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Public Vs. Private Vs. Hybrid Cloud: What Are the Key Differences?

January 30, 2023 No Comments

By Susan Melony

As technology has advanced, the days of storing documents in overcrowded filing cabinets has come to an end. Modern data storage is as easy as uploading files to a shared drive and off of your physical computer. Users can now login virtually to their work network and access files from anywhere in the world.

Technology like the cloud enables increased productivity, speed, and organization. However, there are numerous variations of the cloud offering different features geared towards different users. Let’s dive deeper into this technology and some of the key differences between the types. 

What is The Cloud?

The cloud is a difficult technology to picture solely because you don’t see it in front of you every second of the day. However, if you traveled to the right location you could actually see the cloud in person if you wanted. All this technology refers to is a collection of servers that are accessed over the Internet, on which applications and software can run. 

With over 200 zettabytes of data predicted to be stored on the cloud by 2025, learning how to integrate this technology into your business can offer numerous benefits. However, cloud storage comes in three main forms: public, private, and hybrid. Making a decision on which type is right for your organization can make or break your cloud experience. 

The Public Cloud

Firstly, the public cloud allows for connection to a cloud server that is managed by a provider who lets multiple companies access the server. In most cases, this version of the cloud is accessible from nearly any device including smartphones, computers, and more. Some common features of the public cloud include:

Little to no maintenance costs

High level of scalability

Multiple pricing options

Low level of complexity

The Private Cloud

On the other hand, the private cloud model mirrors the public cloud except for the fact that it is not accessible by multiple organizations. A private cloud setup uses either an on-premise cloud server or a hired cloud provider who creates a dedicated cloud server for only your organization. This allows a company to launch virtual servers on a single, private physical server. Features of the private cloud include:

Dedicated and secure server

High level of scalability

Compliant with company regulations

The Hybrid Cloud

Finally, hybrid cloud connectivity is something of a blend between a private and public cloud. This model allows an organization to choose which data is stored on a private cloud and which is stored on a public cloud. For example, sensitive employee information is better suited for a private cloud due to the increased security, whereas less important information such as emails may be stored on a public cloud. The additional features of this cloud type include:

Policy driven data storage

Improved security 

High level of reliability 

How Cloud Storage Works

Understanding the different types of cloud servers doesn’t make understanding how the cloud actually works any easier. Before the cloud, data would be stored on the harddrive of a computer or some type of removable storage device such as a USB. 

However, with cloud servers, a user uploads data via an Internet connection where it is stored on virtual servers. These servers are all connected to a single physical server, either on-site or off-site. Data from multiple users in your organization can be stored on the virtual servers, but you can only access data associated with your own account.

Given that this data is stored virtually, it can be accessed from anywhere without needing to carry around a USB or needing to access a specific computer. Public clouds often have storage limits. For example, a smartphone user may only have access to a specific number of gigabytes, which allows them access to exactly that amount on the public cloud. By paying an additional fee for more storage, a person just gains access to more of the server. 

With an estimated 18.22 billion smartphones expected to be in use by 2025, cloud storage is going to evolve and grow in order to accommodate this. Each cloud type will have to improve as more and more data begins to be stored. 

How to Choose Which Cloud to Use

Determining which cloud type is right for your organization can help streamline business processes. Here are some preliminary questions to ask before evaluating the different cloud servers:

1. What type of data are you planning to store? 

2. What is the level of sensitivity with the data you are storing?

3. What level of complexity do you have the capability to use? 

4. What are your budgetary constraints? 

The above questions can help you guide your search and narrow down which of the three cloud types might be right for you. Additionally, here are the primary uses of each cloud which can help you categorize where your organization may fall.

Use a public cloud if your organization:

Has a tight budget and cannot afford a private cloud server

Does not have a large amount of sensitive data

Can have a surge of business that requires quick scalability of data

Use a private cloud if your organization

Has a large amount of sensitive data

Desires the maximum security possible for cloud servers

Requires a high level of customization with the cloud features

Has a large need for data control

Use a hybrid cloud if your organization: 

Has a large variety in the sensitivity of data

Seeks to cut costs on setting up a private cloud server

Is large enough where it requires access to multiple cloud servers

If your organization’s concern primarily revolves around cost, keep in mind that 70% of companies using cloud plans currently plan on increasing their budget in the coming years. When it comes to protecting your data, opting for a pricier cloud package that offers additional features may be worth the cost. 

Modernize your organization today

Regardless of whether your organization chooses to use a public, private, or hybrid cloud, moving data to the digital world is the only way to stay competitive. Secure your data on cloud servers in order to increase performance, speed, and scalability of data storage. 

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