Do I run my applications and store my data in the public cloud or utilize a private data center? The decision can be a difficult one for IT executives. Public cloud usage has exploded in the last decade but not everyone is sold on it. Like just about everything, there are considerations when evaluating which path to choose. Here are five to consider when examining your options.
There is no doubt that big cloud providers like Google, Amazon Web Services and Azure have security measures in place to protect their customers’ data. But some industries are dealing with data that requires more advanced security than what public cloud providers can offer. Private cages, alarms, dedicated access control and line of sight security cameras are examples of additional levels of security that might be required depending on the customer. IT leaders may also prefer a more personal approach with direct access to engineers and personnel.
Either way, security can be a legitimate determining factor when choosing to store data and run applications within the confines of a private data center over the public cloud.
If you’re business is part of a vertical like healthcare, banking or personal finance, government regulations are likely going to dictate how you can use and store data. IT departments must take extra steps to convince regulators that sensitive data is secure.
CJIS, HIPPA, HITRUST and PCI are examples of compliance certifications that specifically detail security frameworks around the creation, access, storage and exchange of sensitive data (or regulated data). That could mean the difference between choosing a cloud provider and using a private data center.
The upside to public cloud is that if you have internet connectivity, your sensitive data is accessible from virtually anywhere. However, once sensitive data is moved or generated in a public cloud, it becomes very difficult to see exactly where the data resides (or how many copies of it exist).
Conversely, storing data in a private data center means you know where your data is stored at all times. IT leaders certainly have options and this is one that could have serious legal implications. Storing, accessing and exchanging data across international borders, for example, introduces a whole new set of legal rules. Which do you follow?
So a legitimate question every company or business owner can ask themselves is, “Do I really know where my data is?”
It might be a stretch to say internet connectivity is ubiquitous in the western world. But it’s not too far off base. The speed and quality of the connectivity, however, can vary greatly and is hard to dispute. That’s where accessibility issues using the public cloud can come into play, especially for companies with multiple locations in which some of the locations may have limited ISPs or “last mile” constraints.
Alternatively, private lines and ethernet connections back to a private data center can provide dedicated, reliable and consistent access. These methods bypass the open internet and enable users to traverse an ISP’s network directly. It can be the difference between a smooth and efficient network or complete dysfunction.
Trust. Or lack thereof. Let’s face it, the giant public cloud providers have the resources few others have. Have you read their End User License Agreement? If you actually did (wow, I’m impressed), do you expect them to make concessions or negotiate on a term or condition that you’re struggling with? Not likely.
If you can get past the terms and conditions, there is still a number of other factors to consider; your organization’s specific needs; the reputation of that cloud provider; service level agreements (SLAs); a dedicated account representative; security controls. IT professionals have a real challenge on their hands when trust issues are at play, especially in a time when security breaches and ransomware seem to be the new normal.
So while the public cloud has it challenges and isn’t for everybody, in truth, for some types of industry or small businesses the public cloud can be a great, inexpensive solution. For others, a private data center is more in line with servicing their needs when it comes to regulatory compliance, security, location, connectivity and trust. Advice to IT professionals: do your homework, be thorough and ask a lot of questions when evaluating the public cloud and private data centers.
About CyberOne Data
CyberOne Data is a privately owned, Tier 2 data center located in the south, central region of Wisconsin. With colocation racks, dedicated servers, backup and disaster recovery services, it's uniquely positioned to offer SMBs affordable ways to operate their systems and infrastructure within the confines of a secure environment. The strategic placement of the data center takes advantage of a low-risk, natural disaster area with low average annual temperatures that assist cooling operations and help reduce operating costs.