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When it comes to business, cloud computing is on everyone’s mind. This next generation of computing technology is proving to be extremely beneficial for organisations of every size. With this increased consideration of the cloud, many are deciding how to best integrate it into their business. There are three main forms of cloud computing: public, private and hybrid. When considering the move, you shouldn’t just pick one of these at random. The choice should be strategic, based on the characteristics of your business.

Each cloud model is best suited for certain types of organisations and needs, so picking the wrong one could backfire. It’s important to consider security, compliance, cost efficiency, integration and scalability. To decide what’s best for you, you need to consider the characteristics of your business including your size, needs, industry regulations, user experience, etc. These considerations will help you determine which cloud model is right for you.

Public Cloud

The public cloud is what many automatically think of when they think about cloud computing. This model centres around the concept of shared resources, as businesses are able to outsource their IT operations to a managed cloud provider, essentially sharing the resources with other organizations. They access cloud resources via the Internet and eliminate management and maintenance on their end. Despite the multi-tenancy, each organization in the public cloud environment experiences high levels of security for their corporate information. The public cloud truly exemplifies the “as a service” nature of cloud computing, allowing organizations to use a pay-as-yougo model. However, it leads to less control over operation of the cloud solution, as it is run and managed by the cloud provider.

This model leads to low, predictable costs and shifts an organization from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure one. Overall, upfront and labour costs are reduced. A huge
benefit of public cloud computing is scalability. A business has practically unlimited access to cloud resources and cloud space, and can scale up or down as necessary. The public cloud also leads to automated deployments and the reliability of working with a cloud provider. Basically, all the functions you’d need from a traditional IT resource can be moved to the cloud.

Private Cloud

While public cloud computing certainly has its benefits, many organisations remain hesitant to completely shift everything to that environment. A private cloud is an environment dedicated solely to one organization. It can be implemented within that organisation’s on-premises data center or hosted off-site with the help of a cloud provider. This sense of security is what attracts many businesses to the private model, though, despite common belief, it is not inherently more secure than the public cloud. While a managed cloud provider can manage private cloud solutions, this model leads to more responsibility on the business’ end and reduced cost savings due to the lack of multi-tenancy. However, the private cloud environment is extremely beneficial for enterprises that must adhere to strict industry regulations and compliance standards, like government organisations or financial institutions, or those that already have a fully baked IT team and in-house infrastructure.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud computing is a huge trend, with 90% of enterprises saying they’re going to pursue this option. This is a great compromise between public and private clouds, as it offers the major benefits of both. Often, parts of a business’ operations are better suited for either public or private environments, and the hybrid cloud accommodates this. Businesses can test and move certain applications and resources to the public cloud, while maintaining key infrastructure or mission-critical resources on the private cloud.

The hybrid cloud tends to reassure organisations that have an initial hesitancy about the security of a public cloud solution, whether that hesitancy is justified or not. It’s a great way to start experimenting with cloud services and maintain legacy resources while opening new lines of business in the cloud. Basically, companies can complete non-sensitive operations and collaboration within the public cloud environment while ensuring security for critical data and apps in the private environment. That “best of both worlds” idea is why hybrid cloud adoption continues to grow.

Which is best?

What’s best for one business may not be best for another, so this is a complicated question. Ultimately, your cloud deployment depends entirely on your unique needs. Think about each cloud model and whether or not it would address these needs – knowing their advantages and disadvantages definitely makes deploying and maintaining a cloud solution that much easier. There’s no clear winner here because each model has a different purpose – and in a way, that’s what makes the cloud such a great solution. However, hybrid cloud is expected to see a lot of growth in coming years, due to the fact that it offers benefits of both public and private cloud models.