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The term “cloud” has become so ubiquitous in the past decade that sometimes it is hard to discern just what exactly it means. You can say your data is “in the cloud”, but which one? Just like clouds in nature, there are different types of clouds in the data management world. Each one serves a different purpose and is best suited for different organizations and industries. In this post, we will explain the different types of cloud deployment and highlight the differences and similarities between each mode of cloud computing services.
The term cloud deployment refers to the way a cloud platform is implemented and hosted, and who has access to it. All cloud computing deployments operate on the same principle by virtualizing the computing power of servers into segmented, software-driven applications that provide processing and storage capabilities.
A public cloud is a platform that uses the standard cloud computing model to make resources, such as virtual machines, applications, or storage, available to users remotely. Public cloud services may be offered free or offered through a variety of subscription or pay-per-usage options.
In the basic public cloud computing model, a third-party provider hosts scalable, on-demand IT resources and delivers them to users over the internet or a dedicated network. The public cloud provider supplies the infrastructure needed to host and deploy workloads in the cloud. It also offers tools and services to help customers manage cloud applications, such as data storage, security and monitoring.
Private clouds usually reside behind a firewall and are utilized by a single organization. A completely on-premises cloud may be the preferred solution for businesses with very tight regulatory requirements, though private clouds implemented through a colocation provider are gaining in popularity. Authorized users can access, utilize, and store data in the private cloud from anywhere, just like they could with a public cloud. The difference is that no one else can access or utilize those computing resources.
Private clouds offer both security and control, which is essential to organizations whose industry has tight regulatory restrictions. This additional control of a private cloud makes it easier to restrict access to sensitive client information and ensures that a company has the ability to move its data and applications where it wants, whenever it wants. A private cloud is not affected by a public cloud provider’s system downtime and you get the technical support from the private cloud provider that usually includes disaster recovery.
However, a private cloud comes at a greater cost than a public cloud. The company that owns the cloud is responsible for both the software and the infrastructure.
Simply put, a hybrid cloud, as its name implies, combines a public cloud with a private cloud. Hybrid clouds are designed to allow the two platforms to interact seamlessly, with data and applications moving from one cloud to the other. It is a great solution for an organization that needs a little of both options and is usually dependent upon industry and size.
There are two commonly used types of hybrid cloud architecture. Cloudbursting uses a private cloud as its primary cloud, storing data and housing proprietary applications in a secure environment. When service demands increase, however, the private cloud’s infrastructure may not have the capacity to keep up. This is where the public cloud comes into play. A cloudbursting model uses the public cloud’s capacity to supplement the private cloud, allowing the organization to handle increased demand without having to purchase new servers or other infrastructure.
The second type of hybrid cloud model also runs most applications and houses data in a private cloud environment but outsources non-critical applications to a public cloud provider. This arrangement is common for organizations that need to access specialized development tools (like Adobe Creative Cloud), basic productivity software (like Microsoft Office 365), or CRM platforms (like HubSpot). Multi-cloud architecture is often deployed here, incorporating multiple cloud service providers to meet a variety of unique organizational needs.
The primary advantage of a hybrid cloud model is its ability to provide the scalable computing power of a public cloud with the security and control of a private cloud. Data can be stored safely behind the firewalls and encryption protocols of the private cloud, then moved securely into a public cloud environment when needed. This is especially helpful in the age of big data analytics, when industries like healthcare must adhere to strict data privacy regulations.
Because of the combination of the two cloud models, it can be cost effective, though the initial expenditure for the private cloud should be considered. These costs can, in some ways, be recouped later, when scalability and growth can be handled on the public cloud when that becomes necessary. And you will want to make sure you use a cloud service provider (CSP) that has experience in the hybrid cloud model and the security risks involved with two servers who communicate and share data.
Although not as commonly used as the other three models, community clouds are a collaborative, multi-tenant platform used by several distinct organizations to share the same applications. The users are typically operating within the same industry or field and share common concerns in terms of security, compliance, and performance.
In essence, a community cloud is a private cloud that functions much like a public cloud. The platform itself is managed privately, either in a data center or on-premises. Authorized users are then segmented within that environment. These deployments are commonly used by government agencies, healthcare organizations, financial services firms, and other professional communities.
Like the other models, scalability is a benefit and at a cost that can be shared across organizations. Further, because of common security needs, organizations can know that they’re compliant with any industry regulations.
An experienced CSP will be able to discuss with you what type of cloud deployment is best for your organization, based upon your industry, budget, needs, business goals, and regulatory restrictions. Choosing which cloud model to deploy should be based upon the overall strategic needs of your business.
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