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What You Need to Know About Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: Making the Right Choice
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What You Need to Know About Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: Making the Right Choice

The basics of public cloud vs private cloud

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud: Fundamentally, the private and public clouds are very similar. Specifically, it’s a collection of resources that can be accessed over a network connection. This is often the internet but it could be a private connection.

The key difference between a public cloud and a private cloud is that a public cloud is hosted on shared infrastructure whereas a private cloud has infrastructure dedicated to one entity. In practical terms, using a public cloud is similar to having a private office in a shared building. Using a private cloud is similar to working out of a completely private space.

Public clouds are generally run by third parties. In principle, you could build your own cloud and allow other people to use it. Unless this is your business, however, this approach is likely to be far more work than it’s worth. Private clouds may be run by in-house staff but they can also be run by external vendors.

Hybrid clouds

Some businesses, particularly enterprises, choose to resolve the public cloud vs private cloud debate by implementing hybrid clouds. They have at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud. They can therefore offer the best of both worlds. The reason they’re still not implemented as standards is that they are much more complicated to manage.
Public cloud vs private cloud – how they compare

If you are assessing whether you should implement a public cloud or a private cloud, then it is vital that you look at the full picture. Details can often make a significant difference. With that said, here are some of the general points you should consider when looking at public cloud vs private cloud.

Upfront cost

One of the main attractions of the public cloud is that there are no upfront costs. With a private cloud, there may or may not be upfront costs, depending on how you implement it.

If you use on-premises infrastructure and/or colocation, then there will certainly be some level of upfront costs. These will typically be highest with on-premises infrastructure (and hence lower with colocation).

Running costs

It’s very difficult to compare the running costs of a public cloud vs a private cloud. A public cloud is a complete service package. It includes not just the infrastructure but also everything needed to make it work including all necessary human labor.

A private cloud, on the other hand, can be implemented in a number of ways. Some of these might have lower running costs than a public cloud. Others might have higher ones.

With that said, options that have higher running costs are likely to provide a high level of convenience. This can reduce costs elsewhere (e.g. by reducing the need for management).


Up until fairly recently, security was the main reason why enterprises stuck firmly to private clouds. Technically, it’s still true that private clouds can deliver the very highest levels of security (by virtue of the fact that they are private).

However, public clouds can now deliver more than enough security for even the most demanding businesses and their customers. For example, contractors working in the US Defense Industrial Base can use public clouds as long as they meet defined security standards (i.e. CMMC).

Of course, in both cases, there is a difference between can and do. The security of both public and private clouds is, essentially, determined by the competence of the people who run them. This is why it’s so important to choose your staff and/or vendors very carefully.


Both public clouds and private clouds offer high levels of flexibility. They just offer it in different ways. Public clouds are highly scalable but have relatively limited customizability. Private clouds are highly customizable but have relatively little scalability.

This is the main reason why so many enterprises are moving to hybrid clouds. Having their own private cloud enables them to implement as many customizations as they wish. Using the public cloud, meanwhile, enables them to scale up whenever necessary.


Read More:

What To Consider When Choosing Between Colocation vs Cloud

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