Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud

As a business owner, you are responsible for keeping your company’s data both accessible and secure at the same time; implementing cloud computing can be the key to striking a balance between these two. But how exactly do you choose between public cloud (managed and hosted for you by a third party) and private cloud (hosted by your own company’s data center)? Make the best cloud investment for your business by reviewing the differences between the two, and comparing the level of security that each option can offer.

Public Cloud Services

If you are interested in flexibility and affordability, a public cloud may be the right choice for you. This option gives you quick access to resources shared between you and the service’s other clients. It also provides you with the freedom to add or drop cloud capacity to match the precise needs of your business. Some questions remain about how secure public cloud services are in today’s environment.  Although security breaches are extremely rare – and dealt with swiftly when they do occur – the hesitant business owner may still lean towards a private cloud option. Still, as public cloud services are available on a pay-per-use basis, they are a much more affordable option for business owners who want secure cloud storage, but also want to save money.

Public clouds can be the ideal choice if your business’ growth is tied to seasonal or promotional sales; or if you lack the resources to devote to maintenance, upgrades, or replacement of your company’s data center. The providers of public clouds are responsible for these critical servicing and replacement tasks.  In a nutshell, public clouds allow your business to consume services on a pay-per-use term. This allows for quick and flexible ramping of service use, and a hands-off approach to maintenance.

Private Cloud Services

A private cloud, as its name implies, is exclusive to your company and exists within your intranet or hosted data center. It’s typically protected by a firewall and offers notably higher levels of security than a public cloud configuration. Because it utilizes your company’s resources, private clouds also offer you higher levels of management visibility and control. Many business owners prefer a closer physical proximity to their company’s data, making a private cloud the clear choice for them.

With the high level of access and control also comes the responsibility of maintenance. Unlike a public cloud, a private cloud relies on your company for regular upkeep and replacement. These tasks can be expensive and time-consuming – requiring you to have the staff, physical resources, and funds available to manage your private data center.

Even so, this option is ideal if your business employs significantly tight security standards that prevent you from sharing resources in a public cloud. It may also be suitable if the demands and network of your business are predictable and you don’t anticipate having to adjust the capacity for your cloud services regularly.


Both private and public cloud options offer unique advantages and disadvantages. For those who remain undecided, hybrid cloud services are a third option to consider. A hybrid cloud uses a private, dedicated IT server while also existing on a public infrastructure – hybrid cloud services are often more affordable than both private and public clouds.

A hybrid cloud can be the perfect solution if your business:

  • Has applications or hardware that are not ready for exclusive private or public cloud storage.
  • Needs a secure environment for some of your systems, but not others.
  • Plans on migrating to a private cloud as your hardware expires, or your business needs change.

By mixing and matching the best elements of private and public clouds, your business can evolve its existing IT assets while selectively using cloud computing to achieve greater flexibility and more rapid business innovation.

All three options have their benefits and drawbacks. When considering off-premise public cloud services, an on-premise solution, or a hybrid of the two, remember to assess your company’s cloud capacity needs, security requirements, data center capabilities, and future business goals to decide which configuration is right for your business model.