Cloud computing is being adopted on a large scale. Gartner predicts the cloud will become “a new business tool” by 2027. The fact of the matter is, that the majority of modern businesses require cloud-native capabilities delivered by cloud service providers.
Tech giants are not making out-of-the-box software anymore. Before long, the only option for businesses is to adopt cloud technologies as critical tools. The question you have to ask is whether public cloud services or private cloud solutions are the best for your business.
In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of both and seek to answer the question for you. Are you all in on public cloud services or private cloud solutions? Alternatively, a hybrid cloud environment might be better.
What Are Public Cloud Services?
Public cloud services are a category of cloud computing services that are provided over the internet by third-party cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon AWS.
These services are made available to the general public or a large industry group. Users can access them as a pay-as-you-go service or an annual subscription.
From a business perspective, public cloud services provide on-demand resources that can be scaled up or down based on user needs. This scalability allows organisations to adapt to changing workloads and requirements in a cost-effective way.
Cost efficiency is one of the key selling points — and often a deciding factor for SMEs when making the choice between public cloud services or private cloud solutions. With a public cloud subscription, you don’t have to invest in and maintain your own infrastructure, or consistently develop it moving forward.
On the contrary, public cloud providers offer a wide range of managed services, including computing power (Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS), databases, storage, machine learning, analytics, and more. Users can leverage these services without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.
Consequently, public clouds are suitable for a variety of user cases, from hosting websites and applications to running complex data analytics and artificial intelligence workloads. The flexibility they offer makes public cloud services a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages.
What are the Pros of Public Cloud Services?
Public cloud providers have data centres distributed globally, providing users with the ability to access resources from anywhere with an internet connection. This enables users to access your business network from remote locations on any device.
Public clouds benefit businesses that have a distributed workforce. It fosters worker-from-home strategies and is ideal for employees on the go. Ease of access, theoretically, can also improve productivity, for example, if employees address their emails on the way to the office rather than when they arrive, they can easily add an hour’s worth of productivity onto their day.
Resources in a public cloud environment are accessible by multiple users. Subsequently, two or more people can access the same files from different locations and work with one another as though they are sitting together in a meeting. Sharing information, ideas and content is also easier through various cloud tools such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive.
Innovation and Rapid Deployment
Public cloud providers consistently improve existing technologies and introduce new tools that enhance user experience. The cloud makes it easier for businesses to access these services on-demand and can help to get you to where you want to be faster than if you had to develop these tools in-house.
Access to Managed IT Support Services
Public cloud service providers are typically supported by managed IT support services that provide the cloud service on behalf of the tech provider. For example, Micro Pro provides the cloud services offered by Microsoft, such as Microsoft 365 and Azure.
The benefit of working with managed IT support services also gives you more opportunities for productivity, growth and enhanced security. Outsourced IT teams offer more services than a public cloud provider and employ experienced IT specialists who help to reduce the burden on in-house IT teams and provide expertise that fills a skills gap.
What are the Cons of Public Cloud Services?
Reliance on Internet Connection
Public clouds are only accessible over the internet, therefore users rely on a strong Wi-Fi connection to maintain productivity. In many cases, businesses have to rely on their Internet Service Provider (ISPs) to provide adequate bandwidth that delivers fast connection speeds.
This can pose a problem for work-at-home employees — because as we know too well, ISPs rarely provide the bandwidth you pay for. Fortunately, you can avoid connectivity problems by deploying high-availability strategies.
Public clouds may raise security concerns. This can be a huge problem for organisations that deal with sensitive or regulated data. And thanks to GDPR, any business that stores customer data is responsible for protecting “sensitive” and “regulated” data.
While cloud providers invest heavily in security, businesses may have less direct control over third-party security measures. As we have seen in the past, public cloud service providers are susceptible to data breaches.
When a company you are involved with is hacked, hackers can use your data to infiltrate your business network. In other words, you can’t rely on a public cloud service provider to fully protect your data. Best practices include adding other IT security protocols in addition to public cloud security.
Public clouds may have limitations on customisation and configuration, as users are bound by the provider’s offerings and configurations. Basically, you get what you’re given.
As a consequence, you may have to build an IT infrastructure using a raft of competing software which are not always compatible. And when competing software does not play nice, it crashes your system.
What Are Private Cloud Solutions?
A private cloud provides an IT environment that is dedicated exclusively to your business. Unlike public clouds, which are shared by multiple users, a private cloud offers greater control, security, and customisation.
The tools and the solutions you build on a private cloud are not accessible by other companies — which could give you an advantage over your competitors providing your tools are better than those offered by public cloud services.
Computing resources on a dedicated infrastructure, however, typically include hardware and software, servers, storage, and networking. This makes private clouds expensive to build and a burden to manage.
Private networks are the best option for large corporations with financial clout because they offer a higher level of isolation and security compared to public clouds. Since the resources are not shared with other organisations, there is a reduced risk of unauthorised access or data breaches.
There are two main types of private clouds
On-Premises Private Cloud: You own and operate the cloud infrastructure within its own servers.
Hosted Private Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is owned and operated by a third-party provider, but it is dedicated exclusively to your organisation. This is also known as a virtual private cloud (VPC).
Private clouds are suitable for businesses with specific security, compliance, or performance requirements that may not be fully addressed by public cloud solutions. While private clouds offer benefits in terms of control and security, they also require careful planning, management, and investment in infrastructure.
Pros of Private Cloud Solutions
Private clouds often provide more predictable performance compared to public clouds. With dedicated resources, IT teams have better control and can allocate computing power, to ensure consistent performance for their applications.
Compliance and Regulatory Adherence
Private clouds offer greater control over security configurations and data access. This makes them suitable for companies with stringent security and compliance requirements. The dedicated nature of a private cloud allows for greater control over data residency and adherence to industry-specific regulations.
Customisation and Control
Private clouds allow IT strategists to tailor your IT infrastructure to meet your specific needs, providing more control over hardware, network configurations, security policies, resource allocation and overall architecture.
Cons of Private Cloud Solutions
Higher Initial Costs
Building and maintaining a private cloud infrastructure typically involves higher upfront costs for hardware, software, and ongoing management.
Scaling a private cloud may be more challenging and time-consuming compared to the rapid scalability offered by public cloud services. Scalability may be more challenging and time-consuming compared to the rapid scalability offered by public cloud services.
Resource Management Overhead
Organisations are responsible for managing and maintaining their private cloud infrastructure, which requires dedicated IT staff and resources. Depending on how well your system functions, managing a private cloud, especially a complex infrastructure, can be a huge burden.
You also have to rely on in-house developers to innovate and scale your business network. This means they will need to understand the nature of the market and the anticipated change of the future landscape.
What are the key distinctions when deciding between public cloud services or private cloud solutions?
As we have seen public cloud services and private cloud solutions each have its own set of characteristics, advantages, and use cases. Whilst some features will broadly deliver the same benefits, the key differences are critical to the decision-making process.
Public cloud resources are accessible to all users and thus can even the playing field. Resources available in a private cloud environment are exclusively used by the organisation that develops them — and that can give you an advantage over your competitors.
Public cloud models typically follow a pay-as-you-go or subscription-based model which does not involve excessive upfront costs. A private cloud has higher upfront costs but, theoretically, is easier to predict long-term spending and could be more cost-effective. However, that may not always be the case depending on how many issues you run into an how much innovation is required.
Security and Privacy
Security measures are implemented by the cloud service provider to protect data. Any additional security measures you want to build into your IT stack will incur additional costs.
Private cloud solutions enable you to implement robust security which is often more advanced than security tools offered by public cloud providers. The cost of building your own security protocols could even be less expensive than utilising the raft of third-party tools you need to build comprehensive security defences,
Public clouds have limited customisation options as users are bound by the provider’s offerings and configurations. Private cloud solutions offer greater flexibility for customisation, allowing organisations to tailor the infrastructure to their specific needs.
Hybrid Cloud Integration
Many organisations adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, where they use a combination of private and public cloud services. This approach allows them to leverage the benefits of both models, maintaining sensitive data in the private cloud while utilising the scalability of the public cloud for certain workloads.
It’s essential to carefully evaluate the trade-offs and align your cloud strategy with your organisational goals. If you’re not sure what you will need to set up and secure a hybrid cloud environment, check out are Tips For Setting Up And Securing A Hybrid Cloud Environment.
Which is Best for Your Business — Public Cloud Services or Private Cloud Solutions?
The decision to install public cloud services or private cloud solutions largely depends on financial resources, business goals and the specific regulatory needs of your business.
We recommend considering the following:
If your business deals with highly sensitive or regulated data, a private cloud may offer more control and security.
Consider your budget and whether a pay-as-you-go model of public clouds or the upfront investment of a private cloud aligns better with your financial strategy.
Evaluate the scalability requirements of your business. If you need the ability to scale rapidly based on demand, a public cloud may be more suitable.
If your industry has specific compliance requirements, such as healthcare (HIPAA) or finance (PCI DSS), a private cloud may provide a more customisable solution to meet these requirements.
Consider the geographic distribution of your user base and whether a global presence is essential. Public clouds with distributed data centres may offer advantages in this regard.
Resource Management Capability
Assess your organisation’s capability and resources for managing and maintaining a private cloud infrastructure. If you have the expertise and resources, a private cloud might be a viable option.
IT Support in London
If you need advice or assistance with implementing and managing cloud technologies, our IT support professionals in London can automate routine tasks, orchestrate workflows and configure security settings to ensure efficient resource provisioning, scaling, and peak performance. Contact us today and speak with one of our knowledgeable team.