What is a Public Cloud and Why is it Better for Your Small Business?

Online data centers are revolutionizing how small companies do business, and public cloud services are becoming especially popular. In many cases, the advantages offered by public clouds make it the best option for small businesses, but private and hybrid cloud options also carry certain benefits. Here’s a look at why public cloud is often the most economical choice for smaller companies and when private and hybrid cloud options may be considered.

public cloud computing
Image by Ivan Walsh

Public Cloud Computing

With public cloud services, businesses can transfer data storage and processing requirements to an offsite data center. Prices for the required computing are far lower than with private data solutions because the space and power are shared by many different clients. While security was an early concern with public cloud usage, those worries have largely disappeared as the companies offering cloud services have demonstrated impeccable security for years now.

Hands-Off IT Services

With cloud services, companies enjoy a major reduction in time spent on information management. Since public cloud services take care of maintenance and security issues, many businesses are able to reduce or eliminate the need for permanent IT staff. Onsite managers are able to spend more time handling big-picture business issues, improving the transfer of company focus to employees.

Lower Energy Expenses

Maintaining an onsite data center can result in large monthly energy bills. Having computing needs outsourced and taken care of at an external data center means a company can devote more of its budget to innovation, salaries and bonuses. Space that might have been been used to store numerous computer servers can be used for additional offices or storage instead.

Greater Scalability

Public cloud space is all stored on the same huge set of servers, so adding more space to a company’s allotment is very simple. No additional equipment must be purchased, and no additional employees are needed for maintenance. As a company’s storage and computing needs increase, more space used can be added, or if greater requirements are projected for future projects, little risk is assumed by ordering extra cloud space. This eliminates a common barrier to company growth; with conventional onsite data storage, a sizable investment may be needed in preparation for growth, which may not happen at expected rates. By enabling constant, low-cost data storage additions, companies can continue to grow without worries of insufficient storage or computing power.

Private or Hybrid Cloud Solutions

As small businesses grow, they may want to explore other options, such as private or hybrid cloud services which provide higher levels of security than with a public cloud. Private services involve the use of either onsite or offsite data management of storage that belongs to the company. This offers greater customization and security, but it also costs quite a bit more. Hybrid cloud services, on the other hand, offer a middle ground for many companies. According to our Atlanta data center, with hybrid services, companies enjoy a reliable backup at a remote data center but they also have the use of onsite data storage equipment – which is often leased from the cloud service company. Hybrid cloud services let companies use local IT staff for supervision and maintenance of data or computing that the business is not comfortable storing on a public cloud.

Public cloud services are always the cheapest option for small businesses, but private or hybrid options offer their own advantages, especially for larger companies. Each company must analyze its individual requirements and decide which option is most appropriate. In today’s business environment, there is truly a cloud solution for every company.

About the Author: Ebele Okocha is a business consultant with an interest in startups and small business.