As cloud-based services continue to grow, companies nationwide and around the world have begun to weigh cloud options and research all of the available avenues. Public clouds have long been a popular choice due to the ease of access and perception of affordability, but savvy companies are now choosing private clouds due to their innumerable benefits.
However, this divide has left some companies with a tough choice to make. The advantages are undeniable, but the investment can be large for companies on shoestring budgets who do not have a need for a significant IT platform or cloud computing networks. Even in spite of the benefits, private clouds aren’t right for everyone.
The Case for Private Clouds
Private clouds, as the name implies, provide a cloud-based data center that is available to one company or business unit. Unlike public clouds, which offer cloud storage space to anyone who is willing to sign up and pay a prescribed rate for storage, private clouds are specially established for the user. The environment is far more customizable, allowing a company to create a cloud platform that is best able to meet business needs. If you’re just looking for extra storage there a numerous cloud storage services available.
Private clouds are available in two distinct forms: owned and hosted. Owned private cloud solutions are established in-house with servers owned by the company. This provides excellent access to storage space and full control by the cloud’s owner, but many of the advantages of a private cloud model – the ability to reduce IT overhead, for example – are negated by the labor required to establish a cloud and keep it up and running. The other alternative is a private cloud that is hosted and managed by a third-party. While this structure does sound similar to one of the many public cloud providers, it is wholly different in terms of opportunities.
Private cloud hosting has many benefits that make this form of cloud computing a compelling choice for companies of all kinds, including:
- Accessibility: Unlike traditional servers, on which information can only be accessed while on site or on company equipment, a cloud server is accessible from anywhere across any device. From phones to laptops to tablets, storage resources and applications are always within reach. For companies with regular employee travel or who cut costs by offering remote work, this ability provides significant advantages.
- Scalability: With traditional servers, there are caps on how many users can store data and how much storage space is available. Upgrades to space require a costly expansion with no way to facilitate periodic growth. Private cloud strategy, on the other hand, is very scalable, both vertically and horizontally. Companies have the flexibility to store additional data, employ more apps, and add more users without worrying about expensive large-scale upgrades.
- Flexibility: How information and software are used can vary greatly from one company to another. Virtual machines can accommodate a great number of needs, from offering development platforms to a customized infrastructure. Unlike a public cloud, in which users are limited to whatever products and services are made available by the service provider, private clouds offer enterprises far more opportunities. Use of a public option can limit how businesses operate, particularly if available functions change or are phased out that your company relied on.
- Security: Security is a major point of concern for many businesses. Private clouds offer better security than public clouds for a few reasons, primarily because private clouds allow for closer scrutiny, better firewalls, and more control over security measures. Rather than putting faith in a provider and hoping things work out, private avenues can take advantage of evolving trends and techniques for a better experience.
- Personalized Service: Use of a public cloud is very impersonal. As these kinds of operations are run by very large companies without a personal investment in each customer, it can be very hard to get appropriate customer service when issues arise, regardless of you workloads. With a private cloud, this isn’t a problem, as use of cloud solutions is unique to your business and your business alone.
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The Case for Superior Security
Security is a major priority for companies of all kinds. As web usage continues to expand, the likelihood of hacking and security breaches grows, too. In response, many businesses are increasing investments in protection, both physical and digital. Colleges and universities are also expanding degree programs in cybersecurity, creating a wealth of educated professionals ready to put the tactics of cyber criminals to the test.
Data breaches pose huge problems for companies, costing businesses both money and trust. Take, for example, the large-scale Equifax breach that put the personal information, including names, addresses, and social security numbers, of 147 million Americans at risk and cost the company over $425,000,000 in settlements. In 2013, Target was the target of a major cyberattack that resulted in hackers obtaining credit card information for millions of customers. This resulted in payouts of $18,500,000 to 47 states and Washington D.C.
Security is also an issue for those who are bound by regulations like HIPAA and financial oversight by the SEC. For these kinds of companies, protecting information is of the utmost importance, with violations causing serious problems for ongoing operations.
With such a premium placed on security, a private cloud is generally the right choice for those concerned with protection. Private clouds offer superior security options, keeping data safe in a way that allows for a proactive response to potential hacks that can be noticed and defended against at the first sign of trouble. Unlike a public cloud that is served with protecting thousands of customers, a private cloud provides a way to customize defenses and guarantee unparalleled protection.
Who Should Use a Private Cloud?
With many benefits and costs that go above and beyond public clouds, private clouds can play an important role in operations across many different industries. This is who should use a private cloud.
Companies with Significant Software or Application Use that Want to Maintain Inhouse Controls
Large companies often have complex operations with many users, hundreds of software applications, and many varying infrastructure needs. As such, relying on a public cloud can make accommodating this very challenging. A private cloud can be customized around an enterprise’s unique operational requirements to ensure no stone goes unturned when relying on cloud services.
When companies rely on a significant amount of resources to keep their company moving forward, it’s important to choose the best option, not necessarily the cheapest or the easiest. With the ability to essentially optimize operations to fit specific and diverse needs, private clouds can keep companies moving forward without interference, especially when staffing and business functions fluctuate.
Companies on a Growth Trajectory
Startups are often focused on building a strong foundation to accommodate growth. In the early days, goals and dreams are big, and most business plans are dedicated to expansion. For those who are on this path, a private cloud can be an excellent way to accommodate growth without compromising available resources. Users can be added quickly and easily to a private cloud environment, making it simple to scale as necessary. Further, putting the proper infrastructure in place during the startup stages, particularly for startups with adequate funding and strong prospects, can reduce the stress and complications that come with switching cloud platforms later on.
Businesses with Security Concerns
Security is a concern for many companies of all different kinds. As many companies store significant amounts of customer information, like names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and banking data, keeping this protected is non-negotiable. This kind of data is intended to be kept private, and companies have a moral obligation to their customers to do so. Some businesses have a legal responsibility as well, like those who must uphold data protection under policies like HIPAA or GDPR.
Further, breaches can be costly and harmful, ruining a reputation as well as the ability to continue doing business. Businesses that want to keep their operations protected at all costs are well served by a private cloud.
Businesses with Seasonality
Some businesses are prone to heavy seasonality, like tax prep businesses. For these companies, access to adequate technology to best support customers during the busy season is essential. When traffic spikes and more storage space is needed, a private cloud can provide the stability and resources necessary to meet demands.
Hybrid clouds are often employed in these kinds of situations, combining a private cloud and a public cloud. With private cloud infrastructure firmly in place, companies who decide to go this route can make the choice to incorporate public cloud usage later, as needed.
Who Shouldn’t Use a Private Cloud Solution?
There’s no denying that private networks are an excellent solution, offering flexibility and better security without a significant difference in pricing. However, a private cloud isn’t the right solution for everyone and some companies are better served by public cloud services.
Not all companies have a need for large amounts of storage space. For example, small businesses may not have assets that go beyond a bookkeeping software, POS system, and list of regular customers. While it’s increasingly common for companies to maintain email distribution lists and detailed customer data, small shops, like local hardware stores, bodegas, and cafes may not have a need for this kind of thing. Older businesses that have a standing place in a community and are endorsed by word of mouth by residents don’t need to send email blasts or utilize things like customer relationship management tools. Under these kinds of circumstances, using cloud computing at all is likely unnecessary. A single computer may be enough for this sort of company.
Small startups without significant public attention that are just getting organized also aren’t great candidates for a full private cloud computing solution. In the beginning, data storage needs aren’t substantial enough for an investment in a large-scale infrastructure or data center project. These kinds of companies may eventually require more sophisticated cloud computing solutions as they grow, but in the early stages when budgets are tight, moving forward with a private cloud can be a waste of money.
Public vs. Private Networks for Big Business
Technology for large companies can be extremely challenging. With so many users across varying departments, from legal to finance, software products in use, and development projects in production, it’s hard to balance everything necessary. Let a few plates fall and you open your business up to liability and potential damages.
The more complex business needs are, the more access to exclusive resources matters. For large businesses, this means a private cloud. Putting all of your eggs in the public cloud basket can be a risky move as few things with public cloud usage remain under your control. Everything, from functionality to security, is subject to the choices made by the provider, like Amazon or Google. This can be a particularly vulnerable place to be; if something goes wrong, there’s very little to be done but wait and hope. With a private cloud, these cloud security fears are all but eliminated; all control and management is guided by individual requirements, not another company’s corporate goals.
It’s not unheard of for large companies to use both public and private cloud storage for varying reasons, both as part of a hybrid cloud environment and completely independently, but for confidential and client information, it’s best to ensure data is stored as securely as possible and in a controlled manner.
Improve Your Business With a Private Cloud
If you’re looking for a way to improve the way you do business or are simply frustrated with your current approach to IT networks, CompleteCloud from Avatara is a perfect solution. A managed private cloud service, CompleteCloud offers access to a private cloud environment that reduces IT overhead while still offering all of the advantages of leaving public clouds behind and not having to build a private cloud environment yourself. Encompassing cloud access, managed IT services, customer service support around the clock, and utility bundling to manage costs, CompleteCloud can simplify and streamline the ways in which you do business. Ideal for anywhere between 20 and 10,000 users, it’s possible to create a cloud environment that speaks to your unique business needs.
Contact Avatara today to learn more about how CompleteCloud can make a difference for you.