if you follow this blog then you already know: the emergence of the cloud has already begun to revolutionize the way businesses manage their operations and data. From hosted desktops to cloud backups, the additional security, remote access, and a number of other benefits have become increasingly accessible for enterprise-level and small businesses alike.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as having 5 unique characteristics: on demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. Businesses who move to the cloud can tap into each of them, improving efficiency in any aspects related to technological processes and tasks.
If you are just beginning to explore these benefits, however, it’s vital to get the details right. Reforming your digital operations is not as simple as moving to the cloud. Instead, a number of variables will influence what that process looks like for your unique situation.
One of the first decision you will have to make is simple: will a hosted private cloud make more sense for you, or should you go with a managed public cloud? This post will explore each option in more detail to help you make the most beneficial decision for your business situation and needs.
What is a Hosted Private Cloud?
As its name suggests, a private cloud environment is one created specifically for your business. You will sometimes see this option referred to as single tenant, which means that your data and processes are hosted in their own, dedicated virtual space.
This type of dedicated environment, in turn, comes with sometimes significant advantages. To start, it can be customized almost entirely to your company’s needs. From dedicated space to backups, you can dictate exactly how your cloud is structured to maximize the efficiency of business processes.
Another crucial benefit of this type of cloud environment is added security. Because your virtual environment is the only tenant of the host, you will not be affected by breaches or other dangers that are targeted at other co-tenants. As a result, your data remains safe, especially as firewalls and other protection mechanisms are customized specifically for you.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that a hosted private cloud is not without its flaws. To start, especially initial set up costs are high. The environment has to be created and customized from scratch, requiring significant resources that not every business has available.
The additional security benefits mentioned above also come with some drawbacks. Remote access to data and virtual environments, a major benefit of cloud migration as mentioned above, might be more difficult due to additional steps necessary to access that data.
Finally, hardware limitations in the initial set up could lead to a capacity ceiling. As your company and its data needs grow, storage capacity could become limited. Scaling your virtual environment, in other words, might require significant additional investment, further driving up set up and maintenance costs.
Understanding Managed Public Clouds
The second major type of environment available for businesses looking to switch to virtual digital operations is a managed public cloud. As its name suggests, this type of environment has two major components:
- Public, which means that data will be stored on a co-tenant basis, where a single host is shared by multiple businesses to more effectively streamlined resources.
- Managed, meaning that businesses are not left on their own when building and maintaining their environments. Instead, dedicated experts help to guide the building of the environment, database management, and more.
Given these two variables, the benefits of a managed public cloud become evident. Because the cloud infrastructure is managed externally, even businesses with limited IT capabilities or limited experience in this type of endeavor can easily make the switch to go virtual.
In addition, especially compared to a private cloud environment, sharing resources means sometimes significant cost savings, especially in the short term. The environment does not have to be set up from scratch, which in turn means that it can be implemented more quickly and without as many costs.
Finally, it’s important to consider the scalability that comes with a managed public cloud. Expanding services or storage space is much easier when it occurs in a public environment that did not come with significant set up limitations. In fact, a public cloud environment like Azure or AWS leads to almost unlimited possibilities of scale for businesses across industries.
Of course, the advantages of a managed public cloud can only be fully realized when they are managed correctly. It might seem obvious, but the success and failure of this type of environment often hinges on the professionals you partner with in order to ensure successful implementation and maintenance.
That said, the disadvantages of a managed public cloud environment are important to consider, as well. Ownership by a third-party provider means giving up at least some control over how the environment can be built, or is managed. That provider cannot make decisions with your business only in mind, instead having to consider all of its clients and limiting customizability.
In addition, while security is not necessarily a concern in either scenario, it does become more of a consideration in public environments than their private counterpart. Data breaches, even when not directed at you, can still affect your business if the affected entity is a co-tenant. Access is easier regardless of locations, which makes it beneficial for remote parts of your business but also easier to breach.
Private vs. Public Cloud: Which Option Fits Your Needs?
Given the two very different alternatives when it comes to moving your business to the cloud, one thing is evident: there is no single best approach to this complex question. Whether hosted private cloud or managed public cloud works best for you depends entirely on your individual situation and business needs.
Generally speaking, businesses with limited resources or IT capabilities orient themselves toward a public option. The reduced set up costs, along with the managed aspects of this environment, lend themselves ideally to businesses only exploring the capabilities that a virtual environment can offer.
On the other hand, larger enterprise-level organizations may find the benefits of a hosted private cloud more appealing. Here, scalability is no longer quite as vital, while the resources (both financial and in terms of expertise) exist to take full advantage of the benefits that a private, single-tenant environment can offer.
Even within these general distinctions, of course, situations can differ. Even enterprise clients can benefit from some of the advantages that Azure and other public cloud options can provide. We’ve covered in this space how features and solutions like Office 3665, Site Recovery, and backup solutions benefit any organization who looks to implement a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. In day-to-day operations, these benefits are just as vital.
In other words, a more in-depth discussion of your business needs and cloud expectations may be necessary. That, in turn, calls for a consultation with IT experts that have extensive experience in both environments. When you are ready for that consultation, contact us. Our experience and expertise will be uniquely suited to provide you with the advice you need to not just move to the cloud, but find the right solution for your individual business needs.