Public vs. private cloud: essential differences

Cloud ComputingWhen a small business decides to streamline operations and save money by moving resources or transactions into the cloud, one of the very first issues that must be faced is which type of cloud will best suit the company’s needs.  Two principal types of cloud IT solutions exist: public and private.

Understanding public clouds

A public cloud is available to any internet-connected computer.  Many business owners and managers may already be using public clouds without realizing it, in their personal if not their business lives.  Popular webmail services such as Gmail, for example, operate on public clouds.  Gmail, of course, is free; other public clouds operate on a fee-for-service basis.

Public clouds have some advantages.  All software needed for operations to be performed is installed, maintained, and upgraded by the cloud provider, which means that businesses can be freed from the hassle of needing to manage their own IT operations.  On the other hand, management by the cloud provider means that all decisions, including those related to cloud security, are removed from the control of a small business.  This can be problematic if the business does not like the way cloud computing security is being provided or managed.

Understanding private clouds

A private cloud allows a small business to realize the benefits of cloud computing without needing to worry about security or flexibility being compromised.  A private cloud is a cloud computing system that is accessible only to the business wanting to make use of it.  This places it under the complete control of the originating company.  If new software features are desired, they can be provided as soon as the programming for them can be implemented and installed.  This is not an option with public clouds, which have little reason to alter operations on the request of a single small business user out of their hundreds or thousands of users.

Because a private cloud is under the control of the business establishing it, cloud-computing security can be as robust as the company desires.  If a business, for example, wishes to use a dual authentication procedure to protect proprietary data, this can be arranged.  If a business is not satisfied with 40-bit encryption and wishes 128-bit encryption to be implemented instead, they need only work with the IT company handling their private cloud operations to make it happen.

Download the free eBook

To help you get started on your Cloud Computing strategy, we recommend downloading the free eBook, “Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth” from Dell.

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