When “Private Clouds” Aren’t Actually Private


There was a time when cloud storage seemed to be the answer to all SMEs’ issues: it claimed to offer accessibility, scalability, and a very attractive price point. A few years later and we already know that the cloud is not a be-all-end-all solution—from pricing, security, control, and more. 

The most widely-spread alternative to the public cloud is the private cloud. Let’s take a quick look at what private cloud means and how it differs from its public counterpart.

Public Cloud versus Public Cloud—What’s the Difference Anyway?

As the name suggests, private clouds offer cloud storage for a single company or business. With public clouds, the storage space is shared and available to anyone who is willing to pay the asking rate of the provider. Private clouds are single-tenant and often specifically designed for a single user. 

When most of us think about cloud hosting, we’re thinking about the public cloud—going out to one of the big providers and paying for storage space, data usage, etc. With public clouds, data is stored on shared servers alongside other customers’ digital assets. 

On the other hand, private cloud storage through the same providers keeps a business’s data on a private server with no other customers. The server is connected to the internet but not directly to other companies’ data. 

Private clouds come with undeniable benefits when compared to public clouds:

  • They are far more customizable
  • The user gets full control over the entire server
  • Better scalability: while public clouds only offer scalability on paper (you have to fall within one of the pre-determined pricing tiers), private clouds are a bit more flexible
  • More security: since you won’t be sharing your cloud with other businesses, you can enforce and monitor your own security policies
  • More personalized services: if you opt for one of the big public cloud services, you will get what everyone gets while private clouds often come with better customization and support services

Despite the benefits of private clouds, we’re still seeing a major migration away from cloud to colocation

Private Clouds Aren’t Completely Private

On paper, private clouds offer all the advantages of public clouds but with better security and control. But that, of course, means they’re much pricier.

In addition to cost, there are other factors to think about. Even with a private cloud server, a business’s data is still connected to the larger infrastructure of the cloud hosting environment. This connection inevitably involves a security concern. 

While private clouds can be on similar infrastructure to public clouds, the security responsibilities are divided quite differently. Public cloud security is maintained by the cloud provider. But security on a private cloud often falls to the business. To fully secure a private cloud, a business has to have the expertise to do so, which wipes out many of the benefits of working with a cloud provider in the first place. 

With less scalability, a higher cost, and lingering security concerns, private clouds are often only viable for huge enterprises. What options do smallers businesses have? 

Colocation Versus Private Cloud

Colocation and private cloud hosting have a lot in common. You can control everything, including your hardware (as you do with hosted private cloud) and you have better data accessibility, especially if you opt for a colocation facility that is easily reachable.

The main differences between colocation and private cloud are cost and security concerns. Colocation is affordable and the data center handles the maintenance and security, making it a more affordable option for small and medium sized businesses.

You can read more about colocation and why it makes sense for medium and large enterprises here

Not sure that colocation is right for you? We get it—we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all either. So we’re happy to give you a tour of our facility and advise you on how to make the right choice between various storage options. Reach out to our experts for a free, no-obligation consulting call.