Public vs. private cloud (part 1 of 2): Pros and cons of public clouds

Public vs. private cloud (part 1 of 2): Pros and cons of public clouds

If you’re considering migrating company data to the cloud, you must take into account various factors, such as which type of cloud solution would work best for your business in Charlotte.

In this two-part series, we’ll examine the two primary types of clouds, namely public and private clouds. Choosing which one to implement can be tough, but you can make a more informed decision by learning more about the strengths and weaknesses of each type. This post will focus on the benefits and drawbacks of using a public cloud.

What is a public cloud?

Generally, a cloud is simply a set of IT resources owned and rented out to clients over the internet by a cloud service provider (CSP). A public cloud, in particular, is a cloud that accommodates multiple clients. That is, a resource like a server can be shared by many users at a time, though this also means that a public cloud couldn’t be individualized.

Another distinguishing feature of a public cloud is that its computing and data storage resources are managed by the CSP. This makes public clouds easily accessible for organizations that lack IT expertise. Cloud users can simply host their web-based email, office applications, and online data storage on the cloud and use all of these without worrying about technical concerns like cloud security configurations.

Popular public cloud services include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Drive.

CSPs own and handle the public clouds' IT resources, making these clouds easily accessible for organizations that lack IT expertise.

What are the benefits of using a public cloud?

There are many reasons why organizations use public clouds, including:

Service flexibility

You can customize your public cloud subscription plan depending on how many services you want to avail. For instance, you may get something that's all-inclusive (i.e., the CSP handles everything cloud-related on your behalf). Alternatively, you can opt for a customized plan in which you pick the cloud services you'll subscribe to and leave the rest as on-demand services.

Reliable maintenance and cybersecurity

CSPs have technical engineers who maintain cloud infrastructures and help to protect these from any data breaches that could be caused by cloud user error.

Considerable cost savings

Because you pay for only the cloud resources that you use, subscribing to public cloud services is more cost-effective than managing your own machines and servers. Furthermore, utilizing a public cloud environment means more savings from not having to build an in-house IT infrastructure. This effectively allows you to turn a huge capital expense into a more manageable operational expenditure that’s spread over time. By dramatically reducing pressure on your cash flow, a small business like yours increases its resilience, especially during economic downturns.

What are the downsides of using a public cloud?

Businesses have many forms and varying needs. Here are some of the most critical aspects that make public clouds unsuitable for some organizations:

Having resource-intensive apps

Using the cloud involves the transmission of data back and forth between a client's facility and the CSP's data center. Public clouds are fine when your data requirements are low. However, if you need to render 3D graphics, edit videos, or do other tasks that require tons of megabytes, having those tons travel miles and miles is not practical for two reasons. First, data delivery would be too slow, and second, data transfer would be too expensive. You'll be much better off using in-house IT resources or a private cloud.

Easy to lose control of costs

While pay-as-you-go services are convenient, you need to monitor these closely, as you may end up paying for cloud resources long after you have any need for them. Additionally, when your cloud usage varies wildly from month to month, it becomes hard for your accountants to get a handle on costs.

Risky co-tenancy

Another disadvantage of using a public cloud is the risk of security breaches and service disruptions. While a CSP tries its best to secure all of its clients' cloud infrastructures, clients must also do their part by implementing cybersecurity best practices on their end.

However, because your company and other organizations share the same public cloud resources, malware from a cloud user's machine may infect a cloud server and spread to other devices that are connected to that server.

In our next blog post, we'll discuss the pros and cons of private clouds. In the meantime, if you want to know more about cloud computing to see if it will benefit your business, talk to our IT specialists at SpectrumWise today.