Forward-thinking companies understand that moving to the cloud is a no-brainer. Especially when you consider all the ways it increases collaboration and productivity. Cloud computing has become a crucial part of any organisation’s technology strategy. It can reduce costs, increase productivity and flexibility, and make businesses more agile.  Cloud computing in Australia is expected to reach $14.1 billion in 2025, as enterprises leverage cloud services for digital transformation.

Although making a business case for the cloud is easy, deciding between a public or private cloud is more complicated. Both have benefits and drawbacks, so businesses must understand their differences before deciding.

What is a Public cloud?

The public cloud is a service where computing resources like processing power and storage space are accessed over the internet. Some common examples of public cloud services include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Office 365.

With public clouds, you pay a fixed monthly fee for the needed resources while your provider manages and maintains your software applications and data. This eliminates the need to purchase and manage your in-house servers and provides the added benefit of highly-secure backup servers to ensure maximum uptime.

Moreover, with public cloud services, businesses can access enterprise-grade computing power, storage, databases, and software over the internet for a flat monthly fee. This type of cloud deployment provides many distinct advantages for businesses, such as the following:

  • Low upfront costs – Public cloud services are considerably more cost-effective than traditional on-premises servers because you pay only for the resources you use. You don’t need to purchase, maintain, or upgrade the underlying hardware required to host your services — these costs are shouldered by the cloud provider. This allows your company to reduce capital expenditures while gaining access to top-tier technology. The only cost for your business is the monthly subscription fee, typically a fraction of what you would spend on an on-premises solution.
  • High scalability – Due to the nature of public clouds, you can easily add or reduce the resources and features by contacting their service provider. This makes it easy for businesses to quickly scale up or down their services as needed without costly hardware upgrades.
  • Enterprise security – Public cloud vendors have invested heavily in security protocols, ensuring their customers’ data is safe and sound. These measures include multifactor authentication, role-based access restrictions, encryption, anti-malware tools, routine data backups, and advanced threat prevention systems.
  • Increased availability – Cloud services are hosted on multiple servers across different geographic locations, making them more resilient to outages and ensuring high uptime.

Yet, despite all these advantages, public cloud services do have their drawbacks. For starters, public cloud servers are shared with multiple users (or tenants), which means your data could co-mingle with other companies. If your provider’s servers have subpar data access controls, unauthorised tenants may also be able to access your data. Plus, data compliance can be an issue since the public cloud provider may be unaware of any local regulations or industry-specific requirements about your business. For all you know, your provider could store your information in offshore data centres that don’t have the same privacy laws as your home country.

What is a Private cloud?

The private cloud is an IT infrastructure dedicated to a single company in which businesses have their dedicated server resources hosted on-site or off-site. It can be off-site or on-premises, with the company ultimately responsible for managing and maintaining the hardware, software, and data, not the cloud provider.

This means you’ll need to hire an IT expert to manage your servers, but it’s the better option if you have high security and performance requirements. With a dedicated cloud-hosted or on-premises server, you can:

  • install cutting-edge firewalls,
  • encryption systems, and
  • data backup solutions

Unlike the public cloud, your data and computing resources aren’t sharing the same physical infrastructure as anyone else’s. This comes with several advantages, such as:

  • Full control over the cloud environment – As the private cloud is hosted on dedicated hardware, you have complete control over its environment, resources, and access. You can configure the resources according to your business needs, determine what software will be used, and define the security protocols for your cloud environment.
  • Greater data privacy – Since only your business can access the private cloud infrastructure, data privacy is much higher than that of a public cloud. With strict access control policies in place, you can be sure that unauthorised users won’t be able to access the data in any way. Plus, you can determine where your data is stored and what security protocols are used to protect it.
  • Improved compliance – Private clouds are much better for businesses that abide by certain regulations and industry standards. By having complete control over the cloud environment, you can ensure that your data fully comply with local laws or complex industry standards.

Like the public cloud, the private cloud also has its downsides. While it offers greater security and control, private cloud servers can be more expensive to set up and maintain. You’ll have to invest in hardware, software, and personnel to manage the cloud environment. In addition, you’ll be responsible for keeping up with any hardware upgrades, software updates, and security patches to ensure the cloud environment is always performing optimally. Over time, private clouds can provide greater savings and efficiency, but the large upfront investment may be too much for many businesses.

How do you choose?

The best cloud for your business depends on your needs. Generally, public clouds are ideal for small and medium-sized businesses because they’re available for a relatively low fee. Public clouds might also be better when you have volatile computing demands. For example, if you hire more people during the busy seasons, public clouds allow you to add more accounts and scale up resources on short notice.

Private clouds are primarily designed for organisations that must adhere to strict data security policies, like healthcare and financial services firms. So, if you have highly confidential data and want reliable performance, the private cloud gives you more control over those two areas. It’s important to know how many people you’ll have on staff or how much storage space you’ll need over a long period. As there’s no point signing up for a public cloud service, because you can build your private cloud servers to have all the resources you’ll need.

However, it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. Companies can opt for a hybrid setup, allowing them to take advantage of public cloud scalable and private cloud control. No matter which cloud deployment model you choose, make sure to do your research and find a provider that meets your company’s needs.

At Empower IT Solutions, you can have the best of both worlds. We offer public cloud services like Office 365, and private cloud solutions hosted in our secure data centre. This way, you can store confidential records in the private cloud and take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of public clouds. We also provide cloud migration and 24/7 maintenance services to guarantee the highest performance and security level possible. Contact us today to find the perfect cloud for your business.

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