The cloud computing model has been a great success for both companies and consumers. It has enabled businesses to have more flexibility in their operations and allowed individuals to store their data in the cloud. But what exactly is a cloud? And what’s the difference between public, private and hybrid clouds?
Public, private and hybrid clouds: the chief characteristics
Cloud computing is an excellent way of storing data and optimising operations. The cloud model has been successful for many reasons, but one of the main ones is that it offers greater flexibility without foregoing control over the data.
However, there are three types of clouds: public, private and hybrid.
These are usually accessible to the general public, as the aim is to share data or provide access to services such as web applications and email clients. Generally speaking, we will choose a public cloud when we want the user to be able to upload or download information from the server at will.
Public cloud services store our data in a location that isn’t ours but rather the provider’s, and it’s shared among other clients who also use the service. However, this model brings significant benefits:
- Lower costs: there’s no need to invest in hardware or software, as instead we pay for the service we use. This is because public storage clouds generally charge a pay-per-use fee,
- releasing us from large up-front investments.
- We can forget about maintenance: this activity is carried out by the provider.
- Scalability: as our business grows, we can access more advanced resources to accompany the new needs of the company and our customers.
These aren’t normally accessible to the general public, as they require a degree of authentication (such as a password to log in). They include sites for sharing files with specific people such as Box.
Within the context of organisations, we choose a private cloud when we want a secure digital environment for hosting our data where the information is easily accessible to our team, suppliers and customers.
A private cloud can be located at our company’s data centre, if there is one, or in the safekeeping of an external provider. In this regard, it operates in a similar way to the public cloud, with the difference that the hardware and software will be exclusively dedicated to our company.
Given the above, there are a number of benefits to be gained from these storage clouds:
- Greater control and privacy: as the resources are kept in an environment dedicated solely to our organisation, the perception of security and privacy is greater. Therefore, we may feel more confident about choosing private clouds to host the company’s back-ups.
- The conditions are more flexible: we’re free to customise the environment in accordance with our company’s needs.
A hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds in an effort to offer the best of both worlds.
For example, we can make use of the public infrastructure and, at the same time, retain a degree of privacy by using a virtual machine in a private environment. The advantage is that this type of service brings together the benefits of both models without directly suffering from their drawbacks and limitations.
So which cloud is the right one for my business?
The answer to this question depends on our needs and budget. Public clouds can be a great option for companies with relatively low IT requirements. The hybrid or private cloud is a good alternative for companies that need to host confidential data or sensitive information and have a larger budget.
It’s important to understand that there’s no standard solution for all companies, as organisations must take into account the processing power they require and their storage capacity, among other factors that will allow them to continue operating efficiently in the cloud. In fact, the concept entails moving to the cloud to overcome many of the limitations presented by local DPCs (data processing centres), including the huge investments in terms of time and money.