The Pros and Cons of Public Cloud

When small businesses need more computing power, they often turn to cloud services to help manage IT issues. Everyone interacts with public and private clouds on a daily basis. Examples of public clouds that we all use include services like Google Docs or Gmail. There are a wide variety of cloud solution options out there for small business, each one with its own pros and cons. For those businesses interested in a cloud platform a public cloud service provider or want to move towards cloud-based software might have the options to meet the need.

What are the Different Types of Cloud Computing?

There are three main types of cloud-based services you can purchase when your business needs greater computing power. The type of cloud available include the public cloud environment, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. These various cloud services provide the infrastructure a business needs to conduct its daily operations, be that programming, networking, word processing, or webpage building. The service provider takes care of data center issues and cloud storage so you can focus on getting work done and not managing a vast IT network of interconnected devices. Cloud-based solutions each have different components, advantages and disadvantages.

A public cloud model is one of the most common options out there and is used by most people who surf the web on a daily basis. As mentioned earlier, hosted email is an example of a public cloud environment. A small business using Gmail, for example, can log in and set up accounts for each individual. Google handles security encryption for the emails and manages data center resources that store information from the emails of all accounts.

In a public cloud environment, access is free or very affordable because countless different customers can use the same resources. Data center resources, servers, and access to services are available to anyone who signs up for an account. As such, the cost of supporting the computing resources is spread across all of the customers using the service. Your business doesn’t handle any of the computing infrastructure, manage networks, or store data involved in the operations.

Private clouds, on the other hand, can be hosted or built as on-premise solutions or outsourced as a third-party vendor with all computing resources devoted to one customer. In this case, data center equipment, servers, IT infrastructure, and any supporting software programs are available only to the customer paying for the private cloud service. If hosted onsite, the private cloud has to be managed by IT employees within the company. If hosted offsite, a private cloud offers top-notch security and direct access to computing resources available only to your employees. As a result, you can customize a private cloud to match the needs of your company without paying for services or features you don’t need as you might have to do in a public cloud environment.

In between these two options, you will find that hybrid clouds exist. A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing solution that uses a mixture of onsite, private cloud features and systems with third-party, public cloud services handled by a service provider. Using a hybrid cloud strategy requires orchestration and collaboration between both parties and the two cloud computing environments to meet the computing needs of the company.

How Does Public Cloud Work?

A public cloud is managed and operated by a third-party service provider. It is the responsibility of the public cloud provider to purchase, manage, and maintain servers, data centers, and IT infrastructure. Your company can take advantage of the computing resources in a public cloud setting by accessing the resources over the internet. A public cloud is deployed over the web and can be free of charge, such as Google’s Gmail platform, or come with on-demand costs for CPU cycles, storage, Disaster recovery, cloud security add ons, and bandwidth consumed.

In a public cloud environment, as referenced earlier on, all of the computing resources are shared by any of the users paying for access to the cloud environment. It is possible, however, for each of the individual users in the environment to maintain a sense of privacy within their specific network in the public cloud.

What is a Public Cloud Example?

Public cloud examples have already been listed above, but we can go into a little more detail here. Any online email service, such as Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and Gmail, are examples of free public cloud environments. The data included in emails and the encryption of that data are all handled by a third-party cloud provider. Emails are sent and received on the IT infrastructure of the third party, bandwidth is provided by its networking infrastructure, and data is stored on the servers in its data centers.

Similarly, there are paid services in the public cloud realm such as Amazon Web Services. Companies can pay for access to virtual desktops for each user, storage space on servers in remote data centers, and even access to certain software programs in order to conduct daily business operations. As a business user, you simply pay for a service like AWS based on the number of virtual desktops, storage space, or other resources required.

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What are the Pros of Public Clouds?

There are a number of pros involved in the adoption of a public cloud environment. First and foremost for small businesses, a public cloud is an affordable option when compared with a fully-hosed onsite network or even a hybrid cloud solution. Rather than spending valuable capital on computing resources, small businesses can pay for only the resources they need and scale up as needed. That leads to the first of many pros of public clouds:
  • Pay-as-you-go flexibility: Since your company isn’t responsible for purchasing servers, finding data center space, and maintaining all of the related network infrastructure, you not only save money upfront on a public cloud, but you save in the long term as well. When you need greater computing resources, a few clicks of a button or a call to your service provider can result in more resources directed your way.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Playing off of that point, a public cloud is more cost-effective than private cloud options in many cases, as well as hybrid clouds. When more computing resources are required, you don’t have to buy more servers or train and employ more IT staff to manage the network infrastructure. The responsibility for expanding resources and managing network equipment falls on the shoulders of the public cloud provider, not your company.
  • Increased reliability: Public cloud environments spread computing resources such as servers and data centers around the globe. If a power outage strikes one data center or a hurricane disrupts internet connectivity at another, that isn’t the sole point of origin for the resources in that public cloud. The likes of Google and Amazon spread data centers and servers around the globe to ensure that computing resources can be spread out as necessary to keep all customers online with high rates of reliability.

What are the Cons of Public Clouds?

No cloud computing environment is perfect for every party. There are, as you might expect, the cons involved in the use of public cloud providers and their environments. Among the top concerns with a public cloud are data security and user privacy. Below, you will find a rundown of the cons of a public cloud service:
  • Security: Everything in a public cloud environment is out of your hands. Buying new servers, maintaining data centers, upgrading software programs, and ensuring up-time are all the responsibility of the service provider and there is little you can do to impact those facets of cloud computing. Among the biggest cons is the lack of direct control over security measures. In corporate environments that require the highest levels of data security and user privacy, such as healthcare, the inability to directly control security measures in a public cloud is a big liability.
  • Surprise costs: Although one of the leading benefits of a public cloud is cost savings, surprise costs can actually turn your public cloud solution into a nightmare. While scalability and affordability are key to the attractiveness of a public cloud, the need for large amounts of data can result in cloud providers charging ever-greater fees for high data usage.
  • Performance: While factors such as reliability and uptime are major benefits of public clouds, the daily performance of public clouds can also become a liability. Spikes in data transmission can lead to slower response times when using virtual desktops or software programs in a public cloud environment.
  • In the end, public clouds are a great option for many small businesses, but are perhaps not the ideal option for most businesses. In most areas, you are giving up a lot of direct control over things such as performance, data storage, security features, and software updates to an outside provider.

The Only IT Platform for Businesses Today

At Avatara, our CompleteCloud is an ideal alternative to a traditional public cloud environment. We build dedicated private cloud solutions that give you more control over what your cloud environment looks like and what it can do. We’ll still handle the nitty-gritty details for your business, building you a IT platform with a private cloud environment with the best in security, uptime, and network management and support.

It is important, when considering a public cloud environment, to do your research. If you do end up deciding to work with a third-party cloud provider, make sure you know exactly what level of service you are going to receive for your money. Research the responsibilities of the cloud provider and make sure you know exactly what your company will and will not receive with your monthly fees for public cloud services. You may find in the end that services like Complete Cloud from Avatara are the best option for your company when you do a full comparison.

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