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The Road to the Cloud – What is Private Cloud?

Christian Lete
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Christian Lete
June 11, 2020
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Clouds are servers, or networks of servers, on which corporate applications or services are provided over the internet. Private cloud companies usually take care of infrastructure, server space, security, and application management themselves.

In a public cloud, companies are provided with a predefined selection of services via their data center and are not responsible for any of the management of their cloud hosting solution. The data is stored in the provider’s data center and the provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of the data center.

This relieves many companies enormously: They don’t have to operate cloud services in their own data center and save hardware and software resources as well as associated maintenance work.

Many companies rely on the private cloud to operate their own applications and hope to achieve better data protection standards than in the public cloud. But did you know that the private cloud is not automatically more secure than other cloud variants?

What are the features of the private cloud?

A private cloud promises exclusivity, i.e. only companies and their employees can access their applications themselves. Most companies operate not only standard solutions but in particular individual applications via a private cloud. They can also determine the server location when using a private cloud: As a rule, they operate the server either on their own premises or with a cloud service provider.

Control over the server location tends to make a private cloud more secure. Access paths provide additional security. Authorized users access the cloud services either directly via the company’s own network or via VPN connection. 

In many cases, companies are responsible for managing their private cloud themselves. They then take care of security aspects, updates, and ongoing server operation etc.. 

What advantages does the private cloud offer?

A private cloud not only provides exclusivity but also brings a number of other advantages:

  • Individuality: Companies retain control over their applications. The IT infrastructure of a private cloud is tailored to individual business processes. 
  • Flexibility: Customers can and usually must operate their private cloud with their own IT infrastructure. Here they can decide for themselves whether they want to update, expand, or scale it, for example. With a public cloud, the cloud provider specifies the services and their configuration options. 
  • Security: With a private cloud, companies retain control over their data, and also full control over the choice of security mechanisms. Private clouds cannot be accessed via public websites. Access is either via the company’s own intranet or with a VPN connection. Hackers, therefore, find it much more difficult to locate a private cloud.

One cloud – four variants

Depending on how much server space, IT skills or time resources companies have, there are various private cloud variants available. 

  1. Internal Private Cloud
    The name says it all: this form of private cloud is operated internally by companies. This means that companies operate a cloud system via their own IT infrastructure and servers in their own building.
  2. Hosted Private Cloud
    Companies do not operate this form of private cloud in their own data center. The provider takes care of this. The responsibility for updates, maintenance work, and security aspects remains with the customer
  3. Managed Private Cloud
    By operating  the cloud on their own IT infrastructure cloud providers relieve their customers of maintenance work and updates. Like nine, some providers also guarantee high-security standards and round-the-clock support.
  4. Community Private Cloud
    This variant is a special form of a private cloud where several companies access the cloud services. Typically, many companies opt for a community private cloud when they work on joint projects and use the same data and services.

Misconceptions about the private cloud

A private cloud does offer advantages. However, it also often causes misunderstandings. A private cloud is not automatically more secure than other cloud variants.

It does have the advantage that companies retain data sovereignty and the cloud is harder for hackers to find. But that doesn’t automatically mean greater data protection, because companies are responsible for security standards in the private cloud themselves. If they do not protect the cloud sufficiently, they are correspondingly vulnerable to attacks.

These and other challenges should be kept in mind:

  • The private cloud is also on the Internet. Even if it is harder to find – it is to be found.
  • There are only a few service providers that offer good support for a private cloud. Companies may face a long search in this regard. 
  • If the data center’s servers go down, the private cloud services also come to a standstill. You can avoid this by spreading them across multiple data centers. However, this will incur higher costs.
  • A private cloud is not something that companies can provide globally to all employees. They first need the right IT infrastructure. 

For whom is private cloud suitable?

Many companies operate extensive and complex applications, e-shops, or customer and information portals. 

The private cloud is particularly suitable for handling sensitive data. Companies for whom this is of interest are, for example, companies from the healthcare industry. These companies work with health data and are required by law to strictly protect all data. Companies in this sector are themselves responsible for protecting their own data and that of their patients and often operate a private cloud in order to meet this obligation.

Home office and web solutions designed for communication between different locations can also be provided with individual cloud services. With a private cloud, companies can ensure high-security standards and simple but protected access for employees to applications and data. Even outside of their local workplace. 

Companies with particularly critical data often have their own solutions in the form of the internal private cloud. They have their own servers, their own IT infrastructure, and corresponding know-how. Therefore, the complete control and individual design of the cloud solution, but also the risk of failure and the need for external protection lies directly with them.

Companies that secure their data well, but do not (yet) have servers or IT infrastructure, often consider a public cloud solution in addition to the private cloud. The latter is usually associated with lower costs and also offers the advantage of being able to benefit from infrastructure improvements and updates without having to develop them themselves. Another solution is to outsource the applications to the private cloud of an external hoster and have them partly managed by the cloud service provider. Here, hardware management and cloud management are outsourced or the expertise of a cloud service provider is purchased.

Tip: It is important here to agree exactly which services the hoster is responsible for and for which the company itself must provide solutions. Updates are a particularly relevant topic here. It is best to clarify these questions right at the beginning.  

A private cloud is suitable for many scenarios.specially for companies that already have their own know-how and IT structures and want to benefit from customizable cloud services.

Private cloud or not? – The nine cloud navigators help with the decision

Which cloud solution is best for a company is not always obvious at first glance. On the way to the cloud, the situation of the company must always be considered: Costs, resources, know-how, existing structures, and of course the intended applications and data to be stored must be taken into account in finding the best cloud solution.

As your cloud navigators, we at nine are happy to accompany you on your way to the cloud: We advise you from the start and work with you to find the right solution.

If you have any further questions about the private cloud or alternative cloud solutions, please contact the Nine cloud navigators.