, we will help you to understand the differences and benefits of these solutions before moving your business to the cloud.

What is the difference between public and private cloud?

The main difference between public and private cloud lies in the responsibility for data management and security; besides the distinction of who uses the servers and how they use them.

In a public cloud, the servers are shared among unrelated users, a.k.a. tenants, which is why public clouds are also called multi-tenant environments. You may have heard of Azure, but there are other big names for public cloud solutions, and they are characterised for off-site clouds typically owned by a vendor who sells access to servers.

With a public cloud hosting solution, you are not responsible for managing the data, as it is stored in the provider’s data centre and the provider oversees managing and maintaining the data. Many servers provide services to many users – data is backed up regularly and customers pay for the resources they need and use. It is worth noting, however, that some cloud vendors expect users to hold responsibility for their own application level security.

In a private cloud, on the other hand, the servers are owned by one user or a group of related users – therefore also known as single tenant environment. Within a private cloud, your data is protected by a company’s intranet or hosted data centre, behind a firewall. The servers are typically on-site, although they could also be off-site. In the private cloud, the owner is responsible for the management and maintenance of the servers, as well as planning for future performance and service availability, based on the users’ requirements.

When it comes to security, many companies feel that it could be lacking with a public cloud. Security breaches of public clouds are rare, however, the private cloud generally offers an increased level of security, as the resources shared with other businesses are very few, or non-existent.

Which cloud is right for you?

The decision is yours – and it’s down to control. A big company can decide that, because of their special computing needs, their data is best kept in the realms of a private data centre, and indeed, many large companies choose a private cloud. But large businesses are increasingly using public cloud services, so it largely depends on a company’s budget and circumstances.

A public cloud usually appeals to businesses that don’t yet require a dedicated data centre and can remain flexible with regards to their data hosting requirements.

There are some companies within specific sectors that may be regulated for data hosting, so the decision on whether to host in public or private cloud may be subject to specific regulations. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that there are several specialised cloud solutions that count with appropriate levels of security and management as required by regulated sectors.

Hybrid Cloud: When a combination is the right answer

For many companies, the best solution is a hybrid cloud. In this type of cloud, multiple cloud vendors can be used for different tasks, and data centres and infrastructure is spread out in locations to decrease the risks of disaster or service loss.

Hybrid cloud is essentially a combination of on-site and off-site IT resources and different deployment types, public or private, which work with a level of integration. The hybrid cloud differs from multi-cloud in that the components work together in the hybrid cloud, while in the multi-cloud they work separately.

One of the key benefits for businesses using a hybrid cloud solution is the ability to quickly expand their storage capacity following any unexpected increases in demand, or during service outages.

Finding the best cloud solutions for your business

Any company can benefit from cheaper, faster, more reliable, and scalable IT resources and services provided by the cloud – it is a matter of finding the right cloud model for your business. A specialised IT service provider with expertise in the area can work closely with customers to understand their needs and provide strategic advice on the best solution to suit their budget and requirements.

Many customers go for a hybrid cloud to host their servers, as this solution can bring savings in cost. A private cloud can provide a suitable solution for companies that are looking to host applications in a scalable environment.

A migration to the cloud should not be taken lightly, as there can be complications along the way, but IT experts can take care of the challenge and assist you in implementing the most effective cloud computing solutions.

Whatever cloud you go with, whether public, private or a hybrid, your business will be able to see the benefits immediately. Make sure to work closely with your trusted IT partner to understand the different options available and select the most suitable solution for your specific budget, challenges and circumstances.