Cloud computing for modern businesses.

3 Types of Clouds: Which is Right for You?

If your business doesn’t have a solid plan for backing up data, you’re tempting fate. Not only are your physical hard drives and servers limited by finite space, but if they crash you may be in serious trouble.

Cloud storage is becoming the go-to approach for keeping your data secure and always accessible. The cloud doesn’t require any physical equipment on your side and there are many different platforms and pricing tiers.

In other words, there’s bound to be a cloud service that meets your needs.

The three general types of cloud storage services are public, private and hybrid. But do you know enough about your options?

Find out what makes each cloud setup unique and the pros and cons for business use.

Related: What Does the Modern Cloud Look Like?

Public Cloud

Public cloud storage is owned and operated by a third-party provider, managed in a remote data center and delivered over the internet. You use a subscription service to manage pricing and service levels. Multiple businesses (“tenants”) share these remote resources to efficiently and reliably support applications and data for online, testing and development services.

Pros: Public cloud services are usually very cost-effective because you are sharing costs and maximizing reliability across more servers. You benefit from the latest and greatest technology without having to purchase it, house it, or manage it.

This type of storage is also scalable, so you can buy more as your business grows. Public cloud services have end-to-end encryption to keep your data safe. The off-site data center location gives you extra redundancy for your working and backup data.

Cons: The public cloud service will be owned and operated by a third-party provider, so the terms and conditions could change. That can affect the cost, level of service (storage or bandwidth) or performance you expect.

You are also limited in which data and applications you can locate in the shared public cloud. After all, it’s, not a dedicated environment. You’ll lose a certain amount of control and security with public cloud storage, in exchange for savings and simplicity.

Related: How Does the Cloud Work, and How Does It Benefit Your Business?

Private Cloud

Private cloud storage is just as it sounds: a totally private storage center. The data center can be located on-site at your business or hosted remotely with a service provider, but the equipment and software are not shared with any other entity. Government, financial and healthcare organizations often favor private cloud for their business-critical operations.

Pros: With total control over the infrastructure and application resources, you have increased security and flexibility with a private cloud setup. Private cloud servers are the perfect solution for securing and scaling critical customer and financial systems to meet compliance demands. You can also customize a private cloud to your specific IT requirements.

Cons: With greater control comes greater expense. A private cloud server requires additional  maintenance, whether you pay a provider or hire dedicated staff for the extra oversight. Hosting servers on-site also increases your risk of threat from natural disasters or internal breach.

Related: From Obscurity to Ubiquity: How the Cloud Became A Tech Essential

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud solutions strike a balance between public and private clouds. You can operate certain critical systems on your dedicated server and handle  high-volume, lower-security activity on a remote public server. Many businesses use a public server for general access applications and private cloud storage for daily internal operations and reporting.

Pros: A hybrid cloud model allows you to mitigate the higher cost of a private cloud setup by utilizing public cloud options for less critical applications or data. You can enjoy the efficiency of the public cloud alongside the control of the private option. The hybrid setup also allows for greater operational flexibility. Hyprid clouds do that by balancing or sharing resources during seasonal activity peaks that may temporarily overload private cloud capacity.

Cons: Operating resources across two different environments can make data backup and recovery more complicated depending on how you split your storage. You will also need to monitor multiple security protocols and carefully organize your operational processes to ensure full coverage, performance and availability.

Cloud computing and storage is a convenient and increasingly common way to more effectively manage diverse applications and data for businesses of all sizes. Combined with managed IT services, cloud computing options can create a seamless network solution.

Related: The Managed Services Pre-flight Checklist