Private Cloud: Balance Between Data Availability and Security

A recent survey from Edge Strategies in March 2012 states that over 3,000 IT decision makers or influencers in 13 countries are considering adopting paid cloud services within the next three years. It is understandable that your company may be considering making the leap to the Cloud because it needs to make your data available to your mobile workforce. At the same time your company may have some reservations about taking your key data to the Cloud due to internal policies or industry regulations.

A plausible solution to achieve a balance between off-site data availability and data security and privacy is to adopt a private cloud solution. In this article we will review what private cloud computing is, and what the benefits of this software deployment are.

What is a Private Cloud Application?

In a private cloud implementation, a company runs its own data center that is dynamically provisioned and that delivers services to a single business. This is a great solution for middle and large companies that are looking to keep data access as tight as possible. It is important to understand that private cloud implementations may involve the use of servers that may not be necessarily on-site. Whether the servers are on-site or managed by a third party, the access to them will be unique to the company. A key differentiator from public cloud applications is that private cloud applications are behind the company’s firewall, which offers the highest level of IT security.

Given the benefits from private cloud applications, it is not a surprise that 50% of respondents to a KPMG survey indicated that they are currently using or are planning to use private clouds.

Benefits from Private Cloud Applications

First, private cloud applications are ideal for industries that have the most astringent data ownership rules. In these scenarios, IT stakeholders need to have a better answer to the “Where is the data?” question than just “in the Cloud”. When data is behind your company’s firewall you have the¬†maximum amount of control, configuration, and integration. For example, even if users use a private contract management system to access data through an online portal, the data remains secure because it is behind the company’s firewall.

Second, just like a brick and mortar firewall prevents physical fires from spreading from one room to another, a digital firewall prevents malicious attacks or information to spread from one computer to another. Using your company’s firewall, you can block any incoming and outgoing traffic based on specific sources or destinations. Also, access and sharing of internal data is logged so that your IT staff can keep tabs on all types of use, both authorized and unauthorized.

Third, private cloud deployments are suitable when the cost of taking certain on-site applications or data would require too much custom engineering would be too prohibitive. Whenever you are considering cloud models, you will need to virtualize some part of your data or systems. If certain applications or data is too expensive to virtualize to a public cloud server, then maintaing a private cloud is a good idea. A possible solution to this, would be to opt for a hybrid cloud model: leave the critical processes in-house and take the non-critical ones to a public cloud server. Still, if security is key, then opting for the private cloud option might be the superior choice.

Takeaway

Companies looking to maintain the highest levels data ownership and security will find private cloud applications useful. By leveraging cloud IT resources, your data will be available off-site through a secure online portal or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) portal. A private cloud application may be deployed on-site or may be hosted through off-site servers.