Cloud computing, and the cloud SaaS platform has matured enough to the point where most businesses can see the appeal and potential – as most owners and employees alike have probably used consumer cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive in their personal life.
However, when a business is deciding to deploy to the cloud, there is a choice that often comes up: whether to choose a public or private cloud service. Each option has benefits and drawbacks and it’s important to understand these before you commit.
Related Blog: Cloud Computing: Explained
Public Cloud Benefits
With a public cloud service, businesses aren’t responsible for any of the management of the hosting solution – your provider manages and maintains the data centres that support your files and cloud applications. These services have been around for a fairly long time now, and have some appealing benefits, chief among them being easy scalability.
What does this mean in practice? It means it’s easy for your business to keep software and hardware use efficient. For example, with a cloud-based CRM suite, you can quickly update the number of salespeople who have access to the software, eliminating the need to be locked into large inflexible software licenses that may have you paying for employees you don’t have or access that isn’t needed. It also makes it easy to add or reduce hardware capacity as needed without directly investing in costly equipment purchases.
Public Cloud Drawbacks
With access and control to the cloud being in the hands of a third party, some organizations lack confidence in the security measures being employed, dislike the idea of sharing server space with other organizations, and feel they are giving up too much control. For example, the physical locations of the cloud servers will likely be categorized by broad geographical regions rather than a specific city.
Private Cloud Benefits
A private cloud, as you might guess, is hosted internally on a company’s intranet or data center, behind a firewall. Organizations that already have investments in capable data centers may choose the private cloud route since they already own the necessary infrastructure and IT staff. In other cases, they are leased from a co-location or managed hosting provider.
But regardless of the specifics, private clouds give you almost total control over what happens on your server. And Because private clouds are dedicated to one organization, they are often seen as being a more secure option. Businesses who must meet strict compliance requirements, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI, and PIPEDA will find it easy to do so through a virtual or fully private cloud, since all the required hardware, data storage and network configurations are dedicated to one specific client.
Organizations with specific performance requirements have full control over the hardware used to support a private cloud, and will also have the option of pursuing hybrid deployments, which are not possible solely in a public cloud.
Private Cloud Drawbacks
As you might have guessed, this control and capability doesn’t come without significant costs. Organizations employing a private cloud are responsible for all the management, maintenance, and updating of data centres, which requires considerable IT resources and expertise – either you’ll need to outsource the management or dedicate internal staff.
You also lose out on the quick scalability offered by the public cloud, since your capability and capacity is determined by the level of hardware you have purchased and deployed – which will incur additional procurement costs as hardware added or upgraded.
So Which Cloud Makes Sense for my Business?
The Majority of public cloud use is for web servers and development systems where the compliance and security requirements of larger organizations is less of an issue. If you are a small business that isn’t subjected to much regulatory oversight, a public cloud is generally the most cost-effective and flexible solution.
However, if your industry has relatively stable server requirements, and demands a level of control and security that can only be acheived in-house, then a private cloud may be a necessary investment.
Setting your business up on the cloud is no longer a new concept. In fact, over 83% of businesses now operate one or all of their main functions in the cloud. At Keeran, our cloud management services include the complete integration of enterprise cloud services from infrastructure through to software and support.
If you're looking to make the move to cloud computing, we'd love help you out!