Private Vs Public Cloud: Securing Data Online

Public Versus Private Cloud

It goes without saying that there has been an increasing shift towards remote working in the past few years. Whether this is recession driven, or businesses are just becoming more flexible as technology moves on, remote working has grown – and with it the demand for an ever more secure cloud-based software solution. Cloud software allows businesses agility, whilst lowering costs, but businesses need to know that their access is secure. The question is: Public or Private Cloud?

What’s The Difference?

A Public Cloud is based on a standard cloud computing model where services, applications and storage are made available to users over the internet as a service in its own right. There are many types of Public Cloud, the most common being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platforms. These tend to be suitable for companies that have fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome, or are looking to outsource part of their organisational IT requirements, allowing a simple “plug in and play” approach.

Private Clouds consist of cloud infrastructure that is designed solely for the use of a single organisation. This can be managed either internally or hosted by a third party externally and they offer more scope for advanced security. They offer stand-alone solutions in their own right and they must comply with strict regulations. Businesses who choose a Private Cloud install their own server and storage hardware, whilst keeping the flexibility of shifting workloads among servers.

There is also the Hybrid Cloud option, popular with the e-commerce industry because it offers the best of both worlds at the order processing and transactional front-end stages. It keeps the actual work of processing the orders in the Public Cloud resource, whilst transactions are kept in the Private Cloud.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Several Public Cloud providers insist that there are several myths around the security of this type of cloud, as opposed to a Private Cloud. They insist that they sufficiently maintain the required levels of security and that in fact the extra software and technology involved in upping the level to a Private Cloud isn’t justified when it appears much the same to the end user. However, when you consider the business continuity aspect, as well as the impact it can have on your organisation’s reputation if you are hacked, the Private Cloud appears to be the ever-increasingly popular option.

Someone Else’s Computer

Consider this: Do you know where your information is held right now? Most of us use a cloud platform, or we have had experience of one, and therefore we assume that we are using an accredited Public Cloud software, from a well-known name or company and therefore it should be fine, right? Wrong!

When you suddenly think of the cloud as someone else’s computer, where do you think your information stored in your public cloud is being held? In my experience, people are far too complacent about data generally, and this applies to online data, data storage and other private information and passwords that we use on a daily basis.

This is even more true if you are inside an organisation, for example if you are a member of staff or an employee at a firm – and if you’re bringing in your own devices. Just because you are working within a trusted firm, it doesn’t always mean the data you are using within a Public Cloud is being stored correctly. Nor does it mean it is constantly updated with the latest software – after all they are not as stringently monitored and regulated as Private Clouds. This can result in a rather complacent “it just works” mentality, and it is also tempting to make the security of our documents and data someone else’s problem – but this is something we all should be taking responsibility for.

The Security Of Security

We all know the internet “just works”, but under the surface there is a whole different world of networks and connections. The truth is, all the time you are at the mercy of a public cloud, you will never be in control of your own individual security online.

Private Clouds offer an individual, allocated space online, which can only be accessed by authorised personnel. Not only does this lower the risk of external hacking from unwanted outsiders, but it also allows any staff working offsite to access the network safely from a remote location. Some services provide a totally separate space physically set apart from the Internet, which also allows devices on site to speak to each other without opening up the network to risk. It also lessens the risk of internal fraud, as there is a disincentive when activity can easily be traced.

So, when it comes to a Public versus a Private Cloud, it may seem as though networking a Private Cloud is more effort for not much more output, but this is simply not true. When it comes to protecting data, you can never be too careful and in the drive to make the issue of security something that everybody needs to be thinking about, then the Private Cloud wins for me every time!

Sonia Blizzard

Sonia Blizzard is the Managing Director of Beaming, a company which specialises in offering businesses reliable internet and telephony services. Coming from a corporate background in the telecoms industry, Sonia worked for a firm which is now known as BT Global Services, setting up Beaming in 2004. Sonia, who has a degree in Mandarin Chinese from Brasenose College, Oxford, lives in St Leonards near Hastings, where Beaming is currently based.