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Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud: An Explainer

Breaking down the differences between different cloud models and explaining what's best for your business.

The cloud has transformed the way that many businesses work. No longer do you have to be tied down to physical hardware located in your offices but instead you can use the power of remote servers that collectively host and manage applications, services, and data. This can give companies more flexibility and agility as well as empowering their staff to work from anywhere. 

How businesses choose to host their cloud setup can vary depending on their particular needs. There are three different cloud deployment models to consider: public, private and hybrid cloud. 

To know what’s going to be best for your business, you’ve got to understand the difference between these models and weigh it up against your own requirements for security, control, scalability and costs. 


Cloud computing


The cloud gives you access to all your digital resources without being tied to any physical location. Your data, software and systems are stored and accessed over the internet instead of being confined to a specific computer or office server. 

The power of the cloud comes from virtualisation. This is when physical resources are turned into virtual ones, which makes them easier to manage. Rather than relying on dedicated physical hardware for each application or task, virtualisation allows multiple virtual instances or machines to operate on a single physical server. These are then brought together with orchestration to utilise these resources more efficiently, effectively and reliably. 

Because you’re not tied to a physical location, you’re able to deploy applications faster, easily integrate new tools and access everything from anywhere with an internet connection. You can also scale up and down the resources you need easily so you only pay for what you need and avoid any upfront costs.  


Public Cloud 


With public cloud, the computing resources are provided by a third-party company via the internet. These resources are shared by all of the different companies and individuals who need them which means you may be using the same physical rack servers as a number of other people.  

This is usually charged with a subscription or a pay-per-usage model, although some providers will also offer a more limited version for free. 

Public cloud is often referred to as a multi-tenant model, where different users are all coexisting on the same infrastructure but remain isolated from each other. This allows businesses to get whatever resources they need on-demand and scale up or down as needed. It also gets rid of the need for upfornt investment in physical hardware as the cloud service provider manages and maintains the underlying infrastructure. 


Benefits of Public Cloud: 


Cost Savings 

As you don’t have to invest upfront in any hardware infrastructure, the barrier to entry is much lower. You’re also getting the benefit of economy of scale as these cloud providers will operate at a massive scale and have invested heavily in their resources, bringing the cost to the end use way down. Also, as most public cloud providers offer a pay-as-you-go type subscription, the amount you pay will depend on what you use.  



When you’re on a public cloud, you can easily and quickly scale the resources you use up or down depending on your current needs. As resources are shared between several companies, they can be dynamically allocated so that when one company needs more resources and another needs less, this is automatically adjusted to be as efficient as possible. 



One of the major benefits of public cloud is that you’re making the most of the massive investment that these major companies have put into their data centres giving you a level of resources you wouldn’t be able to access with private cloud. This includes levels of redundancy built in that means that if one server were to go down, you’ll still be able to stay connected.  


Private Cloud 


Unlike with a public cloud setup, where the resources are dynamically shared between several different users, a private cloud is dedicated solely to your business. It can either be run on-premises or from an external data centre run by a third-party company.  

As you’ve got a dedicated space and resources, you also will be able to customise, control and configure your setup to work exactly as you need it to. But this comes with the downside of the private cloud often being more intensive to run compared to the more ‘hands-off’ approach of public cloud.  


Benefits of Private Cloud: 


Security and Compliance 

Private cloud is generally more secure than public cloud as all of your data and systems remain isolated and are only accessible to your business. As it’s also highly customisable, you can also implement custom security configurations, control access and change authentication settings to get deeper control over security measures. You’ll generally also get greater visibility and tracking over everything which makes private cloud a better pick for those working with sensitive data. 



As you have a dedicated space for your cloud setup, you also get complete control over the way it works. You can tailor configurations to exact requirements, control security or optimise for specific applications and workloads. This is important as it means that not only can you set things up to work as efficiently as possible, but it can also make adhering to compliance standards easier. 



As you don’t have to share resources with anyone else, private cloud users will often see a higher level of performance than they would on public cloud. They’re also customisable which means users can optimise to work more efficiently for their exact workflows. Some private cloud providers will allow customisability over the hardware used, further improving the performance of the setup. 


Hybrid Cloud 


For many companies, a hybrid cloud setup will be a ‘best of both worlds’ fit. This consists of having some of your business resources working on a private cloud and others on a public cloud. This allows you to have the benefits of the private cloud in terms of extra security and customisability for their more sensitive and important data and systems. But unlike a purely private setup, you’ll also get the cost-saving benefits from the public cloud side which brings the total cost down. 

A company running a hybrid cloud system may choose to run only their most critical and sensitive parts on a smaller private cloud setup as they need specific controls or extra security while keeping the more day-to-day aspects of the business on a public cloud setup. 


Benefits of Hybrid Cloud: 


Cost efficiency 

As you only need to worry about putting some of your data and systems onto a private cloud, this means that the total cost is far lower than a purely private setup. The flexibility of a hybrid cloud system means that companies can adjust what they’re using and paying for as their business needs change.  



By blending the benefits of both public and private cloud, hybrid cloud users can get the best possible setup for their business. You can get both the security and customisability of private cloud and the scalability and cost benefits of public cloud in a super-efficient package. For the end user, this experience should be completely seamless so you can’t tell what’s coming from where. 


Improved scalability and agility 

With a hybrid cloud setup, you can easily adjust resources up or down without compromising on security or performance. When you need quick access to extra space for resources, you can either add to your private or public side of the hybrid setup depending on the specific needs. This allows you to quickly respond to changes in your business or the wider market. 



Get in touch

If you want to discover more about how the cloud could tranform the way you work and what options are best for your business, get in touch with one of our experts today.

Deciding the Right Cloud Hosting for You 


No two businesses work in exactly the same way, so no cloud setup is going to be a perfect fit for everyone. To decide on what model of cloud computing will best fit your business, consider the following criteria: 



Consider the budget you’ve got for your cloud setup. Public will give you a better value, low cost option while private will cost more and hybrid will sit somewhere in the middle depending on the ratio you go for.  


Data sensitivity and compliance: 

If you’re working in a field where you regularly handle sensitive data, such as healthcare, finance or legal services, you’ll likely need at least some level of private cloud. This will give you the extra level of security you need to stay safe and compliant. 


Scalability and flexibility: 

Public or hybrid cloud setups will generally be a better fit for companies who need to rapidly scale and adapt their resources. Think about how likely you are to want to change up your resources depending on the work you’re doing. 


Performance requirements: 

Some companies may need the extra speed and performance that a private cloud setup can offer but many other companies may find this overkill for the work they do. Think about how quickly you need access to your resources and whether your existing setup is slowing you down. 


Your existing systems: 

Think about the existing infrastructure and systems you already use to do work day-to-day. Private cloud is generally highly customisable which means you can often adapt to seamlessly integrate with your current systems while public can sometimes require more adjustments. 


Cloud partner: 

When you’re moving systems and data to the cloud, you’ll need an experienced partner backing you up. Take the time to carefully consider who you’ll work with and look for someone who can give you expertise and experience facilitating public, private and hybrid cloud and will offer impartial advice on what’s the best fit for your business. 


Cloud with Thinc 

At Thinc, we’ve got years of experience helping businesses get onto the cloud. We can offer our own custom private cloud, a public cloud powered by Microsoft Azure, or a mix of the two. 

We’ll work closely with you to get to know exactly how your business works and figure out the best setup for you. We’ll also help securely migrate all of your current systems and data over and offer ongoing support to make sure you get the most out of your system. 

Learn more about cloud with Thinc, or contact our team today for expert no-obligation advice. 

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