At first glance, cloud computing seems fairly simple. Users connect to a remote “cloud” through which they can access documents and applications. Cloud computing is fast, convenient, and in most cases substantially cheaper than maintaining physical infrastructure. It’s also more varied than you might imagine, with several different types of cloud system available.
A public cloud is usually the first type of cloud that most people will come across. These clouds are huge, with massive amounts of available space for running applications, sharing documents, and storing data. They’re easy to access, essential for remote work, and nearly invaluable for big group projects.
Public clouds are fantastic for data sharing, accessibility, and sheer storage capacity. Their downsides lie in the areas of speed and security, though. With huge numbers of users online at once and vast amounts of stored data, these clouds don’t run fast. Similarly, lots of users often equate to less security. With mass file sharing and near open access, it’s easier for hackers and malware to infiltrate the cloud.
These clouds are much smaller and usually reserved for individual businesses that handle sensitive information. Private clouds are protected by a firewall and usually a range of other security measures, including two-factor authentication, to make access more difficult. They share all the same functionality as a public cloud, albeit on a smaller scale and with much greater privacy.
Owing to reduced traffic, private clouds tend to run much quicker than public ones. The big benefit is (obviously) security, and few companies that handle sensitive data would ever risk a public cloud.
Hybrid cloud business solutions are one of the most popular options due to their sheer flexibility and enhanced security. These systems combine the best of public clouds (easy access and sharing) with private systems (increased security and speed). Hybrids are composed of two parts: public and private clouds, which can be controlled independently. That means a faster system (applications can be sequestered when necessary) and far more flexibility.
Operators can decide who has access to what and when, and sensitive data can be protected while still allowing remote access for other applications. There aren’t many downsides associated with a hybrid cloud system, although they are slightly more complex to set up and maintain. Security privileges, levels of access, and passwords need to be reviewed regularly to keep the cloud operating smoothly, but these tasks can easily be assimilated into day-to-day IT maintenance.
Similar in scope to an expanded private cloud, these systems are the rarest. Community clouds share data and applications between a set of businesses operating in the same area. They’re privately run and still come with a range of security but, and unlike fully private clouds, more than one company will have access to them at any given time.
Community clouds are popular within sectors like government and healthcare, where different groups share common aims and require access to similar material. They’re useful for working towards a common goal but share many of the same drawbacks as public clouds, namely speed, and bandwidth issues.