Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud – What's the Difference?

Cloud computing has definitely impacted how most enterprise IT Departments are managing their overall IT architecture. Businesses are constantly reevaluating what infrastructure will work best for their environment. Is it private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid cloud? What are the differences between these types of clouds? All three options provide similar benefits, including cost-effectiveness, performance and reliability but ultimately which deployment method a business chooses is dependent upon their business needs.

Public Cloud

public cloudPublic cloud is a term for cloud computing services offered over the public Internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase them. This type of cloud typically offers the greatest level of efficiency in shared resources however they are typically more vulnerable than private clouds. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. All hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations or “cloud tenants.” You access your services and manage your account using a web browser.
A public cloud may be a good option when:

  • Your workload for applications is used by lots of people, such as email
  • You have SaaS (Software as a Service) applications from a vendor who has a well implemented security strategy
  • You  need incremental capacity (ability to add computer capacity for peak times)
  • You are doing collaboration projects
  • You are doing an ad-hoc  software development project using a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering cloud
  • Testing and developing environments

Public cloud storage is for the most part cheaper than on-premises storage especially when you look into the upkeep and upgrades you may need with your hardware. Most cloud-storage services can accommodate periodic surges and typically have security protocols in place to protect your data including backup in a second location.
The biggest warning is to make sure that your business takes the extra time and due diligence to ensure you have security and governance issues well planned. This option may work best for small businesses since they typically do not have a lot of proprietary information that requires extra security.

Private Cloud

A private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by one business or organization. It can be located physically at a business’ on-site datacenter or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider. The services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to the organization to allow your business to customize its resources to best fit your specific IT requirements. Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions and other mid to large size organizations where its critical to have control over their IT environment.
Advantages include:

  • Ability to customize the cloud environment to meet your specific business needs
  • Improved security since your resources are not shared with others
  • High Scalability

Here are some additional indicators that your application may be a good fit for the private cloud:

  • Application has very predictable usage patterns and low storage costs
  • You need high performance access to a file system. For example, a media company that creates or produces large videos
  • An application that may be poorly written or infrequently used that may not be worth the effort of moving it to the public cloud


Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is becoming a more popular choice for businesses of all sizes. In 2015, almost 90% of enterprises said they were looking to pursue a hybrid cloud solution. It is where both public and private cloud are utilized to host your data. In a hybrid cloud, both data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility.
Cloud bursting is also an option when using a hybrid cloud. Its when an application or resource runs in the private cloud until there is a spike in demand such as during the holiday season when online shopping is at its peak and then at that point, the organization can “burst through” to the public cloud to tap into additional computing resources.
Advantages of hybrid clouds:

  • Control: you can maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets
  • Flexibility: take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud when you need them
  • Cost-effectiveness: You pay for extra computing power only when needed
  • Ease: You can migrate to the cloud gradually and phase in workloads over time.

A hybrid environment is only as strong as the integrations that unite them. The team managing the infrastructure should always be running performance monitoring, regular testing, and data ingress and egress procedures to reveal possible areas of difficulty and when to further evolve the application.
When deciding what cloud platform works best for you, its best to analyze your business’ needs and what will work the best for your budget, security, and compliance. Zunesis account managers and solution architects are available to sit down with you for a discovery of what will work best for your organization. We have relationships with several great partners including Microsoft and HPE that can take your business to where you want to go in terms of cloud computing. Contact us today to find out more on how we can help.


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