Public vs. Private Cloud: Mitigating Risk

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned CIO or someone who has been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard all the hype about cloud computing.  Most people recognize the benefits of the cloud and are already in the process of figuring out how it best applies to their business. 

Of course, deciding whether the cloud is right for you can be a complicated process.  When you start doing research, terms like “public” cloud, “private” cloud and “hybrid” cloud appear.  

“Great,” you think to yourself.  “Now I have to learn what those are, too.”

Without using big words and too much tech jargon, we’ll explain the difference between the types of clouds:

Public Cloud – A shared IT infrastructure where companies can store and manage data and computer programs.  You share server resources with other businesses in a safe and secure location. Each company’s data and applications are separate, so no one can see or access other people’s information.  You “rent” the amount of space you need, as you need it.  All backups, upgrades and maintenance are included in the rental agreement.

The public cloud comes with some risks in the areas of security, uptime and performance.  There is less direct control over who has access to what, because you’re not the only tenant storing data at that location.  If you share a network with others, bandwidth can slow down as the number of users increases.  Despite the risks, this is still a viable, low-cost option for applications that don’t require a high level of security compliance. 

Private Cloud – An IT infrastructure that stores and manages data and computer programs for a single business.  This is referred to as a “dedicated” environment, meaning no aspect of it is shared with any other organization. 

The private cloud offers increased control and flexibility over access and security, and it can accommodate more customization than the public cloud.  The risks associated with the private cloud are no different than the current risks most companies have today. Ask yourself what is a greater security threat:  the possibility of downtime, or the high level of access that your IT staff currently has to confidential company data?   With the right partner, the risks of the cloud can be mitigated and backed by an SLA (Service Level Agreement), giving you the freedom to focus on your core business instead of worrying about security breaches.   

Hybrid – A cloud is referred to as “hybrid” if any part of it is shared.  For example, you could store and manage your data and computer programs in a private cloud, but share a public network with other companies.    

At OmniVue, we find the private cloud space tends to be a better fit for most of our clients.  We offer a truly private network and dedicated cloud infrastructure, and believe this helps companies gain focus while mitigating risk.  Increased flexibility and control, along with trustworthy security management and reduced costs are some impactful benefits of the private cloud.

The risks associated with the cloud are likely better than the risks that most organizations currently have.  Knowing the difference between cloud types is just the beginning, and making a decision about which option is best for your particular situation involves much more research and analysis. Both these are viable options and a trusted advisor like OmniVue can help evaluate your business needs and create a plan to transition into the cloud.

Author Shawn Taylor