Thanks to ever-diligent media coverage surrounding the technology sector, everyone seems to understand that cloud technology is ever increasing in importance. However, while we know it will shape the future of IT, the exact way it’s going to do so is still up for debate.
A recent IDC study predicted that by 2020, more than 90 percent of all enterprise workloads will be moved to the cloud. Some believe private cloud will continue to offer an unprecedented level of control, while others think the agility and cost-effectiveness that public cloud offers will beat out the rest. The truth is that both sides are correct.
As the cloud has become a ubiquitous part of business life over the last few years, there are still lingering concerns and misconceptions around cloud security.
“The cloud” times three
There are three main types of cloud-based deployments enterprises need to be aware of: the public cloud, the private cloud, and the “corporate private” or hybrid cloud. Understanding the difference between each cloud and their benefits and offerings are key to selecting the cloud environment that will suit each company’s needs.
First, the public cloud environment hosts all services and a general infrastructure off-site and over an active Internet connection to the end user. This type of cloud is known for its high level of efficiency in terms of file sharing and other resources, but naturally, due to its public nature, it is viewed as more susceptible to security issues than its private counterpart. All the major players like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft offer public cloud solutions.
Private cloud, on the other hand, is typically hosted and maintained on-site. Therefore, it is viewed as having the highest levels of security and control, but at the same time is less cost-effective and requires the company itself to purchase and maintain resources.
Public vs. private cloud security
A general misconception about private versus public cloud is that private is automatically a more secure way to host data. If you take one of the most significant data breaches as an example, the Equifax hack proved that failure to keep up with software updates can be one of the major ways companies are vulnerable to attack.
With public cloud solutions, enterprises have the advantage of being protected by newer and updated technology from some of the most reliable tech companies in the world (think the big players mentioned earlier). These cloud providers are also hyper aware of security best practices and have systematic security measures in place to avoid attacks. When utilizing a private cloud solution, management takes place on-site, and can often mean a heavier lift keeping up with the latest software updates and security best practices and measures.
Of course, for some enterprises with strict data and privacy regulations, like in the healthcare industry, private cloud is the only option to store sensitive data. But it’s important to note that not everything needs to be hosted privately. Standardizing workload for applications across all users, such as email, or having the ability to utilize computing capacity to account for seasonal fluctuations are cases where public cloud is necessary.
The best of both worlds
Enter the happy medium. The hybrid cloud, as the name suggests, is a mix of both of the above solutions. It spreads out cloud-based services and aspects of the infrastructure across both private and public cloud options from multiple providers.
The hybrid cloud solution can be the perfect balance for enterprises looking for the “just right” solution. It allows companies to still store sensitive data on-site while also having the benefits, like computing, cost effectiveness and the often-misunderstood reliability the public cloud has to offer. And for companies looking to transition to a cloud environment, the answer is no longer all or nothing.
In the end, there is no one-size-fits all solution for the cloud, and it’s important to take the time and care to identify the specific needs and long-term goals of cloud usage for each specific organization. The hybrid cloud can offer the best of both worlds when it comes to a cloud solution—the agility of the public cloud and the control of the private cloud rolled into one.