The last is the hybrid model - this is where the public and private cloud converge. The hybrid is a combination of one or more private and public cloud services co-existing but remain effectively separate.
Take, for example, an organization that uses an external storage cloud service for archiving files that are no longer actively needed, but also wants to maintain financial information on an internal cloud so that security can be more tightly managed and always accessible.
This allows immediate internal access to that data – regardless of whether an Internet connection is available.
The public cloud comes with a certain amount of inherent risk, however this option is not without its merits.
And as IT department human resources are already stretched to capacity, the ability to offset this responsibility is welcome by management, if not entirely by staff. There are some staffers that would still prefer to manage their own infrastructure.
Cost - When comparisons are made between the cost of purchasing equipment, software, and staffing, the utility price model afforded by public cloud vendors often (but not always) results in significantly reduced costs to an organization.
Using our testing and development example, if a customer only needed to install a specific operating system to run a test, under the public cloud model, this could be implemented in minutes. Alternatively, one might have to dedicate staff to provision and procure hardware, install, and then perform the testing. And if the same setup was no longer needed, this new equipment could prove to be little more than a costly boat anchor.
Scalability - Vendor provided solutions can easily scale up or down to accommodate changes in requirements and the corporate environment. In this regard, you only pay for the service that is actually needed at any given point in time.
The private cloud turns corporate IT departments into an internal provider for cloud computing resources. And there are obvious benefits.
Security - Over the last several years, major cloud service breaches have dominated the headlines. Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Service, and GoGrid among others have each suffered from security breaches that have negatively impacted their customers reputations and bottom lines.
Corporations are taking notice and some are deciding that the private cloud proves less risky. A recent report by the Government Information Group confirms that government agencies are fleeing the public cloud and even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak worries about the implications of storing everything in the cloud.
Whether or not cloud providers are more likely hacking targets has not been definitively proven, yet many view these vendors as the higher hanging fruit.
Revenue Generation - As many organizations are organized into cost centers, usage of a private cloud then provides additional opportunities to generate income that can then be funneled back into support for the infrastructure. Through charge-backs, IT can actually charge individual departments based on their usage.
Virtualization - Though not the sole format for private cloud solutions, the ability to virtualize services maximizes hardware usage, ultimately reducing costs and complexity.
The most important resources of any organization are arguably its resources and its data. Trusting these resources to outside entities that have been repeatedly proven vulnerable to attack puts an organization in a most precarious situation.
The case can be made, then, that for small and medium-sized organizations and even their larger counterparts, managing that risk should remain an internal responsibility. Accountability, personal investment and customer expectations outweigh any potential cost savings. If something goes wrong, there is an immediate and identifiable person and action plan that can be managed and tracked internally.
It seems that until public cloud providers can provide more secure options, the private cloud remains the best option.