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Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud: What You Need to Know in 12 Minutes

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Chapter 1

A guide to public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud

Cloud computing

Cloud computing has the potential to transform your business IT. Discover the different types of models and how to choose the one that best suits your business goals.

Understanding the different cloud computing models is essential to deploying the right solution to suit your IT strategy.   

There are three types to choose from:
  1. The pay-as-you-go, shared option of the public cloud; 
  2. The more customisable, dedicated private cloud; 
  3.  A hybrid cloud service that combines the benefits of the two, utilising existing legacy IT   

Each comes with significant business benefits. But which option is best for your organisation varies greatly depending on your computing support and security requirements.  

In this guide, we’ll cover what cloud computing is, the different types of cloud deployment models and how to choose the best one to suit your business goals. 

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What is cloud computing?

The shift to cloud computing has been rising for over a decade. However, with the increase in remote and hybrid working, the move has accelerated as businesses of all sizes look to stay competitive, resilient and innovative. 

One of the most significant advantages of cloud computing is its accessibility, allowing your teams to work anytime, anywhere. This efficiency and the need to streamline business processes mean cloud technologies are more popular than ever.

But what is cloud computing, and how does it work? 
Cloud computing is a service that allows users to access applications, data, servers and more via the internet. The term is based on the idea of a cloud being a central location where you can store data or run applications.

Led by a Managed Services Provider (MSP) like M247, cloud computing offers an alternative to installing and maintaining on-premise software, such as in-house servers or data centres. Not only does it offer a more secure solution, it also takes away the associated capital expenses (CapEx) of owning your own infrastructure.  

The MSP will make cloud services available, and businesses typically only pay for what they use, according to their requirements. This pay-as-you-go model can greatly benefit businesses in managing and predicting their IT budgets. 

Along with cost savings, there are many advantages of moving to cloud computing, including enhanced security, scalability, and flexibility.   

Cloud computing services can be organised into four broad categories:   

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Access applications hosted by cloud providers using a web browser on a subscription or per-user basis

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Create web or mobile apps without the complexity of building and maintaining the underlying infrastructure

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Rent IT infrastructure such as servers, networks, and storage from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis

  • Serverless Computing: Get backend services on an as-used basis, freeing up your time to focus on code rather than managing infrastructure

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There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud.  

With the public cloud, organisations enjoy the cost savings and more straightforward deployment of a shared environment. In comparison, a private cloud offers a more customisable platform dedicated to one organisation.   

Blend cloud platforms with on-premise legacy systems, and you get the best of both worlds with a hybrid solution. Hybrid cloud computing can also mix public and private clouds.      

Let's delve deeper into the differences between each cloud service, including which solution could be best for your business.  

Chapter 2

Public cloud vs. private cloud vs. hybrid cloud - the key differences

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What is public cloud?

The most common way of utilising cloud computing is a third-party MSP that delivers public clouds to users over the internet or a dedicated network. As the name suggests, users share computing services with other customers in a public cloud, while keeping their data hidden from other cloud tenants. 

How does it work?
The cloud provider owns, manages and supplies all the supporting infrastructure needed to host and implement applications in the cloud. The provider also usually offers tools such as data storage, security, and monitoring to help organisations manage cloud workloads.

Some big public-private cloud computing companies include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) 
  • Microsoft Azure 
  • Google Cloud Platform 
  • IBM Cloud 
  • Oracle Cloud 
  • Alibaba Cloud
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Advantages and Downsides: Public Cloud

Advantages

  • Lower costs with a subscription-based pricing tier and no CapEx

  • Easy to deploy as the cloud provider owns the infrastructure

  • High flexibility and scalability to meet workload and user demands

  • Save time and money as the cloud provider manages it 

Downsides 

  • Less technical control since your IT infrastructure is in the hands of the provider

  • Security vulnerabilities as the risk of a breach can be greater in a shared environment

  • Limited customisation with a one-size-fits-all approach for all shared users  

  • Lack of visibility means you can end up paying more than you expect

How much does it cost?
Typically, public clouds are sold according to subscription-based or pay-per-usage pricing models. There’s also no CapEx with cloud computing, making it an attractive choice for organisations that don’t have the investment to deploy and maintain the IT infrastructure.

Usage patterns determine the cost of the public cloud. However, this isn’t always easy to predict. So, if you get it wrong, the costs could spike, and you might not find out until it’s too late. 

When to use the public cloud 
A public cloud provides an affordable and flexible option, ideal for smaller or growing businesses. But this option offers the least visibility and control into the infrastructure, which might not be the best choice for organisations with regulatory compliance obligations.

What is private cloud?

While multiple businesses share a public cloud, a private cloud is dedicated solely to a single organisation, and the cloud computing resources are delivered through a secure private network. 

How does it work? 
With a private cloud, you can either host data on-premise or off-site by a third-party service provider.   

As the services and infrastructure aren’t shared with any other organisation, a private cloud offers a more secure setting. However, this puts the responsibility of security wholly on a business, so it’s important to consider whether you have the technical expertise to work with a private cloud alone. If not, there is the option to work with a MSP.

Some of the big private cloud computing companies include:   

  • AWS 
  • Microsoft 
  • Google 
  • Cisco 
  • IBM 
  • VMware

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Advantages and Downsides: Private Cloud

Advantages

  • Customisable to meet the unique needs of your business

  • Predictable server usage, so it can be easier to forecast and manage costs

  • More control over your data and infrastructure

  • Meet compliance with greater control over your data

Downsides

  • Higher costs to set up, maintain and staff the infrastructure

  • Slower to deploy, with technical expertise required

  • Limited scalability, often requiring more time and resources to adjust

How much does it cost?
Due to its exclusive environment, the private cloud is more expensive and has a higher total cost of ownership than the public cloud.

Typically, there aren’t that many metrics you can be charged for with the private cloud. So, it’s a bit easier to forecast than the public cloud. However, it's going to be a lot more inflexible. For example, on certain public cloud services, you can get billed by the minute in terms of your consumption, but with the private cloud, you’re entirely at the discretion of the person owning it.

When to use the private cloud
A private cloud offers all the benefits of a public cloud, but in a more secure environment dedicated to one organisation. Therefore, a private cloud is suitable for mission-critical systems where performance, continuity, and security are vital.

The private cloud is also a good choice for organisations with specific security regulations. For instance, government agencies that are obligated to know where their data is stored and processed.

Read our blog for more on when a dedicated private cloud solution makes the most sense.

What is hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud combines a private and public cloud into a single, flexible infrastructure to run workloads. By connecting private cloud services and public clouds, organisations have the flexibility to choose the best cloud for each application.

How does it work? 
You can use public clouds for high-volume work with lower security requirements, such as emails, while the private cloud is in place for more sensitive operations requiring a higher level of security. 

Protecting systems and data across multiple cloud environments can be more complicated, so it’s important to keep in mind that investing in your cybersecurity is essential when considering a hybrid cloud service.  

Some big public hybrid cloud computing companies include:   

  • AWS 
  • Microsoft Azure 
  • Google Cloud Platform 
  • Alibaba Cloud 
  • Oracle Cloud   
  • VMware  
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Advantages and Downsides: Hybrid Cloud

Advantages

  • Flexibility to transfer resources from an on-site private cloud to a public cloud and vice versa

  • Improved security by keeping sensitive data on a dedicated infrastructure you have more control over

  • Use existing resources and infrastructure to lower costs and achieve a good ROI

  • Customise the private end of your hybrid cloud model to meet your specific needs 

Downsides 

  • More complex to implement and manage

  • Limited visibility of your cloud environment

  • Network bottlenecks can occur when transferring data between private and public clouds

  • Security challenges when mixing the infrastructure of both private and public clouds

How much does it cost? 
There are too many metrics to answer that high level. However, with the cost of the software needed to build and manage your cloud, server costs and interconnection costs, a hybrid cloud can potentially have a high total cost of ownership.   

Furthermore, switching between public and private can be hard to track, which can cause wasteful spending. 

When to use a hybrid cloud 
A hybrid cloud can come at a higher cost. Still, its improved flexibility and security make it the perfect choice for businesses that already have the systems and resources in place to move between different operations according to their needs. 

A hybrid approach will be necessary for organisations with legacy applications in the backend that are vital to their operations. Similarly, an organisation might keep its sensitive data on a private cloud but have specific systems they’re comfortable hosting on a public tab.

Chapter 3

Cloud security, Migration and Considerations

Cloud Security

As cyber attacks continue to grow in sophistication, cloud security remains a primary concern for businesses considering making the move.   

With various- plans in place and centralised security, cloud providers offer a secure data backup and storage solution, with the cloud steadily surpassing on-premise security solutions. However, like its legacy IT environment counterparts, cloud security should be a top priority for any organisation.

What is cloud security?  

Cloud security refers to the tools, procedures and best practices used to protect cloud environments and your critical data. 

In a nutshell, cloud security comprises: 

  • Data security 
  • Identity and access management 
  • Governance (policies on threat prevention, detection, and mitigation) 
  • Data retention and business continuity planning 
  • Legal compliance

 

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Who is responsible for cloud security? 
It is important to remember that most cloud solutions, including AWS and Microsoft Azure, run on a shared responsibility model. 

This means an organisation’s MSP is not solely responsible for security. Instead, the MSP is responsible for ensuring the infrastructure is secure, such as the physical protection of its servers. The cloud customer is then responsible for what they can control, such as user accountability.   

How do I keep my data secure on the cloud? 
While the cloud provides a highly secure data backup and storage, taking your own steps to safeguard your data is critical. Adhering to standard cybersecurity practices is essential to protecting your data in the cloud.   

Here are four ways you can increase cloud security:   

  1. Set up multifactor authentication (or two-step verification) to add an extra level of protection to your accounts  
  2. Use strong passwords and change them regularly. A password manager will help you generate passwords and store them securely 
  3. Educate your teams and keep them informed on keeping devices and workspaces secure, particularly when working remotely
  4. Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date and block attachments with file types commonly used for malware or ransomware 

Most importantly, things can go wrong. Whether intentional or accidental, data loss can have detrimental effects on a business. Be sure to have robust backup and disaster recovery protocols to protect your reputation, minimise downtime and reduce the risk of complete data loss if the worst happens. 

How to migrate to the cloud

Cloud migration is moving your workloads, such as data and applications, to the cloud – and it’s an integral part of any organisation’s cloud adoption. However, knowing how to make the shift and where to start can be a daunting prospect.   

That’s why having a robust plan in place is critical.   

Our 30-minute Digital Transformation – ‘How the Cloud Can Help’ webinar reveals more about understanding your cloud journey and how to plan your cloud migration. 

Watch now
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Here are four key steps to consider when planning your cloud migration strategy: 

1. Define your goals and success criteria   What do you want to achieve by migrating to the cloud? What does success look like to you? 

These are questions that all business leaders should answer before moving workloads to the cloud. 

Driving forces vary from business to business but to give you an idea, they can be to: 

  • Streamline processes and improve the user experience   
  • Increase agility in line with the new working world 
  • Meet a requirement for securing specific business 
  • Reduce operational, maintenance and upgrade costs

Whatever your reason, having clear objectives will ensure your progress can be tracked and measured. Remember to include your goals and success criteria in your overall digital transformation strategy.   

2. Choose a Managed Service Provider   
Working with a reputable MSP is crucial to successful cloud migration. What’s more, a good MSP will offer additional services to complement your cloud deployment model to ensure you achieve your goals.  

There are many providers out there, and which one you should choose depends on your needs. We recommend considering at least the following factors when selecting the right provider for your business: 

  1. Security: Where will your data be stored?   
  2. Credentials: What certifications does the MSP have to protect your data? 
  3. Capabilities: Does the MSP have the expertise and product offerings you require? 
  4. Support: Does the MSP offer 24/7/365 support?    

Check out the next section of this guide for more on what you should look for in a MSP. 

3. Select a migration strategy 
Your cloud migration strategy will fall into one or a combination of these six categories, depending on your requirements, experience, or access to suitable expertise. 

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4. Prepare a backup system, review connectivity and security
You must review and adapt your on-premise backup and security policies to suit your new way of working. Having robust cloud security standards in place from the outset will help prevent data loss and disruptions before and after the migration. 

 

Download our free Digital Transformation guide
to find out more about formulating your cloud migration strategy. 

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Choosing a Managed Service Provider

Partnering with a MSP with the expertise and proven experience of successful cloud migrations is one of the best ways to navigate and accelerate your cloud journey.

Some key benefits of partnering with a MSP include:

  • Saving money 
  • Quicker deployment   
  • Access to the latest technology   
  • Ongoing service support 
  • Advice from technical experts. 

There are many deciding factors to consider when navigating the procurement of cloud services. Here are four qualities you should be looking for in a cloud partner to help you get started: 

1. Security
Check for security features and ask questions about the provider’s data and system security levels. Also, get clarity on backup and disaster recovery provisions and both parties' security roles and responsibilities. 

Your organisation may have specific obligations on where your data is stored, processed and managed. Be sure to look for providers that meet your requirements – trusted MSPs will be transparent about this type of information. 

Other areas to look at include access and identity management, authentication, and security systems in place. 

Is it time to rethink your data management approach? Find out why effective and efficient data management is an absolute must for business security – and more! 

2. Credentials
Whether the MSP has recognised certifications is a good indicator of its expertise. Check for certifications like ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials, which show a MSP has the security controls to protect confidential data effectively. Credentials such as these demonstrate that the MSP thoroughly understands compliance and regulatory standards. 

Reputation is equally essential.   

Ask for anonymous testimonials or case studies as evidence of customer success. By asking about their work and how they implement their services, you will be able to determine the right MSP with a successful track record. 

3. Capabilities 
Do the provider’s expertise and product offerings align with your organisation’s objectives? Are they set up to support a business of your size? 

It’s vital to ensure the MSP’s technologies and services meet your needs and that you get the right level of support, not just when you’re getting started but in the long term.   

Many providers employ general support staff. It’s important to look for a team of specialists who have an in-depth understanding of cloud technologies and the cyber threat landscape for a more thorough service. 

4. Support 
Assess each cloud provider’s customer support services to find the right level for your organisation. You want to work with a reliable MSP, so checking its performance in the way of SLAs is a good place to start.   

Did you know we promise to fix tier one incidents within four hours?

MSP Support

Also, check how the MSP delivers support. Is it through a chat service or a call centre? Do you get 24/7/365 support? Working with a provider like M247 that offers round-the-clock support means you’ll always have access to specialists who can solve any technical issues quickly and effectively.   

Check out our M247 Cloud Solutions guide to learn more about our service.    

Other things to look for in a MSP include: 

  • Cost and value for money 
  • Business compatibility 
  • Tools and features 
  • Contracts and SLAs
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Further reading

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Migrating data to the cloud with M247

Whether you want lower costs with a public cloud, the dedicated infrastructure of a private cloud or the best of both worlds with a hybrid approach, each cloud service has its own benefits. And the suitability of each depends on your organisation's requirements and structure.    

We can help you choose, plan and execute the best course of action to help ensure a seamless transition to the cloud.   

Speak to one of our cloud experts today to find out more.

Get in touch
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