It’s no secret that small and medium business (SMB) owners have discovered the cost-effective benefits that cloud services can have for their businesses. Instead of having a large IT department on the payroll and expansive server rooms with expensive hardware in-house, businesses can turn to cloud services for data storage and can access software through SaaS (software as a service) platforms. Cloud vendors even will manage all of this off-premise, nullifying the need for in-house IT.
Now that the secret is out, demand for cloud services, predictably, has increased. Considering that many SMBs now are using cloud for the first time, they have a complicated decision to make. Do they opt for the public cloud, the private cloud, or the hybrid cloud? Let’s look at what each has to offer.
Public cloud services might be ideal for SMBs looking for software and storage solutions. Some advantages of the public cloud include these:
- Cost effectiveness: Companies pay only for the storage they need, which can save them a substantial amount of money compared to the traditional way of using hardware for storage.
- Accessibility: Designated employees have access to data or software applications anywhere that they have an internet connection. The public cloud is highly accessible in comparison to the traditional company network.
- Customer service: Many cloud service providers offer around-the-clock customer service to help companies with any issues that arise.
While there are obvious benefits to the public cloud, there are also disadvantages to using it as a storage option.
- Security risk: According to a Channel Partners survey, 41% of channel partners share concern over the security of the public cloud. One of the biggest reasons for their concerns is privacy: since the public uses this service, there is a greater risk for data breach or loss.
- Availability: While cloud services are easily accessible through the internet, this isn’t always beneficial for employees who live or work in remote areas where a reliable internet connection isn’t always available. As a result, they may not be able to access the information that they need or when they need it.
Private cloud services share some of the same benefits of using public cloud services with one important addition.
- Customization: Private cloud services offer a more secure environment to transfer and house data than does a public cloud. This is because the private cloud provider works with that specific company to develop services that helps meet that business’s needs.
- Added security: Being able to customize the private cloud can result in enhanced security and better data protection.
The hybrid cloud is perfect for SMBs that want to use a cloud platform and have an on-site premise. With the hybrid cloud, businesses can transfer and store data securely through on-site solutions; meanwhile, they can store less sensitive data in the cloud. Another unique feature is that businesses can toggle between using the on-site premise and the cloud platform, thereby giving them multiple ways to house data in a secure fashion.
As all three cloud solutions continue to develop towards better meeting the needs of business owners, it’s important that companies choose the right platform for their business. Each type of cloud offers some degree of cost-effectiveness, easy accessibility, and flexible storage options. The difference resides mainly in security: transferring data through public platforms is risky—no matter who is managing that platform.