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Introducing The Cloud: Public Cloud

on July 24, 2014

Cloud computing is becoming more and more a staple of modern business. But the term "the Cloud" is a bit misleading. There are all different types of clouds, each with different features and different practical applications. Before using a cloud, it's important to understand the differences among them and be aware of which type is best suited for your purposes. Let's begin with public clouds and their applications.

3 Part Series Introducing Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud

Cloud computing is becoming more and more a staple of modern business. Whereas previously, data and applications had to be stored on a physical hard drive, taking up storage space, now everything can be virtualized and accessed via a network, from anywhere on any device.

But the term "the Cloud" is a bit misleading. There are all different types of clouds, each with different features and different practical applications. Before using a cloud, it's important to understand the differences among them and be aware of which type is best suited for your purposes. Let's begin with public clouds and their applications.

What Is a Public Cloud?

A public cloud is owned and operated by a third party and open to public use. Anyone can store their data and applications there, for a set price. The price is usually "pay as you go," with no contracts or other obligations binding you to one public cloud or another. Many public cloud providers even rent cloud computing space by the hour, making it ideal for temporary storage situations.

A public cloud is cheaper than a private cloud and offers more flexibility in terms of usage. The tradeoff is that it offers less flexibility in terms of how the cloud is set up and run. Like any other site on the Internet, the way it's formatted and its tools and applications are determined by the owner, and subject to change without notice at their discretion. If you don't like the way the cloud is managed, your only options are to endure it or seek another cloud for your purposes. There's also a privacy issue. Public clouds are often more vulnerable to attacks or intrusions, and sensitive data shouldn't be stored there.

A public cloud is also generally entirely self-managed. You're essentially just renting storage space from the owner, and as long as you abide by the rules, you can do whatever you like with the data and applications stored there. For users who prefer independence in their computing, this is a good option, but those who need technical assistance or help with implementation would be better off with a different option.

Public Cloud Applications

The most common applications for public clouds are basic, everyday computer functions that are virtualized instead of on a single hard drive. Doing your work on the cloud means you can access it in a web browser, making it instantly available on any device that's connected to the Internet. Any changes you make to your data are then instantly available from any other device as well, making it a good option for real time collaboration, or situations where real time data is important. Some of the most popular public cloud platforms include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Windows Azure, IBM Blue Cloud, and Google App Engine, all of which provide basic computing functions, virtually.

If your organization is just getting started in cloud computing, a public cloud might be a good place to begin. It's cheap, it offers independence and self-sufficiency, and it provides for general computing on a virtual platform. Be careful of privacy though, and always research a cloud platform before you use it, to determine how safe your data is there. The right public cloud option can open up a whole new realm of possibilities for your business.

At HB Communication we work to integrate our solutions with the leaders in cloud collaboration such as Polycom, Cisco, Microsoft and many more. Connect with us to learn how we can help connect your business to the cloud for more collaborative and productive workplaces.