Getting into the Right Cloud: Comparing Public and Private Cloud Hosting Solutions

In the past year, around 80 percent of CIOs have reduced data or processing costs by moving all or part of their infrastructure to cloud-based servers (1). The cost and efficiency benefits of cloud hosting can’t be denied, and anyone in the technical industry has likely read dozens of articles touting cloud computing as the next big solution. It’s probably not a decision on whether you’ll move resources to the cloud, but what cloud hosting options you’ll select. Public, private, and hybrid solutions each offer different benefits and risks for every organization.

Private Cloud Hosting

According to data published by Business Insider, 80 percent of CIOs are using private cloud hosting for at least part of their infrastructure (2). There are many reasons to choose private cloud hosts, but private hosts are expensive and time consuming.

Benefits of Private Hosting

One of the benefits of private solutions to any organization is security. Though cloud security has grown at an exponential rate over the past few years, private solutions still afford the greatest possible security. In many cases, the cloud server is proprietary equipment for the organization and data is protected behind your own firewall. As long as your organization has an aware, educated, and effective cloud security process, data is extremely safe.

Other benefits of private cloud solutions include:

  • Reduced upgrade costs associated with the removal of expensive traditional hardware and server environments.
  • Redundancy of data can reduce downtime.
  • Reduction to on-site equipment, which saves money spent on renting and maintaining server space.
  • Ability to scale performance and function at your own pace.

Disadvantages of Private Cloud Solutions

Private solutions offer strong security and control benefits, but cost more than public solutions. Private cloud solutions require organizations to invest in software and infrastructure. You’ll also have to deal with the difficulties inherent in ownership, which involve making decisions about lease purchasing, keeping track of technical inventory for tax purposes, and amortizing costs over a period of years.

One way to reduce the disadvantages of private cloud hosting is to opt for a hybrid managed-cloud solution. Such a solution gives you the security benefits of dedicated resources, but minimizes the resources required to manage a private cloud.

Who Should Consider Private Cloud Solutions?

Private solutions may be a requirement for organizations that operate in heavily regulated fields, such as healthcare or finance. Conforming to strict data and privacy requirements like HIPAA or PCI DDS have become easier on the cloud, but many regulatory bodies still want to see private solutions utilized.

For organizations that provide applications or data as their main line of business, private cloud hosting protects valuable business assets. If your company is big enough to ensure next-generation solutions on an efficient and consistent basis, then private may be the way to go.

Public Cloud Hosting

According to State Tech Magazine, users are saving an average of 21 percent annually by moving applications to cloud environments(3). Some of the biggest savings come from organizations that are using public cloud hosts.

Benefits of Public Hosting

In addition to cost savings, public cloud solutions generally provide access to the newest technology before those with private solutions can afford to integrate recent innovations, though staying up-to-date obviously depends on the cloud provider.

Other benefits of public hosting include:

  • Pay-as-you-go methodology reduces the upfront costs associated with building an entire private data center.
  • It’s impossible to reach capacity in a public cloud environment.
  • Using public resources and vendors removes the data center management function from your organization entirely, freeing up technical resources to work on projects that drive business growth or revenue.
  • The best public cloud organizations tend to attract the best personnel when it comes to technology and security.

Disadvantages of Public Cloud Solutions

The biggest disadvantage of public solutions is an inherent lack of control that comes when you share resources on a large market. You aren’t the only organization receiving a service, and that service is unlikely to be curtailed to very detailed needs that are unique to your business. Coupled with the security concerns of a public environment, the risks make public solutions less attractive for highly regulated or unique organizations.

Who Should Consider Public Solutions?

Small companies who need access to efficient cloud applications, like email, but aren’t dealing with strict industry regulations, may find out-of-the-box public hosting to be an affordable alternative. Companies that collaborate regularly with vendors, have a large number of employees who need access to basic technology, or that have a need to scale at various service levels through the year, will find public cloud hosting solutions have something to offer.

Choosing between private and public solutions requires an understanding of your needs and knowledge of available technology. Many times, hybrid cloud hosting is the best solution. Speak to an expert in cloud technology to find out how to best meet your organization’s needs before moving forward with any implementation.

(1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/the-top-100-cloud-computi_b_3756172.html

(2) http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-its-not-easy-to-be-a-cio-2012-2

(3) http://www.statetechmagazine.com/article/2013/09/13-cloud-computing-stats-cios

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