Public or Private? Considerations in the Cloud

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock PhotosThe use of the cloud is pretty much unanimously agreed upon throughout the professional industry as being incredibly beneficial due to the improved utilization of resources, the instantaneous provisioning, the scalability, the ability to expand the server base in an instant and the lower operational costs when compared to on-site storage methods. However, one aspect of the cloud that has not been universally decided upon is whether or not the use of a private virtual server is superior to the use of a public virtual server.

When a company has to decide between a private cloud and a public cloud, it must look at a number of different factors. Both private and public clouds function using similar technologies, but there are a few distinct differences that a company will have to take into account when making its choice. First of all, the company will have to take a close look at the specific applications as well as processes that they would want to transition to an infrastructure based on the cloud. Additionally, the company will have to factor in security, compliance, cost, and scalability.

The private cloud tends to have an advantage over public cloud space due to security. Companies that need the highest possible security may want to choose to use a private cloud. This is because a private cloud can restrict access both internally and externally, and it can also implement a number of firewall technologies to help protect against outside threats. This doesn’t mean that public clouds can’t be safe. A public cloud can be just as safe as a private cloud now that there are new ways to implement security measures. However, companies considering public cloud space should be sure to research the history and profile of the cloud service provider to determine whether proper security measures have been taken. These security measures should include intrusion detection and prevention systems. Higher quality public cloud servers will also offer application-consistent backup in the event of a data loss.

Compliance requirements
There are a number of protocols that certain companies, such as those based in the financial, government or health industries, must follow when transitioning to a cloud. Not every public cloud provider can provide full compliance with protocols under the HIPAA, PCI, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Because private clouds are dedicated to a single company, compliance to these protocols isn’t as big of an issue.

Smaller companies may want to choose a public cloud provider over a private cloud provider due to the fact that a pubic cloud is more affordable. There are no ongoing maintenance or management costs for a public cloud due to the fact that the service provider is responsible for all of the maintenance and management of the infrastructure. There are more costs associated with private clouds, including the initial cost of the hardware.

Public cloud hosts provide companies with an infinitely scalable platform. They usually provide a pay-as-you-go scalability, allowing companies to scale up or down. Scaling in a private cloud space will usually require investing in additional hardware in addition to having to deal with a longer timeline when compared with a public cloud that is scalable.

These are some of the main factors that companies will have to think about when choosing between a private and a public cloud space. Both have their advantages and their disadvantages. Choosing one over the other depends heavily on the specific needs of each individual company.

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