Which Type of Cloud is Best for Your Business: Part Two

This is the second post in our “cloud types” blog series, where we aim to describe the four most common options for modern cloud infrastructure.

Cloud

In the first installment of the series, I discussed the differences between public and private cloud infrastructures, and the various factors that should be considered when deciding which model to adopt in your organization. Check it out here, in case you missed it.

In this article, we‘ll look at the other two models of cloud computing: hybrid cloud and community cloud. Some of you may already use sharepoint and might require a sharepoint equivalent which might be a good idea but I digress. As with public and private cloud, the level of data security and the resources required to implement and maintain the infrastructure are the core differentiators. You may also want to read this post on what is fog computing? As that is another element in your storage infrastructure which may or may not influence your choice of cloud-based service.

Hybrid and community cloud setups aim to capitalize on some of the benefits of the public and private cloud models to offer a middle-ground solution. However, they are not without their own caveats with regard to security and cost-efficiency.

Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud model involves a composition of at least one public cloud and one private cloud. This connection allows each cloud infrastructure to remain its own entity, but is bound by standardized security measures that allow portability of applications and data. Having a network monitoring for Google cloud platform will increase security when using a hybrid cloud model.

For example, an organization may use Salesforce.com (public cloud) to house customer relationship management (CRM) data, but keeps financial and legal documents from customers on an internal drive (private cloud). The hybrid cloud would ideally allow an organization to take advantage of the scalability and cost-efficiency of the public cloud without exposing certain confidential data to vulnerabilities by also having a private cloud.

Pros of Hybrid Cloud

  • Offers control and security of private cloud, while maintaining scalability of public cloud
  • Reduces capital expenses as management and computing needs can be outsourced to public cloud providers
  • Supports all cycles of application lifecycle: ideation and testing in public cloud; production in private cloud

Cons of Hybrid Cloud

  • Larger surface area for data breaches due to opening up IT perimeter
  • While capital expenses are reduced from outsourcing to public cloud, there will still be a need for both managers of the private cloud and the relationship with the vendor (to make sure security standards are maintained)
  • Increased complexity of data flow between private and public clouds make system vulnerable to technical difficulties

The Verdict:
The hybrid cloud model is a great way to maximize on the scalability of the public cloud and the data security management of the private cloud. However, a strong security team needs to be in place so that the data flow between the two is secure, which could be seen as a barrier for organizations without such resources.

Community Cloud

The community cloud is similar to the private cloud in many ways, but is tailored to the needs of, and can be accessed by, two or more organizations. While the hybrid cloud model aims to connect public and private cloud infrastructures, the community cloud models opens up a private cloud infrastructure to be shared among companies that have similar security and usage needs. Additionally, a community cloud infrastructure is often managed by an impartial third-party that is under contract to maintain the security needs of all organizations that have access.

A good example of how community cloud infrastructure is utilized can be found within the healthcare vertical in terms of security compliance. A community cloud platform can be tailored to meet the confidentiality standards laid out in the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), while also allowing healthcare providers to optimize their computational needs.

Pros of Community Cloud

  • Costs of production, maintenance, and management are shared across all tenants
  • Management can be outsourced to a third-party to preclude preferential treatment
  • More security than public cloud, more scalability than private cloud, less vulnerabilities than hybrid cloud

Cons of Community Cloud

  • Costs are higher than public cloud with less overall scalability
  • Increased collaboration among tenants can produce professional conflicts as companies grow or decline
  • Fixed amount of bandwidth and data storage must be shared among multiple tenants

The Verdict:
The community cloud model is great for companies that work closely with other companies, such as those within the financial services or healthcare verticals, and can enhance a supply chain business model. However, with deeper collaboration among multiple organizations comes increased proclivity for conflict.

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