Public vs Private vs Hybrid Cloud: Which One Should You Use?

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud

With the increased adoption of cloud computing in the current world, understanding the various kinds of cloud deployment models (public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud) and service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) available is essential. However, because each cloud is unique, deciding on the type of cloud model is critical. Therefore, examine the similarities and differences between cloud types based on your needs and determine which one best meets your needs.

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud: At a Glance

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Don’t fret if you’re still confused about cloud types, and any of the above made no sense to you.

This article will go over each cloud model in depth.

What Is Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud?

Public Cloud: The public cloud, as the name suggests, is available to anyone, whether an individual or a business.

Private Cloud: On the other hand, the private cloud is used by a specific organization and not shared with others.

Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud approach combines the benefits of both public and private cloud models.

Let’s go over what public, private, and hybrid clouds are in detail, their usability, benefits, drawbacks, use cases, and more.

What Is The Public Cloud?

The public cloud service is the most common cloud deployment model. A third-party service provider handles the entire infrastructure, i.e., hardware, software, security, resources, management, etc. 

Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), Blue Cloud by IBM, Google App Engine, and Azure services by Windows are well-known examples of public cloud computing models.

The public cloud works on PAY-AS-GO-MODEL. Users only pay for what they use, which helps scale up and down. The organization can be free of the worry of managing a hard-core data center. The resources like hardware, software, and network devices over the public cloud are shared with different organizations. Each organization uses these services as a tenant using a web browser.  

When to use the Public Cloud?

The public cloud is used under the following circumstances:

1.      Data security and management are not a significant concern for the enterprise – Some information is not essential to safeguard, and such data management can be accomplished using the public cloud.

2.      For development and testing – Every IT and software industry develops or works on software, and organizations require cloud support during development and testing.

3.      To save non-critical data from websites and applications – Data such as product photos, prices, information, services provided, and so on are not critical and can be made public; thus, public clouds may be used to save this type of data.

4.      Operating CRM software for customer and prospect management – CRM organizations like Salesforce and Atlassian are already utilizing the public cloud to manage customers and prospects.

5.      Organizational email archiving – Large corporations have used cloud-based email archival solutions to archive old emails for years. Because of the ease of usage, every other business will likely migrate to the public cloud for email archival.  

Advantages of Public Cloud

·        Exclusive environments: Users share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations called muti-tenancy. Service providers partition the environment and redistribute it to multiple tenants. All the users have the impression of having an exclusive environment to meet their requirements.

·        Custom security: Third-party service providers provide and handle security in the public cloud. With technological advancement, public clouds have become more secure and widely used by users for storing non-critical data.

·        Scalability without tradeoffs: Scalability is easily accomplished in the public cloud whenever the organization’s resource requirements change. Automatic scaling is also an option, so users don’t have to worry about it when they need it by setting threshold limits. Servers can be added as needed and removed when no longer required.

·        Efficient performance: The team is no longer concerned with scaling and managing resources; more time and effort can be devoted to developing business and software. The emphasis shifts to innovation and research. The public cloud enables enterprises to perform more efficiently.

·        Flexibility: The public cloud is highly flexible as the customers pay only for what they consume. The flexibility to scale up and down at a lower price is one of the critical features of the public cloud.

·        Lower costs/Flexible pricing options: When using the public cloud, the capital expenditure for establishing infrastructure and managing it is severely reduced. The cost model switches from CAPEX to OPEX. You can select different SLAs or service level agreements to meet the needs of crucial and less-used applications.

·        No maintenance: The cloud provider manages the large, globally distributed cloud infrastructure resources, so no maintenance is required at the user’s end. Organizations need not hire a large team of professionals to maintain, run, and improve their environment.

·       High reliability:  A public cloud is a vast server network. The data is always backed up with sophisticated redundancy and failover strategies, which means that any type of failure, such as a power outage, hardware failure, or other crisis, results in no data loss. As a result, the public cloud is extremely reliable.

·        Reduced complexity: The complexities of on-premise systems for cloud services are significantly reduced in the public cloud. Because of the reduced complexity, organizations can focus on developing and delivering high-value products and services.

·        Stringent penetration testing: Organizations should always regularly conduct security audits of the cloud environment in which they operate. They should stick to the cloud providers’ fundamentals and terms. And run pen tests on the layers to which they have access to maintain their seamless use of the public cloud.

·        Controlled access: The public cloud security is handled at the cloud provider’s end. The organization determines who has access to the cloud. The public cloud protects to control unauthorized users, ensuring that no business data is copied, transferred, or infected with a virus by anyone.

·        Technical agility and elasticity: The public cloud enables the rapid development, testing, and launch of software products and services that enhance organizational performance. Because the public cloud can adapt to changing workloads by providing resources as needed. 

Disadvantages of Public Cloud/Potential Challenges of Public Clouds

While the public cloud has many benefits, it also has some drawbacks. Take a look at these:

·        A poor fit for sensitive and confidential workloads: Multiple tenants share the public cloud’s resources. Your data’s security is never guaranteed. You may be unaware that your information is stored on the same machine as someone else’s. As a result, public clouds are not yet considered secure for stashing and operating sensitive data such as government records, financial data, and so on.

·        High expense: You should be aware that providers charge differently for each service they provide when using a public cloud. Although data storage facility fees are low, each transaction made to operate on your data is quite expensive. Furthermore, once a certain threshold is reached, the scaling charges become prohibitively costly.

·        Limited infrastructure visibility and control: The cloud user has no control over the configuration of the cloud’s hardware, software, servers, and other resources. The only connection between the user and the cloud is via high bandwidth. Furthermore, because the service provider manages everything, the user has limited access to the infrastructure.

For whom are Public Clouds Best Suited?

Public clouds are best suited to IT and service businesses with limited funds to meet scaling requirements. Organizations that do not want to waste resources and time running an on-premise service and avoid the stress of managing it but still want to perform efficiently. The public cloud is mainly used by organizations that develop, test, and store non-critical data, host websites, offer CRM services, etc.  

Public cloud use-case examples:

Let’s look at the use case for the public cloud:

1.      Imminent global availability for start-ups:

According to the article, 167,076 new start-ups were established in India alone in FY22 through mid-April. They need faster deployments to stay in the market and beat the competition with their innovative ideas. As a result, start-ups lack the resources and funds to build their massive cloud services. As a growing business, public clouds are an excellent option for start-ups looking to scale flexibly and reach a large audience.

2.      Scalable requirements

Businesses offer huge discounts on their products and services to attract more customers during the holiday season. Users are drawn to the sites, and traffic spikes unexpectedly. However, setting up an on-premises cloud service to handle these occasional hikes is not a good idea. After the peak season, the majority of the machines will be idle. As a result, it is recommended that the public cloud be used to meet the scaling requirements.

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What is the Private Cloud?

A private cloud is exclusive to a single company. Only one organization or business uses private cloud resources. In contrast to public cloud resources, private cloud resources are not shared by multiple tenants. Every piece of hardware, infrastructure, and software is solely dedicated to one organization. For example, a private cloud can be physically located in your organization’s on-site data center or hosted by a third-party service provider.  

It is simple to tailor hardware and software to your organization’s specific needs. This is because your company owns everything, including the hardware and software. As a result, you have complete control and can change anything to your liking. 

Private clouds are commonly used for business-critical operations by government agencies, financial institutions, and other media to large-sized organizations that want complete control over their cloud environment. Furthermore, private clouds provide greater security and privacy by utilizing company firewalls and internal hosting. 

In addition, it ensures that operations and confidential data are not available to third-party providers.

When to use the Private Cloud?

The private cloud can be used for the following requirements:

Operating on highly critical data: Organizations that work with highly sensitive and confidential data should use a private cloud service because it is highly secure.

Strong control: A private cloud is a good option for users who want high security and complete control over their cloud resources.

Good finances: Enterprises with a massive budget who want to achieve high-performance goals should consider investing in a private cloud.

Government agencies and other regulated organizations: Government agencies typically prefer the private cloud because they deal with highly sensitive data.

Latency: To avoid connectivity issues with the vendor, users should choose a private cloud in locations where good network latency is a major issue.

Advantages of Private Cloud  

Exclusive, dedicated environments: The hardware, software, networks, and other resources are solely dedicated to only one organization in a private cloud.

Custom Security: A private cloud provides the most control over security parameters because security is handled on-premise or outsourced to a managed security provider. A private cloud’s security tools include API-enabled provisioning, additional layers of automation, higher levels of authentication, etc.

Scalability without tradeoffs: Scalability is straightforward in the private cloud. It is scalable without jeopardizing the cloud’s security or performance.

Efficient performance: Private clouds are typically deployed within the firewall of an organization’s intranet, ensuring efficiency and high performance.

Flexibility to respond to changing needs: Private cloud is very flexible in responding to evolving needs. It is adaptable as you modify the infrastructure to meet the organization’s changing business and IT requirements.

More control: A private cloud is owned by a single organization with complete control over its components. Organizations can customize it as per business requirements.

Disadvantages of Private Cloud

Like a public cloud, private clouds have their drawbacks:

Limited mobile access: Because of all the hardware components, it is difficult to move a private cloud once it has been established. As a result, mobile access to the cloud is restricted to ensure high security and avoid hardware failure outside of the corporate network.

High CAPEX and overhead/More expensive than public clouds: In the case of on-premise infrastructure, the initial hardware capital investment is very high, which makes it costlier than public clouds. You will need to employ people to install and maintain the cloud.

Scalability limitations: On-premise cloud infrastructure has a hardware installation limit, and more scalability means more space and hardware investment. Scaling comes at a high cost.

Which industries and sectors need Private Clouds?

·        Healthcare and financial institutions are highly regulated industries that need the private cloud.

·        Large and mid-sized technology companies require extreme security and total control. So, they should go for the private cloud.

·        Organizations that need advanced and customized data center solutions prefer private cloud.  

Private cloud use-case examples:

1. The big data visualization industry makes use of private clouds. Snowflake, for example, is a cloud-native data platform that allows service providers and customers to interact with one another. The company assisted with various public cloud-related tasks, limiting its reach to only public cloud users.

The company then collaborated with Microsoft Azure’s private cloud service, which enabled it to target customers in highly regulated industries. In addition, it was reported that Snowflake could provide a more secure option for handling sensitive data.

2. SimplePay, a provider of financial services such as payment processing, was having difficulty expanding its customer base because the existing application was slow to meet customer demand and had various security flaws that exposed data to breaches.

They could handle thousands of transactions per second by utilizing an AWS virtual private cloud network, which necessitated hefty database usage that had to be replicated and synchronized globally. Due to this private cloud addition, customers could handle mobile and online payments more quickly and securely.

What is a Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private clouds. We can use a private cloud for sensitive and business-critical operations like financial reporting and a public cloud for high-volume, low-security needs like web-based email. Cloud bursting is a concept used in hybrid clouds.

Assume you have a service or an application. To begin, it is hosted and operated in your private cloud. The application will continue to run in the cloud until there is an increase in demand.

When demand spikes, burst through to the public cloud to take advantage of the additional computing resources provided by the public cloud, and when demand drops, scale down to your private cloud. At a reasonable cost, it provides both security and scalability.

When to use the Hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid clouds will be best suited for the following situations:

·        IT service organizations may have different types of clients. For example, one is highly regulated, and another with less critical data and workloads.

·        Organizations are looking to optimize cloud investments using private and public clouds.

·        Organizations cannot expand the in-house hardware infrastructure of the private cloud; they should opt for scaling with the public cloud to fulfill the spiked-up business requirements.

·        Users who are willing for a more secure environment to handle sensitive information about their business operations and employees.

Advantages of Hybrid Cloud

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of hybrid cloud-       

·        Policy-driven option:  Hybrid cloud environments are flexible and policy-driven, allowing different workloads to be performed while ensuring security, performance, and scalability at an affordable price.

·        Scale with security: With public clouds, you get to scale with a few clicks, but it still carries the risk of security. With a private cloud, you can scale, but the CAPEX is very high. However, a hybrid cloud lets you scale with the public cloud at an affordable rate with the security of the private cloud.

·        High Reliability: High reliability is enabled by distributing workloads across multiple cloud environments. Data is securely stored and geographically replicated in private and public clouds.

·        Cost control: In a Hybrid environment, the private cloud is used for more sophisticated and sensitive workloads, while the public cloud is used for not-so-critical work. Because the public cloud is less expensive than the private cloud, it compensates for the higher cost.

·        Flexibility (take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud): Because it allows users to choose which data, applications, or services are kept behind corporate firewalls, the hybrid cloud is far more flexible than other cloud models. Increased flexibility improves internal efficiency, lowers costs, and increases the agility required to build future digital evolution.

·        Control on Sensitive Assets: Working on both clouds simultaneously is greatly simplified with a hybrid cloud. As a result, you can always keep your sensitive data on a private cloud network, which gives you more control over your critical workloads.

·        Ease of Transition: Managing workload across multiple cloud platforms may appear to be a difficult task. However, in a hybrid cloud, switching from private to public or vice versa is simple. Over 83 percent of businesses chose the hybrid cloud as the best operating cloud model due to the ease of transition from other cloud models, security, and flexibility. It is expected to grow at a tremendous rate in the coming years.

·        Resource optimization: In a hybrid model, private and public cloud resources are optimally utilized. When compliance, workload performance, and cost are appropriately and consistently diversified against the best-fit infrastructure in real-time, efficiency is achieved.

Drawbacks of Hybrid Cloud

In this section, you will learn about some disadvantages of hybrid cloud computing.          

·        Elevated cost – Frequent transitions from private to public and vice versa, resulting in unnecessary expenditure and time and resource waste. Operating, sustaining, and optimizing a hybrid cloud’s on-premises segment is expensive, especially for smaller organizations.

·        Infrastructure complexity – To maximize the benefits of a hybrid cloud, its public and private elements must be tightly linked and orchestrated. Management, incorporation, and security become more complicated as the number of clouds grows, mainly when they are sourced from different providers.

Which cloud to choose?          

Which cloud to use is entirely dependent on your business requirements. When selecting a cloud model, consider the following factors.

1. Your capital outlay limit.

2. The type of data you wish to handle.

3. Requirements for security

4. Variations in workload

5. The ability to scale.

6. Network accessibility

Go for-

Public cloud, if your requirement is scalability for managing non-critical data at a reasonable price.

Private cloud, if security is your major concern for the critical data you are operating and the cost is not an issue.

Hybrid cloud model, if you want the best of both private and public cloud.

What is the shared cloud model?

The shared responsibility cloud model emphasizes how cloud providers and consumers share security and compliance responsibilities. This is also true for on-premises environments. In a broader sense, this model is about how you and your service provider collaborate.

The point is to establish who is responsible for what. For instance, you are in charge of your data and overall configuration, whereas your service provider is in the physical, infrastructure, and virtualization order.

The strength of this model is that it aims at maximizing the value you get from the cloud, whether it’s AWS, GCP, or Azure.         


This article went into great detail about each cloud model. What is the difference between public, private, and hybrid clouds?

The public cloud is the most popular cloud deployment because it allows for frequent scaling at a low cost. It is best suited to managing regular data, whereas the private cloud is dedicated to only one organization and provides high security for managing critical data. And hybrid has the advantages of both; it is secure and scalable.

Even so, which cloud is best for you depends entirely on your business needs.

The shared cloud responsibility model ensures that you are fully aware of the responsibilities shared between you and your CSP to run your business smoothly.

Read also: A Comprehensive and Friendly Guide on Device Cloud for Beginners

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a multi-Cloud?

Multi-cloud is a cloud computing model in which an organization uses a combination of clouds to distribute applications and services. There can be two or more private clouds, two or more public clouds, or a combination of public, private, and edge clouds.

Which cloud model do companies prefer?

Organizations prefer hybrid cloud because it combines the advantages of public and private clouds. It is easily scalable, secure, and reasonably priced.

How do I choose a cloud model?

When choosing a cloud deployment model, consider the following factors:
· Scalability and performance
· Cost expenditure
· Accessibility
· Maintenance required
· Support
· Data security
· Workload fluctuations

Who Are the Largest CSPs?

The following companies are currently the largest cloud market players:
· Amazon Web Services (AWS)
· Azure by Microsoft
· Google Cloud Platform (GCP)