article

3 Myths About Public Clouds


Jeff Kaplan

**Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from the Digital Issue, “

Profiting From Private Cloud Services

,” which is available for download from

Channel Partners Cloud Insights

.**

By Jeff Kaplan

For businesses, choosing a low-cost (or free) public cloud offering over a private cloud solution may seem like a safer way to “try it before you buy it” until they discover what they’re really risking.

Almost every business IT solution they currently are using in their offices can be run in the cloud with a variety of benefits, such as lower costs, less downtime and easier accessibility outside the traditional four walls of the workplace. Even though there are myriad cloud solutions and services to choose from, they all come in two primary flavors: public cloud and private cloud.

The following statistics give some perspective on the size and projected growth of both types of cloud offerings:

  • Gartner predicts that the global public cloud services market will account for $131 billion in revenue in 2013, an 18.5 percent increase over 2012.
  • Research firm IDC predicts worldwide spending on hosted private cloud solutions will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50 percent between 2012 and 2016,reaching $24 billion in revenue by 2016.

Clearly, the public services market is much larger than the private cloud market, and it’s dominated by well-known names such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Public cloud services are making their way into the workplace at a growing pace (often without an employer’s or IT person’s knowledge) as more employees bring their own devices to work. But, are these low-cost (and sometimes free) public cloud offerings a safe choice for hosting business data and applications?

Check out the following three public cloud computing myths and discover why a private cloud offering provides several benefits over a public cloud offering that channel partners and their customers should not ignore.

Myth 1: Your Data Will Always Be Yours.

This might be surprising to you, but according to Google’s terms of service, Google has the right to use consumer data to improve and even promote its own services. The company also has the right to create “derivative works” from content stored in Google Drive and to “publically display and distribute such content” even with their partners. Other public cloud providers have similar terms of service. So, if your customer is not okay with trading a few gigabytes of free storage for its data being publically displayed and distributed by the cloud provider, then you’ll want to recommend using a private cloud provider that doesn’t make any claims to customer data beyond storing it, protecting it and making it available when the customer needs it.

Myth 2: Your Data Always Will Be Available in the Cloud.

This myth covers a common reason many companies choose the cloud in the first place: to protect their data even from worst-case disaster situations. Having data stored remotely is a sensible way to protect against local server outages and natural disasters, but if your customer is ever in that situation, how will the public cloud provider help them retrieve their data from the cloud? Some public cloud providers expect customers to retrieve their data over the Internet alone, which can take several days. Others might copy the data onto discs or external drives at an exorbitant cost and ship them to your customer, leaving it up to you to rebuild new physical servers; install new operating system, firmware and other software; and then load the files.

Here again is an area where your customers can get burned by a public cloud offering. Private cloud providers, on the other hand, are geared toward serving businesses and they understand how disruptive and costly downtime can be. As a result, many private cloud providers will help customers restore their local servers and data in the event of a server crash or disaster, and they’ll spell out the details in a service level agreement (SLA), which can be customized to meet the customer’s requirements unlike the one-size-fits-all terms of service agreement that public cloud providers use.

Myth 3:  All Clouds Offer the Same Data Protection.

If your customer has sensitive data that needs to be kept out of competitors’ hands and/or if they do business in a regulated market such as legal or health care, the differences between public cloud and private cloud offerings are even more dramatic. To ensure data remains protected and your client remains compliant, research the following information before selecting a cloud provider:

  • What security measures does the cloud provider have in place? One of the quickest ways to get to the heart of this issue is to ask about the provider’s security audit procedures. Their data center should be SSAE (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements) 16 compliant, which means that it has the network and physical security procedures in place to keep data safe from outside hackers as well as any inside threats such as rogue employees.
  • How secure is data while it’s being transmitted to the cloud? Even if data is protected when it reaches the cloud provider’s data center, it need to be protected at the moment it leaves the customer’s facility. For companies handling health care or financial data, using data encryption is essential. The data should be encrypted at a high level such as 256-key AES, which is used by the government to protect top-secret documents.

Additionally, because the public cloud is defined as a multitenant environment where each company buys a part of a server environment that’s shared with a number of other clients or tenants, it’s an automatic “no-go” for companies required to meet HIPAA, PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley or other industry regulations.

Private cloud offerings that can meet the security requirements outlined above, on the other hand, are appropriate for storing and managing sensitive data. In fact, data stored in a private cloud data center is several times more secure than the same data residing within the four walls of your facility.

Even though it may appear on the surface that selecting a public cloud offering is the less expensive, better option for your client’s business, a closer look at its need for data ownership, security, uptime and compliance makes private cloud a more sensible option. By recognizing the misconceptions and myths about the public cloud, you’ll greatly reduce your customer’s chances of suffering cloud buyer’s remorse later.

Jeff Kaplan is the CEO and founder of

Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG)

, a leading IT and telecommunications solution provider that offers private cloud services.
Twitter: @btgonecloud
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jeffkaplanbtg


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