Steadfast Blog

Public, Private, Or Hybrid: Decoding Your Cloud Computing Options

Posted in The Cloud, Business Talk on October 23rd, 2013

The differences between private, public and hybrid clouds for enterprise are as vast as the types of data they store.  Sometimes these differences narrow, but each type of cloud has different levels of security and varying degrees of management. One may be more flexible or scalable, while another might be more affordable.  Here we’ll talk about private, public and hybrid cloud computing and some of their primary differences.


What is a public cloud?

 A public cloud provides off-site computing services and infrastructure over the Internet, which is used by high numbers of employees. It is set up and maintained by a commercial provider to manage relatively simple processes and share resources.  Examples of public cloud services you might already be using are web-based e-mail and file storage, such as Google’s Gmail or Dropbox. Instead of saving data on a personal computer, files and information are kept in the cloud. Public clouds offer productive and efficient shared software and technology among large teams for collaborative enterprise efforts.  Businesses utilize a public cloud for web servers and/or system developments. The public cloud requires little set-up and is easy to begin using almost immediately. From infrastructure and platforms to software and desktop, there are many ways for businesses to take advantage of the public cloud to increase accessibility and productivity as well as reduce costs.


What is a private cloud?

 Private clouds are designed for the specific needs of an organization, and hosted and maintained on a private network.  Most companies who use the private cloud deal with more regulations, require additional security measures for sensitive data, and want a more flexible and scalable platform.  Many healthcare, financial, trade, and banking institutions utilize private cloud computing to maintain confidentiality in highly sensitive electronic records. The telecommunications and retail industry also have a vested interest in privacy protection.  Industry-based requirements and regulations can often dictate when private cloud computing is a must, but even if they don’t, many businesses have trade secrets and privileged client data that makes private cloud computing the best choice for their needs.


What is a hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid clouds are becoming more popular as public cloud users grow more interested in the accessing certain benefits and adaptive capabilities of having a private cloud. Hybrid cloud computing is basically a combination of both public and private cloud computing. It might include multiple providers and usually involves some complexity, as it is a customized solution combining two environments to allow dynamic shifting from one to the other.  For some enterprises, it is beneficial and necessary to place different data in different areas.  An example of this would be to have specific business developments in a private cloud, and to have more transparent production methods in a public cloud.


Public Vs. Private: Data Security And System Control In The Cloud

So what are the major differences between cloud computing types? Let’s start by talking about the characteristics of public and private cloud computing. Public clouds are easily accessed by many users while private clouds are meant for specific and designated users and are not shared with the general public. Private clouds are highly controlled, for this and other reasons, the private cloud is considered the most secure of the two.  When enterprise solutions and business methodologies and/or IT information demand strict confidentiality, private cloud computing is often the route IT executives choose.

Private cloud networks are designed to provide strong security dedicated to a single business entity to protect and control access to data, hardware or network systems contained in large data centers. Companies are sometimes skeptical of public cloud because of its inability to meet industry-specific compliance regulations. It is often seen as having a high exposure to security-risk which leads many businesses to shy away from using public clouds in many instances, or altogether.

In the public cloud computing model, IT managers have less control over such things as hardware decisions and storage performance. A company’s virtual server is placed on the service provider’s network systems and their own public cloud, or that of another provider. Not only that, but according to Roger Levy, GM HP Public Cloud, cutting edge network security can and does yield high-level security protection.

Managing costs is an underlying concern for every IT executive, but cost issue lines blur somewhat when comparing public to private. Public clouds are generally cheaper, but private clouds are not always more and an enterprise’s storage vs. computing needs can play a large role in the cost-benefit analysis of each model. For example, taking it solely from a hardware supply standpoint, a public cloud operation is approximately the same cost as a private cloud operation. 

But from a technical perspective, higher scalability can result in using a private cloud versus a public cloud. Scalability is advantageous for any business when considering its adaptability to changing needs brought on by growth factors such as increased productivity, changing enterprise needs, and overall IT demands and influx.

Leveraging Benefits With Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid computing is a combination of public and private cloud computing strategically designed to access benefits of both the public and private cloud models.  Hybrid computing is considered the most complex of the three computing types, especially in its implementation.  Data migration and integration can be intricate and multifaceted. 

On the other hand, a hybrid cloud permits enterprises to maintain control of their IT settings while at the same time sending non-critical workloads on to the public cloud. IT managers often feel this tailored blend of cloud architecture provides them with the best of both worlds. Along with utilizing public cloud features such as high scalability and flexibility, they can keep private data ultra private by its private-cloud existence.

Hybrid clouds are typically managed the same way that private clouds are, with enterprises retaining significant control of the infrastructure.  They allow programming and developer flexibility, and can be used to streamline IT functions without complicating them further. Hybrid clouds offer mix-and-match capabilities, exceptional scalability, and can perform complex tasks across cloud platforms

Carefully chosen IT solution vendors

Steadfast ( is a leading provider of cloud solutions, offering hosting and management of public, private and hybrid clouds as well as other related services including disaster recovery, managed security, and data center colocation. Many IT companies provide only one or two cloud options, but Steadfast provides all three with custom configurations and affordable pricing options from affordable “pay for what you use” hourly fees for public cloud hosting to private and hybrid clouds starting at only $399.95 per month.

Obviously cloud hosting needs to be configured correctly and not just anyone can do that. As CEO of Steadfast, Karl Zimmerman recently pointed out, it “does not happen without expertise.”  Zimmerman went on to say, “Poorly configured and inadequately maintained servers will never fulfill their true potential.”  And, “In the fifteen years we have been in business, our technical team has turned into one of the best in the industry…Now, as more customers host their data on our private, public and hybrid cloud hosting, we are pleased to provide the same excellent standard of care.”

Knowing the difference between public, private and hybrid cloud computing and the importance of selecting experienced cloud hosting helps IT executives and managers make informed decisions.  Choosing between a public, private, or hybrid cloud is a complicated process because cloud computing is constantly evolving. Are you ready to start taking advantage of the cloud?  If you’d like to learn more about the types of cloud computing and what model makes the most sense for you, contact the experts at Steadfast today and we’ll help you to determine the solution that best fits your needs.

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