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Public vs Private Cloud Security: A Simple Explanation

(Guest Post)

There is no worse feeling than the heartache you get after recording your child’s milestones, only for the mobile phone to start warning that the internal storage is running low. Or maybe you cannot function without music, and you have been downloading so many songs that both your internal storage and memory card are full. Most people would rush to delete some of the songs, but you should not have to decide between two of your favourite artists because you are not one of them.

You are in a class of your own because you know that you can free up some space with cloud storage and have your device functioning at optimal capacity. However, before you show off how much of a genius you are, someone could ask if you store your files in the private or public cloud. Until now, you have never thought about how safe and secure your data is if you choose one over the other. Well, you are in luck because today, you will learn the basics of private and public cloud security.

Understanding Cloud Data Centers

Do not get confused between a data centre and a cloud data centre when deciding your business data storage option. A data centre is the server hardware that the IT department maintains on your premises. Users can store and access data through the local network. On the other hand, a cloud data centre neither has a physical location nor server hardware within your premises; instead, it has cloud servers, and users access and store data through the internet.

Cloud data centres have the advantage of eliminating the heavy infrastructure cost associated with the traditional data centre. Besides, it has unlimited capacity, unlike the data centre. Unfortunately, you can only use it if you have an internet connection. Remotely storing data will compromise its security unless you choose a private cloud instead of a public cloud. That being said, let’s move on to the private and public data and their security implication.

The Difference between Private and Public Clouds

The main difference between the two is in the ownership. A private cloud is dedicated for use by a single user and resides in your organisation’s intranet or data centre, where a firewall protects it. A third-party off-premise can alternatively provide it. A private cloud has the advantage of being customizable to meet your organisation’s specific needs because you are not sharing it with any other businesses. Since it is in your ownership, it is up to you to maintain the hardware and update the data centres; thus, it is an expensive option for a company with limited resources.

A public cloud is a shared platform that can be accessed by anyone who can afford the service since it runs on a pay-as-you-use model. It is operated by a third-party vendor who is also responsible for maintaining and managing the data centre. Although the primary storage is used by several organisations simultaneously, your data remains separate from other users. Some examples of public clouds include Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM’s Blue Cloud, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

Security Implications of Each

There are many risks that your business will face by storing data in the clouds; hence you must carry out regular monitoring and testing to ensure that cloud security is intact. From the explanations given above, it is clear that private clouds extend your organisation the luxury of being in control, increasing your security levels compared to using public clouds.

Choosing the right cloud service provider demands assessing the various risks you will expose your data to; some of them include:

  • Policy and legal risks like compliance failures, licensing and jurisdiction affairs
  • Technical risks such as data leakage, data interception, data remanence, malicious scans, control interface manipulation, and compromised accounts
  • Operational risks such as malicious employees, compromised physical security, encryption key loss, and natural disasters.

Advantages of Private Cloud 

  • Knowing the exact location of your data
  • Choosing where to lock up the data
  • Being customized to meet your needs
  • Granting physical access to specific people

Disadvantages of Private Cloud 

  • Malicious attacks by disgruntled employees
  • Can be affected by natural disasters and local power grid

Advantages of Public Cloud

  • Only the service provider knows the location
  • No disgruntled employees can steal data.
  • Stored in a secure facility with levels of physical security

Disadvantages of Public Cloud

  • The provider could allow others to access the location.
  • Jurisdiction issues if you operate internationally
  • Too much dependence on the vendor who can cut you off after minor disagreements


Unless you have deep pockets, a third-party vendor is the only solution to secure cloud storage. At Octiga, we offer secure Office 365 services, ensuring that you can identify suspicious activities and take immediate action. You will also never face the risk of data remanence. Take charge of your organisation’s data by contacting us today, and we shall set up a customised plan that suits your security needs.

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