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Private or public cloud? Focus on your business needs, not the deployment model

CloudFeatures
by Jes Breslaw, 26 Mar 2014Features
Private or public cloud? Focus on your business needs, not the deployment model

There is a lot of talk in IT circles about cloud models, but I think the conversations should be less about the deployment model and more about what is best for particular businesses. There are a few misconceptions about private cloud out there, that have been perpetuated due to early accounts of public cloud domination, and it's skewing the conversation.

The hype of the public cloud is gone and, in light of the NSA/Edward Snowden fiasco, companies are beginning to ask themselves how this will actually deliver value. What companies are now learning is that private cloud solutions are giving enterprises the usability and flexibility of public cloud, while providing companies complete data control and ownership. 

It's crucial too for businesses to cut the hype away from the cloud and ask what's actually best for their business model. This is the crucial bit – companies should be choosing a cloud deployment based on what best matches their own organisation, rather than trying to rearrange business models to fit a one-size-fits-all public cloud deployment. When it comes to cloud, there are many options – the mantra claiming that cloud fits everything simply isn't true.

Let's look at the trade-off between control and infrastructure costs. Private cloud is assumed to be more expensive than public cloud, but that's not always the case. At a certain scale, public cloud fees can balloon, while private cloud services become more affordable. Because of the up-front cost of servers and equipment, many assume private cloud is pricier. But for many organisations, the equipment needed for private cloud will actually pay for itself in about six months. Public clouds might be affordable for smaller organisations but larger organisations already have the economies of scale to implement private clouds more cost-effectively.

Yet, for those small businesses, affordability doesn't nessesarily mean that the cloud is the answer. Horror stories, like the recent one where Box deleted a user's account without permission, mean that companies who have business critical data, no matter how small they may be, still backup their data to local servers. Worse still were the reported outages in the last six months from the likes of Office365, Dropbox, Google Docs and Salesforce, which mean that even if your data isn't at risk of a breach, your business can still come to a grinding halt as a result of putting all of your eggs in the cloud basket.

Additionally, it's key to note that not all private clouds are created equal - there are many different variations. In one instance, it can be an on-premise solution, where the company hosts all of the equipment. There is also a version where a private cloud is hosted by a third party. As long as the servers only host information from a single business entity, the hosted version can still be considered a private cloud.

Finally, private cloud is experiencing a level of what you might call "private cloud-washing". Certain solutions are being advertised as private cloud when a number of their components, like the administrative features or the authentication, are actually hosted in the public cloud. For companies looking at private cloud for security and privacy, it's important not to be tricked by hidden public cloud processes.

So at the end of the day, ask yourself how much control you require over your businesses data and how much budget you have, because clouds come in all forms. The key to know is that if you're concerned about security, whether from an intellectual property or regulatory compliance standpoint, the private cloud is a better bet for your business model.

Jes Breslaw is the director of cloud solutions and marketing for EMEA at Accellion.

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