Public clouds are becoming a more popular way for internet users to store important data at a more approachable price, but, of course, this technology does come with some caveats. We’ll help you discover how a public cloud differs from other options, how it functions, and whether it’s right for you.
What Is a Public Cloud?
Before diving into the ‘whys,’ it’s vital to understand the ‘what.’ A public cloud is a cloud service that lets you store data on a shared server. The cloud service provider establishes the cloud and maintains the physical hardware that runs it. For example, Microsoft oversees the application of its cloud platform’s infrastructure, maintenance, scaling, and interactivity, Microsoft Azure.
Naturally, the cloud functions for more than just storage. People use it to run applications, stream virtual environments, and facilitate computational needs. These services are available on-demand to organizations and individuals as long as they have a public internet connection.
The only difference between a public cloud and a private cloud is the location of the infrastructure. With a private cloud, your organization (or home) houses the infrastructure, while a public cloud’s physical servers exist across a vast network of locations. Public and private cloud services can be hybridized, with services spanning different clouds.
It’s helpful to think of a public cloud as renting an apartment. You have privacy and security regarding your personal assets, while the landlord is responsible for the building at large. Private servers are more like owning a house, wherein you are free to use the space as you wish, but you’re also responsible for the upkeep. Now that you know how public clouds work, here’s how it might benefit your home.
No Infrastructure Costs
One of the main advantages that lead many homeowners to choose a private network for their needs is the low input cost to get started. You never need to buy costly hardware to establish your own data center, significantly reducing the capital expenditure you’ll need to pay upfront to use the service. With a private server, on the other hand, the infrastructure alone can be a major expense—that’s without even factoring in licensing or upkeep.
Like many other on-demand services, public cloud services charge according to the amount you use. If you have an increase in traffic, your costs will go up, but if your public cloud usage is low, your bill will be low, too.
Establishing your public cloud at home using this payment system is helpful because you can feasibly see how much of the public cloud you need to use. There’s no need to fiddle with a private server stack to ensure you’ve got ‘enough’ cloud service to meet your needs. It’s all set up and ready to use at your discretion.
If there’s one thing any homeowner or business owner wants less of, it’s maintenance. Public clouds are great not only because of how reliable they are but also because you don’t have to lift a finger to maintain the servers. Because public cloud servers are responsible for such vast swaths of data, maintenance teams are constantly on standby to fix issues as they arise, making the public cloud a viable hands-free option.
There’s a lot of concern around public clouds regarding their security, and rightly so. Public clouds that house a lot of information may well be subject to more attacks; however, it’s important not to conflate risk factors with the level of protection.
Public cloud servers are not ‘public’ in the sense that they allow anyone and everyone to rummage through your data; instead, this means that anyone can use the service for storing, running, or accessing their data. Microsoft defends the use of public clouds by arguing that “the public cloud can be as secure as the most effectively managed private cloud implementation.”
Both private and public clouds are susceptible to attacks, and both need intrusion detection and prevention systems. Therefore, using a public cloud poses no greater risk than a private cloud and might even be safer if you’re unfamiliar with setting up, running, maintaining, and updating your security measures on a private cloud.
One of the most significant advantages of a public cloud, whether for a home or a business, is scalability. Unlike a private network, which needs to be physically scaled up at the owner’s expense, a public cloud allows a user to more effectively manage high traffic and scale based on need.
Upgrades to a private cloud require renovation of the hardware, potential licensing costs for software applications, and installation of new resources; moreover, private clouds are much less capable of handling surges in traffic, at least in large part.
While scalability might not be a concern for all businesses or homes, public cloud scaling is the clear winner when it comes to automatically upgrading your computational and storage resources and buffing up the security and services you’ll need.
The last and most comforting of these benefits is that your data enjoys constant backup services. A public cloud consists of a vast network of different servers, meaning that data does not exist in one central location prone to corruption. Your data is always protected, whether a hardware failure or software malfunction. The same is not true of private networks in the majority of cases.
The Bottom Line
A public cloud is extremely beneficial at home and in the business sector. You only pay for the amount you use and can scale your public cloud usage as much or as little as you need. Since you’re not responsible for the upfront cost of infrastructure or maintenance, you can often utilize a public cloud service at a much lower price than a private cloud network. In addition, public clouds are protected with in-depth security measures to protect your personal data stored on the cloud. If you haven’t already, consider researching to find the best public cloud service for your needs today!