1 Private vs. Public Cloud Solutions Selecting the right cloud technology to fit your organization
2 Introduction As cloud storage evolves, different cloud solutions have emerged. Our first cloud whitepaper served as a high- level overview of solutions being utilized by companies, both large and small, to improve business processes, provide excellent customer service, and compete in larger markets. There are two widely used solutions today: the Public cloud and the Private cloud. Beyond these different solutions, there are also various cloud models available, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). For the purposes of this whitepaper, we will be most closely comparing private and public cloud solutions. When your organization chooses the appropriate cloud solution, it will experience increased security, availability, and cost- effectiveness. Selecting an appropriate cloud solution requires thorough research and careful analysis in order to realize these benefits. The whitepaper will read as follows: 1. We clearly define private and public clouds and provide their respective advantages. 2. We examine the similarities and differences between the two. 3. We detail security and data control options that are common with each solution. 4. We conclude with a careful set of questions to guide you toward select the right cloud solution for your organization. This whitepaper will outline the similarities and differences between the various cloud solutions and serve as a guide for choosing the right model. It can serve as a starting point to your careful research and analysis. We aim to provide you with information and steps for analysis, so you can use the cloud to your advantage.
3 What is a Private Cloud? A private cloud, often referred to as a corporate cloud, is designed for a specifically designated group of users. This type of cloud is ideal for businesses that require one or more of the following: Protecting confidential data Meeting strict security regulations, data privacy laws, or compliance standards Utilizing the highest security measures An example of a private cloud is a large corporation with authorized users in multiple locations, all accessing the same applications and data. Organizations that typically use private clouds include government entities and healthcare companies. Some advantages of a private cloud solution include: Secure control of company data Ability to easily create a custom server Scalability Data backup with a redundant plan Cost reduction
4 What is a Public Cloud? A public cloud is a shared infrastructure available to the general population. Public clouds are easily accessible portals that are designed for self- service. If a private cloud is a locked facility, requiring specific admissions to the entire facility, a public cloud is an unlocked building in which each user has their own locker containing their files and data. In the public cloud, users access the locker contents only when connected through the cloud. Billing for a public cloud is generally pay- per- usage, so customers are only charged for what they use. A public cloud offers a multi- tenant infrastructure of shared resources including network availability, storage, and IT services on an as- needed basis. Depending on the nature of the business, public clouds can be a very attractive alternative to purchasing and maintaining a high cost infrastructure. Companies using a public cloud solution include social media sites, marketplace websites, and various service providers. Some advantages of a public cloud solution include: Fast and inexpensive set- up Pay as you go fee structure Scalable to meet the needs of each company Location independent
5 Similarities and Differences: Private and Public Clouds When choosing a cloud application, it is important to fully comprehend how Public and Private clouds compare. Choosing the wrong technology can cause financial devastation for businesses of all sizes. Similarities Private and public cloud technologies share few similarities. Both fulfill the desire for simplicity within and across secure applications. Private and public clouds offer reliable, secure platforms and allow an organization to be time and location independent. Cloud solutions are cost effective, eliminating staffing, hardware, and software expenses. Private and public clouds offer levels of security and reliability, with varying specifics. Both private and public cloud technologies fulfill the idea to eliminate a physical location for system access. The cloud was designed to easily share information over the Internet, which makes data available to users 24 hours a day, seven days a week, barring any serious outages, network failures, or bandwidth limitations. Lastly, the financial model of cloud solutions is attractive, compared to traditional technology structures. Differences Despite some similarities, private and public clouds differ in many facets. These differences define which cloud might best serve an organization. Architecture Public Cloud Public clouds are virtualized and managed data centers that fall outside of a business firewall. These third party solutions offer the cloud to clients on demand via the Internet. Private Cloud Private clouds are virtualized data centers within the firewall of a business. These internal clouds are available only to a specific group of authorized users.
6 Cost Public Cloud Initial startup cost for a public cloud may prove more cost effective than a private cloud. Many public cloud providers offer customized solutions at a very granular level; allowing you to select only the services needed. Long term data storage cost should always be examined when comparing cloud technologies. Private Cloud Private clouds are essentially an onsite data center; no matter the size. Therefore, ownership could include a hefty budget to purchase and maintain the required hardware and other components to support the cloud. The cost of scalability to account for storage needs or company growth must also be considered. Performance Public Cloud When public cloud users are affected by reduced performance or a widespread outage; they are 100% reliant on the cloud service provider to correct the issue. Private Cloud Public and private clouds may both experience reduced performance during peak usage timeframes. However, a private cloud will have more control over how to immediately address any usage spikes or outages.
7 Public Cloud Security Security and Data Control Public cloud security is typically scrutinized. Public cloud services do have security measures in place that are more than adequate for the average user, however, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) enabled public cloud with additional security layers addresses many public cloud security concerns. First, an organization will need to decide how critical each application is to the business. After this decision is made, the company will be able to determine how severe the security for each application needs to be. In order to increase public cloud security, organizations should identify and utilize third- party auditing services. The auditors will continually test the cloud service to determine the safety of company data and your service providers for a minimum of six months. If deemed necessary, additional authentication levels can be included in cloud computing services. An organization can add their own encryption levels to each of their applications. First, decide if additional encryption levels should be added only to certain applications, or to all applications. Another option is to only include the organization s least sensitive data in the public cloud. Privacy and security may not be an issue for a business that does not handle sensitive data that is required to follow strict security regulations or data privacy laws. For businesses that uphold security and data privacy as their top priority, the risks of exposure far outweigh the benefits of a public cloud solution. Businesses held to government regulations or security requirements are simply not willing to trust their security needs to a third party and will need to opt for a private cloud. Private Cloud Security Private cloud security is generally less problematic. However, organizations should continue to take precautions because nothing is 100% risk free. A potential security breach can stem from someone in a department that has access to private cloud information. If he or she is not behaving properly or was recently let go, then this could potentially lead to problems in an organization s private cloud. As in the public cloud, data and service providers should be tested regularly. When testing cloud technology, both inside the cloud and around the cloud s perimeter should be reviewed.
8 Which cloud computing model should I choose? It is crucial for management to examine all costs involved before committing to any cloud solution. Performing a Cost Benefits Analysis or a Risk Analysis should be considered before making any cloud solution decisions. It is important that an organization carefully review the following considerations as they select the appropriate cloud model that meets their needs and structure. Our business could benefit from the ability to add computer capacity for peak times or company growth with ease. Yes No Current organization could handle an onsite data center. Yes No Current organization cannot support an onsite data center at this time. Our cloud service needs may vary month to month or even week to week. Yes No We handle various pieces of personal information and we must follow strict security regulations or data privacy laws. Yes No Maintaining control of our data and security is our highest priority. Yes Yes No No Our business does not handle personal information protected by data security or privacy laws. Yes No Unlimited customization of a cloud solution is a requirement for our business. Yes No If more than 2 of these statements are true for your business, you should further explore a public cloud option. If more than 3 of these statements are true for your business, you should further explore a private cloud option. First, an organization should evaluate if the intended applications are suitable in a cloud- based setting. Then, an organization should determine if moving your data to the cloud will streamline your business process, if applications will be running in both the cloud and on- location, and if cloud computing provider has a detailed disaster recovery plan in place. It is also important to find out if the cloud provider allows their customers to export the backend data and if this will be possible even after the contract has expired. Finally, based on the best match determined in the above table, an organization should continue researching available cloud technologies to make a final determination of which, if any, cloud solution is right.