Over one-third of all Australian businesses are now using some form of cloud technology.
Industry experts predict that this trend will continue to climb, thanks to the general appeal of moving to the cloud, including its limitless scalability, adaptability and super-fast failure management.
Needless to say, cloud technology is certainly here to stay. But are there types of cloud technology that are potentially safer than others? Let’s explore this by taking a look at the pros and cons of each:
Public clouds are the most recognised and common way of employing cloud computing, as it caters to businesses of most sizes and budgets. There are two key reasons why it’s appropriately named ‘public’ cloud. Firstly, in a public cloud environment, all resources are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, like Microsoft, Google or Amazon. This has advantages like no maintenance required by you (as the provider takes care of this), and potentially lower costs (as all applications are already within the cloud, and you only pay for what you use). The second differentiator is that in public cloud environments, all hardware, storage, and network devices are shared with other organisations who are also utilising that providers public cloud. This has the advantage of high reliability as you know the provider has an extensive network of servers to protect its customers against failure, however, this is also cause for security concern as your data may be held on servers abroad, with entirely different privacy and security policies.
Let’s break down the pros and cons:
Public cloud pros:
- Flexibility and scalability thanks to on demand resources available to meet your business requirements.
- Lower costs as there’s no need to purchase hardware or software, and you pay only for the service you use.
- No maintenance as your service provider does this for you.
- High reliability as there’s a vast network of servers ensuring protection against failure.
Public cloud cons:
- Data safety concerns as data may be stored abroad with different privacy legislation.
- Security vulnerabilities, as by default, servers are visible internet-wide, which increases the risk of remote scanning for vulnerabilities.
- Unforeseen costs if you move large amounts of data in and out of your cloud environment.
- Possible performance issues if there is a spike in compute or network usage from other users sharing this cloud environment.
Private cloud on the other hand consists of equipment and resources used exclusively by one company, in an environment that can either be physically located on-site (in a data centre), or by a third party provider in their cloud environment. Regardless of which this is, the services and infrastructure in your private cloud are always maintained on a private network and the resources and software are dedicated solely to your company. Private cloud therefore has higher security potential, as your resources aren’t shared with others. Private clouds also make it easier for you to customise your resources to meet specific IT requirements.
Private cloud pros:
- Greater security and privacy as your connection, data storage and access is totally private.
- Greater control over your resources and its security, as you can build and configure your private cloud as you like.
- Higher performance as there’s limited contention risks of other companies to interfere with your company working.
Private cloud cons:
- Private cloud is costly when you compare it to public cloud.
- Higher prices come because the owner of the data is also responsible for purchasing, setting up and maintaining the entire network (however, if you’re partnered with an IT Provider, they do this for you).
Hybrid is often referred to as the best of both worlds. Hybrid cloud combines on-premises, private clouds and public clouds, so companies can reap the advantages of all three. When utilising hybrid solutions, your data and applications can move between on-premises, private and public clouds, for greater flexibility and a more customised approach to your needs. For example, if your budget doesn’t quite allow for 100% private cloud, you can use the public cloud for high-volume, lower-security needs such as web-based email, and then utilise private cloud for sensitive, business-critical operations like financial reporting and critical data storage.
Hybrid cloud pros:
- Greater control over how your company manages data and applications.
- Higher security for sensitive data and critical activities.
- Ease of migration as you can migrate one workload at a time, over time.
Hybrid cloud cons:
- Cost of private cloud resources is substantial when compared to standard public cloud.
- The public cloud component within your hybrid solution has the potential to come with unforeseen high usage bills.
- Compatibility can prove itself to be a an issue when building a hybrid cloud solution. With dual levels of infrastructure, there is a chance in some cases, they they’ll be running different stacks.
Each type of cloud solution has benefits, and there is certainly a place that each solution suits. Perhaps the best thing about these technologies, is that there is quite a lot of room for customisation to ensure they suit business requirements.
When talking about security in particular, there is a clear standout. While private cloud can be costly, it’s the recommended choice to those companies who could not afford security threats such as data breaches. It’s also important to note here that some people view private cloud as the more ‘complicated choice,’ if the selected company were to attempt to build and support the cloud environment themselves. Unless a company has an in-house IT resource, this would normally not be the case. You would instead entrust an IT Provider with this task for you, which means you can have the peace-of-mind that a team of experts is taking care of the infrastructure running your business applications and housing your critical data.
Every business is different; the applications they use, the procedures their company follows, the list goes on. One thing that most companies can agree upon is the importance of security – that’s why it’s essential to explore the technologies that enforce high standards of security and data safety. If you have any questions about what would suit your company, drop us a line below.