private-public-hybrid-cloud	|	Photo Courtesy of of the companies benefiting from public cloud services today are small businesses with few IT assets, according to a recent blog post on the Forbes Magazine website. The post cites a study of 260 Amazon Web Services customers. It revealed that 53 percent of companies using the service have 50 or fewer employees, while large organizations (10,000 or more employees) represent only four percent.

It’s great that so many small businesses are benefiting from cloud computing. Few small businesses, however, understand the differences between public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. Let’s take a step back and clarify the differences between them.

  1. Public cloud: A public cloud uses the Internet to connect customers and services, providing relatively easy, inexpensive access to storage and software. This option might work best for companies without an IT staff. It’s secure, but you’re not the one managing that security.
  2. Private cloud: Rather than going through the public Internet, private cloud services use a private network to restrict access to information, providing greater control and security. The value of that security depends on the type of business you have. The additional expense of using and maintaining a private network may be a sound investment for companies protecting large amounts of confidential data in rigorous regulatory environments, such as legal, health care or financial services.
  3. Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud infrastructure uses a blend of public and private environments. Larger organizations may find that selectively deploying public and private clouds within their systems helps them gain the advantages of each. For example, a company might choose to archive less-critical data with a public cloud service, reducing storage and maintenance costs. It might also use a private network to maximize the security of mission-critical data, such as trade secrets and confidential customer information.

What type of cloud services does your small business use? What would you recommend to others? Share your thoughts below!

 Soure: Forbes Magazine, March 2013