Size of your company
Presence of an IT department in your company
How to use the cloud (if you will be selling or using cloud resources internally)
Specific security issues
Applications you will need to host in your cloud
This short questionnaire can help you determine what type of environment is right for your business based on your plans for how to use the cloud.
Private cloud environments offer their users more security because data is stored on infrastructure that is dedicated to a specific business, rather than sharing it with others. The infrastructure is also stored in the location of your choice, assuring you complete control over the physical security of your servers and data.
A private cloud environment requires IT management and monitoring and is an ideal solution for a larger company or one that has specific security needs. Your IT personnel can pose any additional security requirements specified by your industry to ensure compliance with industry and company standards.
Private cloud environments are scalable, as all cloud environments are, but it is more difficult to do this because of owned infrastructure. Scaling a private cloud requires purchase of additional infrastructure, cooling, data center space and electricity.
Although the private cloud environment comes with additional costs and management needs, its added virtual and physical security options make it an ideal solution for larger businesses or those with specific security requirements.
A public cloud environment is one that is hosted on shared infrastructure from a cloud provider. In effect, your business is leasing space on a cloud provider's hardware to attain compute resources. Through this method, you are provided all of the benefits of cloud computing, including: scalability, performance and reliability.
While users do not have to maintain the infrastructure because they are "leasing" it from a provider, your data is also stored with other end users' data. This gives the cloud provider complete control over virtual and on-premise security and encryption, but allows you the resources you need when you need them.
This is an easy, cost-effective way to attain a cloud environment for your business needs. For smaller businesses or those that don't have specific security requirements, this is an easy way to attain all the benefits of cloud without the associated infrastructure price.
Hybrid cloud environments are a combination of public and private clouds. A portion of them are set aside for your internal use (the private cloud) to ensure security from other cloud environments. The other portion of your cloud environment (public cloud) allows you to cut the cost of your cloud environment by storing mission critical data in the private cloud and all other data in the public cloud. Hybrid cloud also lets you offer public cloud as a service to your customers, creating new revenue for your business.
A hybrid cloud environment is a more cost-effective method of obtaining cloud resources and can be configured to accommodate industry and corporate security policies as well as less critical data that arent subject to the same security standards. Additionally, a hybrid cloud environment can be an effective way to use internal cloud privately and sell the public cloud portion as a new form of revenue.
Your questionnaire outcome can help guide you to the cloud solution that is most appropriate for your needs. Knowing the differences between these environments and your individual results can provide you with a starting point of discussion for determining which cloud environment best suits your needs.