What is this ‘Cloud’ and Are You Using the Best One?

What is this ‘Cloud’ and Are You Using the Best One?

The Cloud – Public Cloud, Private Cloud, My Cloud, Your Cloud. Why is computing so cloudy lately?

The Term “cloud” is a loosely defined term used to describe any internet-enabled computing technology. When you snap a picture or listen to music on your smart phone, chances are pretty good that file is stored in a cloud somewhere. Conversely, when you sit down to work at your office computer, there’s also a good chance it’s using cloud computing services, whether you know it or not.

The answer, then, to “do you have the best cloud for you?” is really dependent on what type of cloud you have and how you’re using it. There are typically three primary types of clouds structures; Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds.

A good example of a Public Cloud is Google. Nearly every Google product – Gmail, Google Apps, Google Drive, YouTube, Waze, etc. – is a cloud-based application. There is, however, a key security concern with Public Cloud solutions – your data is typically “co-mingled” with other users data in the same databases and systems. This means that if someone is able to gain access, destroy, or shut down the systems serving the Public Cloud, everyone using it could be affected. And, with Google, that means virtually everyone.

A Private Cloud is usually a system owned by the business which is hosted in a secure datacenter. This is different than traditional on premise server solutions because, in a Private Cloud scenario, a centralized datacenter / server cluster may serve many different purposes for geographically dispersed offices or users. It differs from Public Cloud in that the business typically owns and controls its own hardware and infrastructure. This makes it more flexible and less vulnerable to attack.

One variation of Private Cloud infrastructure is a Semi-private Cloud structure in which a company, such as TNSC, provides clients shared Private Cloud infrastructures. In this scenario, while a company’s servers are sitting on shared hardware, each server is self-contained and any connectivity between the systems is firewalled. This means that your data is never co-mingled with another company or client. It also means that you can enjoy the flexibility, reliability and scalability of a Private Cloud without all the upfront cost to build the infrastructure yourself.

A Hybrid Cloud is typically a mixture of on premise servers and cloud solutions. For example, many small businesses now are using Microsoft’s Public Cloud for Email (Office365), while still maintaining local on premise servers for their line of business applications, and then add TNSC’s Cloud Standby servers for Disaster Recovery preparedness. This is a great way to get the best of Public Cloud, Private Cloud and on premise solutions in a cost effective manner.

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