Are you making the transition from on-premises technology to cloud-first solutions? You're probably getting a lot of questions from your customers. Will you go with public or private cloud? What’s the difference? How will the change impact your business?
As an IT services provider, it’s important that you're comfortable explaining the fundamental differences between public and private cloud solutions. More importantly, you must be able to communicate with your customers about why one solution is better than the other. If you can explain how a specific solution matters to a customer’s specific business needs, you can maintain trust and confidence in your offerings.
So how do you present solutions to your customers? There have been several interpretations of these two cloud options. Here are the basics for those not yet familiar:
- Private Cloud – It is an internal solution hosted, operated, and maintained by a business.
- Public Cloud – It's the opposite of the private cloud, hosted by a provider. Company data is stored at a data center, which the provider operates and maintains.
The Pros and Cons
The private cloud is a great enterprise business solution. It offers complete control of the product from start to finish. It provides CIOs and other executives the “highest levels of management visibility, control, security, privacy, and physical data proximity,” writes Jeff Borek of IBM. The private cloud is also an excellent choice for a company with an existing data center. Operating behind a secure firewall, “private clouds offer an increased level of security, and they share very few, if any, resources with other organizations,” explains John White of Expedient.
On the other hand, if private cloud solutions are so magical, why would any company choose the public option? For White, it’s simple: “This type of cloud environment is appealing to many businesses because it reduces lead times in testing and deploying new products.”
The public cloud, by contrast, uses outsourced solutions. Therefore, public cloud options can decrease cost and increase efficiency, something many SMBs find enticing. The infrastructure has already been created and is maintained by a cloud provider. It requires little to no interaction with the customer or the IT services provider. The argument for choosing a public cloud centers on access to additional resources and increased flexibility of services.
According to Borek, public cloud users can opt-in to a pay-as-you-go structure, which grants them the ability “to add or drop capacity.” Meanwhile, private cloud users are stuck with the resources they have on hand and the availability of their current infrastructure. Adding capacity for private cloud users can be very expensive.
The Role of the MSP
Helping your customers choose between public and private cloud solutions is a far more complicated decision than it may initially appear. The choice your customers make can affect nearly every department in their businesses, from security to finance. MSPs need to help their customers identify the answers to key questions in critical areas, including:
At the end of the day, understanding the nuances of cloud services can help you better protect your customers’ data privacy and the overall integrity of their businesses—putting you on the path to becoming a more trusted advisor.