Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: What’s the Difference?

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: What's the Difference?

Businesses are adopting cloud computing solutions at a frantic pace. The number of business tasks and workflows that can be accomplished through the cloud is increasing every day. Companies who want to take advantage of the cloud will need to determine what type of cloud deployment to use. There are several different types of cloud deployments, but for most enterprises, the choice is often public cloud vs. private cloud.

Public and private cloud providers represent some of the biggest vendors in the cloud space. Even as the world of cloud solutions grows larger, public cloud and private cloud deployments still remain some of the most popular for businesses. What are the benefits of public cloud vs. private cloud, and which one should your enterprise choose? Below, we take a look at both public and private cloud and explain the basics of both to help you find out.

Public cloud

Public cloud refers to cloud resources and environments being made available to users over a publicly-available portal. This portal could be either a web page or proprietary software installed onto a machine. Any user can request access to these resources and the provider will supply them. The specific cloud resources are stored on a provider’s infrastructure and the user accesses them via the Internet.

While those resources are owned by the user, they don’t need to install any hardware in order to access them. This means that you have to rely on the cloud provider to maintain the availability of their cloud services and hardware. While this means that access to your resources can be denied by situations out of your control, cloud providers hold themselves to a guaranteed level of availability. This also eliminates the cost of maintaining physical servers on the user’s end.

Private cloud

Private cloud deployments are cloud computing resources that are specifically restricted to the user that owns them. Typically, this refers to cloud resources that run on a company’s local data center. Unlike public cloud, private cloud deployments (as well as whatever hardware is used to store it) are maintained entirely by the user.

Because private cloud deployments are managed by the user, that means the user is responsible for the security of the hardware and data stored within. You need to pay for the cost of maintaining any hardware you use for the private cloud environment; however, this means you have more control over the security of your cloud solution. Private cloud environments are also typically more flexible than the public cloud because your enterprise has more customization options available.

Public cloud vs. private cloud: which should you choose?

When considering either a public or private cloud deployment, your enterprise should consider what it’s looking for when it comes to the cloud. At a glance, public cloud is more cost effective and private cloud is more secure. Public cloud relieves a lot of financial burden on companies by eliminating management costs. However, private cloud allows organizations to have more control over their data and security. These should not be the only factors to take into account, though; each public or private cloud vendor offers their own features and capabilities that your enterprise should consider.

Consider a hybrid cloud deployment

It’s important to know that your enterprise doesn’t need to strictly choose either a public or private cloud deployment. Hybrid cloud users integrate both a public and private cloud environment into their infrastructure. Using a hybrid cloud, users can take advantage of the pay-as-you-use model of public cloud while still having a private environment to store cloud data safely.


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Daniel Hein

Dan is a tech writer who writes about Enterprise Cloud Strategy and Network Monitoring for Solutions Review. He graduated from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein