The Cloud isn’t black or white. There are as many options to go for to design the system that is right for you as there are businesses in the country.
Having so much to choose from can leave you in a spin. You have to decide what works for you and your business, what is the right way to move your data and processes and how it can help you cut costs and make your business more flexible. The most common options are Public and Private Clouds.
So what’s the difference?
The Private Cloud is when it is generally controlled and entirely managed and hosted by a third party organisation, like a service provider or a private data centre. There are many execs that opt for a Private Cloud for their first few tentative steps. They like it because there are reduced risks, there is more of an opportunity to control operations such as security. You can oversee your Cloud easier. However, it is the more expensive option as well as being much less bespoke and flexible.
The Public Cloud allows you to invest in the infrastructure of the cloud, rather than just the technology. It’s more like a pay as you go service where you just buy the bits you need. It’s also ideal for Hosted Exchange resellers. You’re sharing the infrastructure you’re investing in with others but you get a much more scalable option.
Inevitably, it depends on what you’re looking for in the Cloud and what you really need from it but if you have to say which is best it can be hard to ignore the Public Cloud. The Private Cloud is very much for those who want to dip their toe into the water but, if we’re frank, you don’t get the real benefits. Think about why most businesses want to try the Cloud; it’s because they want a cheaper IT solution that is better suited to their needs and wants. They don’t want to pay for services they don’t need, they don’t want an off-the-rack service. They might be technically savvy or this might be their first taster but they want the Cloud to work for them. The Public Cloud allows them to reap the benefits faster, allows them to change and mould their services to suit their business and it helps them benefit from reduced costs.
In the Public Cloud you are also sharing space with other businesses so it improves the opportunity for collaboration. Sharing ideas, experience and expertise is increasingly becoming a more popular way to work. It helps business to be more flexible, helps them to grow while still servicing their clients.
The one thing many executives will say back is security. Over half of the people who sign up for the Cloud say security, and keeping their data safe, is their biggest concern. They will argue that the Private Cloud is just plain safer than the Public option. Yet, a Cloud is only as secure as it’s provider. An experienced service provider will understand the importance of security. There have been enough big, headline-grabbing data breaches over the past twelve months so if any provider hasn’t tightened their security systems then they’re not worth using. Virtual and physical security as well as virus scans, protecting you from spam are vital. This is just as important in the Public as well as the Private Cloud. Many providers will offer the same kind of security to all of their customer, no matter where their data is stored.
As 2012, the year of the Cloud starts to ebb away thought is moving to the key trends for 2013. Many believe the Public Cloud infrastructure is the king approach and is what is going to be more popular. Business wants to be able to shape the Cloud, to manipulate and manoeuvre it to suit their business. While the Private Cloud may once have been the default option for those concerned about security, many service providers have focused on making data safe and protected, meaning the Public Cloud is edging ahead. Its flexibility and bespoke offers make it more attractive to businesses as they look for an opportunity to grow without expensive IT bills.