The “cloud” is a buzzword that now gets tossed around by techies and grandparents alike. My personal understanding of the possibilities of cloud computing has evolved from some amorphous, computer equivalent of Hermoine’s handbag to actually using it every day to store and share documents, run applications, sign contracts, and much more.
In case you need a quick explanation: cloud-based solutions offer access to software whenever and wherever there is an internet connection, whether that be on a phone, tablet, desktop, etc.
Armed with a basic understanding of the cloud, it is important to then distinguish among the different types of cloud models and which one can best serve you and/or your business.
There are four main types of cloud models: public, private, hybrid, and community. The central differentiator between the four models comes down to the level of data security and the cost in maintaining that security. In a virtualized world where data breaches are all over the news (remember when 110 million people were affected by a data breach of Target?), security is of the utmost importance.
The fact is that all computing—cloud or otherwise—comes with security threats, so the conversation really lies in which type of cloud model offers the most cost-efficient data security for a user’s needs. To help you navigate the choices, we’re presenting a series of articles in which we’ll outline the four types of cloud models and compare the benefits and risks of each concerning data security. Businesses have a right to be worried about how secure their data will be when using one of these services. However, cloud security solutions have been created to put all cloud user’s minds at ease. This will help to make businesses start to see the benefits of cloud technology as they no longer have to worry about the security of their data. You can find an example of one of these services if you head to the final step.
In the first installment of this series, we’ll take a look at public and private cloud models.
The public cloud model allows users to utilize software that is hosted and managed by a third party and accessed through the internet, such as Google Drive. By allowing a third party to host and manage various aspects of computing, businesses are able to scale faster and save money on setup and management.
Additionally, software utilizing the public cloud model can be accessed by the general public, since there is no need for in-house data centers. This is a significant shift from the previous norm of on-site data centers that must be built and managed by individual businesses and software installation required for each individual piece of hardware.
Pros of Public Cloud:
Hosted and managed by a third-party, which saves money on in-house data centers and labor
Can be accessed by the general public
Allows for quicker and more efficient scaling
Possibility to meet security requirements through vendor negotiation
Cons of Public Cloud:
By outsourcing the hosting and management of their data, users are in essence outsourcing security as well
Default security standards may not align perfectly with the needs of the customer
If a third party host experiences a service outage, all subscribers would be unable to access their content
Verdict: The public cloud model is perfect for users and businesses looking to access data anytime, anywhere without fronting the bandwidth and cash to host and manage the cloud infrastructure. However, for sensitive information the public cloud may leave users too exposed. Typically, single users and small to medium-sized businesses benefit the most from a public cloud infrastructure.
Private cloud infrastructure can be hosted in on-site data centers or by a third-party, but is managed by and accessible to the company alone. Companies are able to tailor private cloud infrastructure to meet the unique needs of the companies, specifically security and privacy needs. As opposed to the public cloud model, private clouds are not meant to be sold “as-a-service,” but is instead built and managed by each individual company, similar to a local or shared drive.
The computational benefits gained from cloud management services (software deployment, management, API capabilities, etc) combined with the ability to meet specific standards of security make private cloud infrastructures alluring for internal use.
Pros of Private Cloud:
Access is limited to employees and/or authorized third parties, ensuring tighter data security
Managed by individual companies allowing for customized data security measures
Computing benefits of public cloud, with more data security
Cons of Private Cloud:
Increased costs due to equipment, software, and staff to manage the infrastructure
It takes more time when initially adopting a private cloud infrastructure to configure and operationalize its management
Verdict: The private cloud model offers a level of data security that the public and hybrid models cannot, but it comes with a higher price tag. The general public and small businesses may not be able to afford the costs of a private cloud infrastructure and may in turn be willing to face the potential security risks of public cloud options.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, where we’ll discuss hybrid and community cloud options.
If you or your business is interested in a comprehensive cloud-based document productivity solution, then check out Nitro Pro+.