What Type of Cloud Computing Is Right for Your Organization?
Before cloud computing, organizations would have to invest heavily in on-premise data centers that contained servers for their databases, routers, back-up systems, network connectivity for their employees and clients, heating and cooling systems, not to mention the appropriate space for storing this equipment as well.
Such data centers require a lot of maintenance. And, as organizations scale up, the demands and costs of such on-premise data centers increase. This is very cumbersome and expensive with limited flexibility.
It’s no wonder that most organizations have switched to the alternative method of storing and transferring data and services – cloud computing. However, despite the numerous benefits of cloud computing, it does have its own security risks.
In July 2019, Capitol One bank’s server was
hacked by a former employee of AWS whose cloud services Capitol One was using. The hacker “was able to gain access by exploiting a misconfigured web application firewall”. This resulted in the data theft of 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 bank account numbers, and 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers of their credit card customers.
Here we will go through what cloud computing is, its potential risks, and picking the best cloud service for your organization.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of technological services over the internet. It is, essentially, a virtual data center for computing, storage, management, databases, networking, and much more.
The benefits of cloud computing include:
- It doesn’t require physical space.
- Its maintenance and upgrades are performed by the cloud service provider.
- It is cost-efficient as you only need to pay for the services that you consume.
- It is highly scalable.
- It provides collaborative efficiency.
- You can access it from anywhere.
What are the different types of cloud services?
Cloud computing is based on two types of models: deployment and service models. Deployment models include public, private, and hybrid cloud systems. Service models include IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).
Public clouds are owned and managed by third-party providers. They own technical resources like servers, hardware and software, infrastructure, etc. They can rent these to customers for their usage with the assurance of data protection from other users. Think AWS and Microsoft Azure.
The pros of a public cloud are low costs, increased flexibility, and scalability. On the flip side, organizations don’t have a high degree of control since cloud service providers own all their resources, meaning they can make changes without consulting their customers. Furthermore, they are not considered the most secure and, as such, are not suitable for organizations with critically sensitive data. Many organizations also have to follow strict compliance regulations that do not fit in well with the public cloud’s concept of multitenancy.
Private clouds are computing solutions whose services are limited to only one organization. Their resources and infrastructure are owned by the organization they service, and are maintained and controlled on a private network that only they have access to. A private cloud can also be configured to on-premise data centers. IT organizations and others with sensitive data – government or financial institutions, for example – often use this form of cloud computing.
On the upside, private clouds give organizations complete control over privacy and security, along with better performance and flexibility. On the downside, they come with a high price tag – both due to the full ownership of resources and the continuous maintenance needs. Furthermore, scalability is not as easy, and remote access is not possible.
Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public cloud systems that can be used in accordance with the needs of the organization. The level of incorporation of public and private clouds in a hybrid cloud system depends on the organization.
Although it is initially costly to introduce a hybrid cloud system, it is cost-effective in the long run as organizations save on infrastructure by using public cloud resources to meet increased demand while storing their sensitive data in private clouds. This significantly reduces the risk of data security getting compromised and allows organizations to maintain control over their systems. Such increased control translates into organizations’ ability to optimize their digital resources and can enhance deployment time, improve latency, and ease the data transfer process.
Furthermore, hybrid cloud models also offer improved scalability. This model also provides the flexibility of remote access – organizations can move the data which needs to be accessed to a public cloud while storing the rest of it in a private cloud.
Finally, a hybrid cloud facilitates compliance with various industry regulations and ensures that in the case of a malfunction, operations can resume quickly and that data loss is minimized.
With all these benefits, it comes as no surprise that organizations are increasingly implementing the hybrid cloud model – it allows them to find the elusive balance between cybersecurity and operational efficiency.