Are Private Clouds More Secure?

Private clouds are a popular choice for those seeking safety, security, and flexibility. A preferred opportunity for those who appreciate an extra layer of control, private clouds can provide plenty of advantages to companies of all sizes and from all industries.

Those with limited budgets are often drawn to public clouds do to the perceived lower price, but this can be the outcome of faulty logic. Public clouds do have advantages, but they don’t necessarily outweigh what a private cloud can offer – and they’re not always the most affordable or secure option. If you prioritize security and keeping your business protected, there’s a lot to love about private clouds.

The Importance of Security

All businesses have locks on their doors for a reason: to protect assets. Tactics like locks, security cameras, guards, and alarm systems are designed to make sure physical property is kept safe and have a long, rich history in the success of companies.

However, in the digital era, security goes beyond what’s inside your store. Today, much of a company’s success is predicated by how digital assets are used. And, without keeping digital information safe, an entire company can find itself in harm’s way.

In a cloud model, security is generally a huge focus, and for good reason. When data is hosted on a cloud server rather than an in-house server, information is preserved in a unique position. Rather than relying on on-site tech teams, companies are essentially trusting a third party with their livelihood. If things go wrong – and they absolutely can go wrong, and go wrong to anyone – there may be little to be done to repair those burnt bridges with customers. As such, focusing on keeping things as protected and private as possible is vital for those making the switch to a cloud services model.

For some businesses, privacy goes beyond potential loss of potential revenue. For those subject to regulatory restrictions, like those imposed by HIPAA, failing to keep customer information protected can result in legal troubles and steep fines. This is also true for those who are bound by laws like GDPR, the European Union’s privacy policy regarding the treatment of personal data. Privacy should always be a priority, but for those subject to these kinds of regulations, keeping data under lock and key is more critical than ever.

While price is often the first point of consideration for business considering cloud hosting, cyber security should be a higher priority for most. After all, how much does price really matter when information is at risk?

How Secure Is Data in a Cloud Platform?

Traditionally, data is stored on-site using a company’s own in-house servers. While no server is completely impenetrable, traditional servers are much easier to understand for those new to technology.

As web-based servers, cloud computing solutions are vulnerable to hacking, much in the same way any web-based resource is. In some ways, this can make data feel less secure. And it may be – how secure data is depends wholly on the measures put in place by the user. For example, a company that chooses to host their own in-house private cloud environment but fails to take any sophisticated security measures into account can put workloads in a dangerously vulnerable situation.

However, with the proper security measures designed to thwart the most aggressive attacks, cloud data can be very secure, keeping data protected and private while reducing the likelihood of serious issues. As such, there’s no one answer when considering cloud computing: the security comes down to choices made by providers or users.

Worried About Your Company’s Data Security?

Public Clouds

Public clouds are clouds that are available to the general public and hosted by a large third-party provider, like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. These cloud-based services offer a massive amount of cloud storage space, accommodating a wide array of services for small companies looking for scalability, large companies who need flexible cloud space, or simply those who want to put some of their data in the cloud in a low-cost and convenient manner. Everything regarding public clouds is managed by the cloud vendor; as the user, all features, functions, and opportunities are decided by the host.

Public cloud services provide many opportunities for those new to the cloud computing space. As an already-established company, getting started is incredibly easy; with a little legwork, your small business can be up and running in next to no time. Payment options are generally based on users, allowing for the ability to scale up or scale down on an as-needed basis.

However, when you choose a public cloud service, you are limited to the choices made by the host. There is no way to change the nature of the cloud, from features available to security. With a public cloud, what you see is what you get.

Public Cloud Security

As stated above, public cloud security is at the whim of the provider. This means that whatever measures the cloud service provider, like Google or Amazon, chooses to utilize, this is what customers must work with. There is no sense of control, no way to change what measures are in place, and no way to take extra time to adhere to specific threats that matter most to a customer. In essence, customers need a lot of trust in choosing a public cloud.

For smaller companies without the budget to manage high tech security, this can be an advantage – after all, the hard work is done for you. However, it does open the door for large problems from which coming back might be next to impossible.

Should a breach occur, and a breach is absolutely possible, even when it involves some of the largest tech names in the world, there’s very little a customer can do to protect data before it’s too late. In this situation, as is the case with any kind of service outages, customers are essentially left to sit and wait and hope everything is okay. It may be possible to implement backup systems in the meantime, but if all functions and job duties are handled within the cloud environment, a breach can sideline your business and leave you completely helpless.

Any breach that puts your customer information at risk can be damaging both to how you are perceived by your customers but also how you are seen within your industry. Unfortunately, if a breach wasn’t your fault, that will mean very little to those critical of your brand, especially since it was ultimately your choice to partner with a public cloud.

For those who choose a public cloud, security becomes a dice roll. While it’s unlikely that a breach will occur on a scale large enough to put your company at risk, it’s always a possibility.

Private Cloud

As the name implies, a private cloud is private to one company. No resources or applications are shared with other users and everything, from size to functionality, is designed by the cloud’s owner. This provides far more flexibility, making it easier to create a completely custom environment that best serves business needs.

Private cloud infrastructure comes in two primary forms: owned and managed. Owned virtual private clouds are constructed and maintained by a company for its own use. Similar in function to traditional data centers, these clouds require the same amount of IT resources and tech knowledge to maintain, making them an unappealing choice for those who want to reap the benefits of lower IT overhead. Owned private clouds are a popular choice for companies with unique needs and the resources to support an elaborate setup.

Managed private clouds, on the other hand, are private clouds that are provided by a third-party computing resource. The cloud is specific to each individual company, offering the benefits of a private cloud with the cost-cutting opportunities traditionally associated with a public cloud.

Private Cloud Security

Due to the more individualized nature of private cloud infrastructure, security is often far superior. For owned private clouds, which are similar to an on-site data center, companies can implement any applications or measures they feel are necessary, leading to a custom security approach that takes into account a business’ main priorities.

These advantages aren’t lost in a private cloud hosted by a third party, either. Private cloud providers offer excellent security resources and, due to the private nature of the cloud, can be customized to a company’s requirements without needing on-site support services.

Should signs of a potential breach or, at worst, an actual breach occur with use of a private cloud solution, immediate action can be taken. Each hosted private cloud customer has a dedicated support team that can report on the situation, explain next steps, and keep companies in the loop while taking strides to rectify a situation. This provides a greater sense of control over the infrastructure, allowing owners or clients the opportunity to own the situation rather than to sit by, waiting and worrying.

Why Private Cloud Hosting?

Private cloud services offer countless advantages, creating a secure, stable environment for any company to use to its advantage. Rather than settling for what a third party public provider can offer, a private cloud makes it easy to stay secure in a custom atmosphere.

The potential elevated costs can seem like a downside – public clouds are frequently referenced as the most affordable option – but hosted private clouds can be far more affordable than is often realized. While per-user prices may seem higher on the surface, they are often all-encompassing, offering additional benefits in a way that per-user public cloud packages can’t. Many private cloud providers, like Avatara and the CompleteCloud platform, include significant extras within a package, like utility bill coverage, comprehensive IT support, security services, and VoIP connectivity, adding a lot more value for users. When combined with the overall control and security benefits of private vs. public clouds, a hosted private cloud is generally the best choice.

If you are considering cloud computing infrastructure solutions, Avatara’s CompleteCloud can provide the advantages of cloud computing without the downsides that can come with public clouds. With excellent security resources and professional support to guide your journey, CompleteCloud can offer professional support for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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