Technology|Cloud Computing March 13, 2019 Last Updated: March 13, 2019

According to CIO, cloud computing adoption among enterprises soared to 96 percent during 2018. With this relentless push towards the cloud, it makes sense for businesses to spend time trying to understand and evaluate the different types of cloud implementations available to them.

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By accessing computing resources as services via an Internet or private network connection, the cloud provides a host of benefits to business users. Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduced capital costs on IT equipment such as servers and data centers.
  • The ability to effortlessly scale upwards and facilitate greater workloads.
  • Straightforward to use and effective for business continuity purposes.
  • Anytime, anywhere access to data and applications, giving employees greater flexibility in their work.


While many people associate cloud computing with the idea of accessing storage or other computing resources via the Internet, there are actually three main types of cloud setup that enterprises can opt for—public, private, or hybrid.

This article defines these types of clouds before elaborating on some of their respective pros and cons. When you finish reading, you’ll be better placed to choose a public, private or hybrid cloud implementation.


Public Cloud

The public cloud refers to the use of computing resources as services via the public Internet from a third-party provider who makes such resources available to customers. Resources are mostly shared among several different clients, making the public cloud a multi-tenancy model, however, the resources are logically isolated from each other.

Some public cloud services such as Google Docs are free, while enterprise cloud services such as AWS typically are paid for on an on-demand basis. The monthly cost for individual public cloud services provided by companies like AWS or Microsoft Azure can be based on anything from CPU cycles to bandwidth to gigabytes of storage used.

The most widely used cloud services are storage options such as Dropbox or AWS S3, business apps like Office 365 and Salesforce, and services such as Google Cloud, Azure, or EC2 that provide computing power for developing and hosting apps.

However, the diversity of available public cloud services continues to grow with increased competition, and the sector is moving beyond the fundamentals of storage, SaaS, and compute.

The AWS Workspaces service, for example, provides a fully managed cloud-based desktop service for businesses to easily provision virtual desktops for an unlimited number of users. This is particularly useful for companies looking to give workers more freedom in terms of working remotely in a secure manner with all the tools they need for their jobs available on each customizable desktop.

As reported by Forbes, LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020 survey forecasts that 41 percent of enterprise workloads will be run on public cloud platforms by 2020. With rapid growth and innovation driving increased adoption, let’s examine the main pros and cons of the public cloud model.


  • Usability—companies can easily get started with the storage, apps, or computing resources they need in a matter of minutes.
  • Scalability—increasing your available public cloud resources to facilitate larger workloads is often as simple and cost-effective as clicking a few buttons.
  • Cost—there are zero hardware investment costs in using public cloud services because all equipment is owned and maintained by the public cloud service provider.


  • Performance—public cloud performance relies on Internet connectivity, which is slower than a local connection. Performance can notably suffer for certain cloud services versus their on-premise counterparts.
  • Security—trusting business data to a third party provider involves a loss of control and a movement of information to outside the organizational firewall, leading to security concerns.

Private Cloud

A private cloud provides IT infrastructure dedicated to a single client via a private connection, which is typically an internal local network connection but could be a private network connection. The private cloud uses proprietary infrastructure in an on-premise enterprise data center or, less frequently, an off-site location.

The private cloud market is wider in diversity than the public cloud because it takes proprietary hardware, software, and even services to create a private cloud. HPE and Dell are big players in private cloud hardware. Oracle and IBM offer a range of management and integration tools to simplify how enterprises work with private clouds. Some specific pros and cons of private clouds follow.


  • Security—because private clouds are for a single client and are accessible only to that client, they are more secure and better suited for housing sensitive data or meeting compliance requirements such as GDPR or HIPAA.
  • Performance—latency is minimized and performance generally better when connecting to a private cloud versus a public cloud.
  • Customization—you get greater control over computing resources and more options for infrastructure customization tailored to specific business needs. In the public cloud, the design is tailored to what the average business client needs. 


  • Cost—private clouds are more expensive to set up than public clouds. There are hardware, deployment, management, and support costs all to take into account as opposed to the “use what you consume” model of public clouds.
  • Workload—from the complexity of the initial deployment to the ongoing maintenance, private clouds place a greater burden on the workload of IT staff and you may need to hire more staff specifically to manage the private cloud.

Hybrid Cloud

As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud aims to get the best of both worlds by using both public cloud services and a private cloud. The two clouds are connected using an encryption network connection. Enterprises can then orchestrate workloads between the two clouds depending on specific business needs.

On the face of it, combining private and public clouds in one integrated infrastructure seems to deliver obvious benefits. However, there are more nuanced pros and cons that it’s important to understand before diving in.


  • Cloud bursting—a hugely appealing draw of a hybrid model is the ability to run an enterprise’s main app workloads in a private cloud while having the option to effortlessly direct traffic to public cloud resources during periods of peak demand.
  • Disaster recovery—with the ability to spin up virtual servers in minutes on most of the main public cloud provider platforms, the combination of public cloud and private cloud is ideal for disaster recovery purposes. Main workloads run on the private cloud and the public cloud is used for simple failover during a natural or human-caused disaster that renders the private infrastructure inaccessible.
  • Flexibility—the hybrid cloud arguably offers most flexibility over workflows, storage, and other IT resources best delivered using a particular cloud type.


  • Complexity—setting up a hybrid cloud can be complex in itself. Additional complexities can arise when trying to integrate apps and data across different cloud types, such as using the private cloud to run the app and a public cloud storage system to house its data.
  • Compliance—there are difficulties in ensuring compliance using a hybrid cloud set up. Some of your sensitive data might not be suitable under compliance regulations to be stored in public cloud systems. Visibility and transparency are difficult but essential to achieve for compliance purposes.


Wrap Up

Each cloud implementation comes with its own set of pros and cons, and it is up to individual businesses to deem which of these factors are most important in making a final decision. With more innovative services such as Amazon Workspaces being released by public cloud service providers, it’s not surprising that Gartner predicted a 21.4 percent growth in the market for 2018. Ultimately, greater public cloud adoption will be achieved through trust in the security of these services, however, you can expect to see private and hybrid implementations remain popular.


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