Pick a Cloud, Any Cloud
Certification Magazine|October 2020
Which cloud computing models best support business aims — and which ones should you learn?
AARON AXLINE

Cloud computing is the de facto technology standard for the majority of people in both their working and personal lives. The convenience and functionality of the cloud paired with powerful mobile devices that enable “always on” personal and business computing has permanently transformed our world. But, as any sky gazer can tell you, not every cloud looks the same.

There are three different primary cloud computing models: public, private, and hybrid. Each of these cloud models offers different levels of efficiency, stability, and security. Knowing what these differences are and which model best suits the requirements of a business is something every IT professional should have in their skill set.

Let’s take a closer look at cloud computing models, the pros and cons of each, and where cloud professionals should focus their training efforts based on industry adoption.

Public clouds

As its name suggests, a public cloud leverages the internet to provide businesses with online computing assets which are hosted on equipment owned by third-party cloud service providers. A company can use its “rent-a-cloud” to offer products and services to customers over the public internet, along with internal applications and resources available to employees anywhere they have internet access.

Businesses often use public cloud setups to sell software as a service (SaaS) products using B2B (business to business) or B2C (business-to-customer) arrangements. Public clouds offer great convenience to companies as they aren’t required to purchase and maintain an internal server/application infrastructure. Instead, the public cloud service providers are responsible for the management of the hardware and software used to host the cloud services.

Another key advantage of public clouds is the speed with which they can be deployed and scaled up or down according to the needs of a business. A company must spend significant time and resources to set up and maintain an onsite server room with the necessary components and protocols, and changes to the business can require costly additions to scale up its IT infrastructure.

By contrast, a public cloud service provider can deploy a new cloud in a fraction of the time required by the above-described on-premises setup. A public cloud provider can also dynamically add or remove resources according to a business’s changing requirements.

The main criticism of public clouds has to do with information security concerns. Because public clouds are accessed through the internet, they are arguably at greater risk for cyberattacks or accidental data leaks.

While this is a valid concern, the top public cloud service providers (Amazon, Microsoft, and Google lead this pack) have built their business reputations on providing secure environments. Most can be counted on to provide robust authentication and anti-intrusion measures.

Private clouds

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