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Public, private, hybrid: Choosing the right cloud approach for your business

Far from being a new-fangled technological phenomenon, cloud computing is now being used by a huge number of organisations across a wide variety of industries.

However, the cloud is far from a one-size-fits-all solution and there are still important decision that must be made, namely should you go with a public, private or hybrid approach?

Read more: Cloudy with a chance of data loss: Has corporate IT lost control?

For many businesses, the temptation to go with a private cloud is likely to arise from security fears. Although claiming that the public cloud is inherently less secure is an oversimplification, there are risks that businesses should be aware of. In the public environment, multiple organisations share the same server and the risk of data leakage is increased. Conversely, when you use the private cloud, you have the final say when it comes to safeguarding your data rather than relying on a third-party vendor.

The public cloud, however, does benefit from increased flexibility, enabling businesses to scale up or down to meet demand, without incurring costs for wide scale infrastructural redesign. Generally speaking, public clouds are usually cheaper as they work on a pay-as-you-go model and maintenance costs are covered by the cloud supplier.

The most recent State of the Cloud report (opens in new tab) showed that 93 per cent of organisations are using the cloud in some form and increasingly a hybrid approach is being adopted that incorporates the best of the public and private ecosystems. Understandably, an approach that minimises security risks by storing some data on-premise, while still benefitting from the agility of public cloud services is proving hugely appealing.

Read more: 10 reasons we’re still talking about the cloud

For businesses, the key is to assess what works best for them. Critically evaluate how the cloud will impact on the security of your own and your customer’s data and consider the kind of operational benefits it can offer.

Only then can IT leaders come to an informed decision on which cloud platform is right for their business.

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Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.