The cloud has been around for a while now, but you might still be confused about how it works and what it actually is. Not to mention how it can help your business. In short, the “cloud” is a means of computing that stores your data on an online server instead of a physical one.

In this article, we’ll look at a few different types of clouds, who they’re best for and the benefits that come with them.

1.) Public Clouds

This is the most-used type of cloud computing on the market because anyone can opt-in for some space and the cloud supports multiple users. Public clouds are owned by a third party and use the existing IT architecture in their business to support storage for multiple customers.

Traditionally, these clouds were always run “off-premises,” meaning you didn’t need somewhere to host a server or have the data on your own network. Today, however, many public cloud companies can also help businesses set up cloud storage at their offices and on their networks.

Public clouds typically don’t require fees. Think of examples like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud where your storage is one of the built-in perks of using the product. This structure categorizes public clouds as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) products.

2.) Private Cloud

In a private cloud structure, you don’t have to share space with other users. The storage is dedicated solely to you as the only user and the IT infrastructure is established behind a firewall or another security system. This ensures your data is safe and you’re the only person who can access it.

Private clouds used to always be hosted on your premises, but now you can rent space from vendors. Similar to renting space on a cloud, you can rent space to store your cloud so you don’t have to use your network to house lots of data.

There are two options when choosing a private cloud:

  • Managed private clouds – your cloud is set up, configured and monitored by a third party. All of the space is for just your use, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining security measures and backing up your data because the company will do it for you.
  • Dedicated private clouds – this is more of a DIY option. You can create a dedicated private cloud within a public cloud so you’re hosted off-premises but you still have full control over the management of your cloud and data.

3.) Multiclouds

This type of cloud is exactly what it sounds like. You get more than one type of cloud, sometimes hosted by more than one vendor, and use them in conjunction with each other to meet your needs. Your clouds can be public, private or a mix of the two (which would make it a hybrid cloud, also).

What’s important to remember if you’re intentionally setting up a multicloud is that it requires some integrations and IT orchestrating to make each one talk to the others. You want to make sure you can operate out all of them and transfer data when needed. For that reason, finding a manager for your multicloud is often recommended if you don’t have an in-house web development team.

You can also create a multicloud by accident. You might find yourself requiring multiple clouds for different types of data or setting up a shadow IT network that runs through one of your clouds. This is perfectly normal, especially for larger companies, but you want to make sure it’s managed properly to avoid any security risks.

Understanding the complex nature of IT infrastructures can be intimidating. All you need to remember is that a cloud is a way for you to safely store your data online instead of having to purchase and maintain large physical servers. Reach out to a company you’d like to work with or your in-house IT team for more guidance on how to choose the right cloud for your business.